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Following are 10 unique deserts, each with its particular and individual specialities.
Sahara (North Africa)
Speciality: World’s Largest Desert
The Sahara, with a size of 8.6 million km², is the world’s largest desert, covering large parts of North Africa. Sahara covers most of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger and Mali, and touches Morocco and Tunisia. Approximately 4.0 million people live here.
SPECIALITY: World’s Driest and Wettest desert
Antarctica is uninhabited by humans because of its freezing cold temperatures as low as -129 Fahrenheit. It is the wettest place on Earth and simultaneously the driest. The reason it is the “wettest” is not because of rainfall; since Antarctica is covered by 98% ice, it is technically very wet. However since Antarctica is also the coldest place in the world, it gets very little rain – less than 2 inches a year a fact which makes Antarctica a desert. A brutally cold ice desert!
The Black Desert (Egypt)
SPECIALITY: The Desert With Black Stones
The Black Desert is a region of volcano-shaped mountains with large quantities of small black stones. These black stones are scattered across the typical desert sand. The Black Desert is uninhabited.
The Simpson Desert (Australia)
SPECIALITY: The red sand desert
The Simpson Desert is also known as ‘The Big Red’ courtesy the presence of many dunes of red sand. The Simpson Desert has the world’s longest parallel sand dunes. They vary in height from 3 metres in the west to around 30 metres on the eastern side. The most famous dune, Nappanerica, more popularly known as Big Red is 40 metres in height.
SPECIALITY: the only desert with elephants
The Namib Desert forms part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park with neighbouring Angola. The Sossusvlei sand dunes are the highest in the world, some towering at 300m high. The Namib is the only desert in the world to have elephants. Considered as the oldest desert in the world, a varied variety of species of plants and animals can only be found here.
Atacama Desert (Chile)
SPECIALITY: the Flourished Desert
Diverse, surprising, majestic and untouched… this is the place for those in search of adventure with its breathtaking salt flats, geysers and Andean volcanos, vast expanses of land and here and there, occasional signs of life… llamas, vicunas, flamingos and alpacas, all unperturbed by the presence of man. The area located on the coast between Arica and Antofagasta appears in the Guinness Book of World Records as the driest place in the world. Many plants survive mainly because of the “camanchaca”, and the harsh savings of water, in normal dry years, that causes them to delay important functions such as growth, to favor survival and reproduction.
SPECIALITY: THE WHITE DESERT
The Farafra Oasis is located in the Western Desert of Egypt. Farafra has an estimated 5,500 inhabitants living within its single village. Also located near Farafra are the hot springs at Bir Setta and the El-Mufid lake. A main geographic attraction of Farafra is its White Desert. The White Desert of Egypt is located 45 km (30 miles) north of Farafra. The desert has a white, cream color and has massive chalk rock formations that have been created as a result of occasional sandstorms in the area.
Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia)
SPECIALITY: THE WORLD’S LARGEST SALT DESERT
Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 km² (4,085 square miles). It is located in southwest Bolivia. The major minerals in the salar are halite and gypsum. Some 40,000 years ago, the area was part of Lake Minchin, a giant prehistoric lake. When the lake dried, it left behind two modern lakes, PoopóLake and Uru Uru Lake, and two major salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the larger Uyuni. Uyuni is roughly 25 times the size of the Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States.
Lencois Maranhenses (Brazil)
SPECIALITY: A DESERT WITH LAGOONS
Composed of large, white, sweeping dunes, at first glance Lençóis Maranhenses looks like an archetypal desert. In fact it isn’t actually a desert. Lying just outside the amazon basin, the region is subject to a regular rain season during the beginning of the year. The rains cause a peculiar phenomenon: freshwater collects in the valleys between sand dunes, spotting the desert with blue and green lagoons that reach their fullest between July and September. The area is also surprisingly home to a variety of fish which, despite the almost complete disappearance of the lagoons during the dry season, have their eggs brought from the sea by birds.
Taklamakan (Central Asia)
SPECIALITY: A DESERT COVERED WITH SNOWFALL
Taklamakan is one of the largest sandy deserts in the world, ranking 15th in size in a ranking of the world’s largest non-polar deserts.It covers an area of 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi). In recent years, the People’s Republic of China has constructed a cross-desert highway that links the cities of Hotan (on the southern edge) and Luntai (on the northern edge).