How much of the African Continent is Covered with Desert?

What are the Three Deserts in Africa? Are Sahara and Antarctica both Deserts? How did Sahara become a Desert? Does Africa has Jungles?
how much of the African continent is covered with desert
Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash

The Green Sahara is also known as the African Humid Period. Rainfall amplified dry lands into lakes and sandy dunes into lush flora. About 3.5 million square kilometres of Northern Africa were turned green, attracting aurochs, hippos, and elephants. These creatures dined on grass and bushes. This has somehow passed and so, what do you think, will the greenery now reappear? In this article, we will discuss why is Africa covered in desert. Moreover, you will learn further how much of the African continent is covered with desert and why does Africa have so much desert.

1. How Much of the African Continent is Covered with Desert?

It covers 8.5 million square kilometres, which is enough to cover Brazil. Do you have any idea how much of the African continent is covered with desert? Well, it has the Sahara, which is the world’s hottest and largest desert. 

  • The Sahara makes up 25 per cent of the continent.
  • If you blend deserts, a total of 31% of Africa is covered with deserts. The smaller parts are covered in South Africa.
  • One-third of the African continent is covered by desert, from the Mediterranean to South Africa and the Indian Atlantic ocean. The deserts of Africa are the most beautiful places on Earth and have the most beautiful landscapes. You must read what is the difference between tropical and polar regions?

2. Is Africa Covered in Desert?

Africa consists of two different zones; the Sahara in the north, and the Kalahari and Namib desert in the south and west of the continent. It is the only continent that has two hot deserts. (See Why Africa is underdeveloped?)

3. Why does Africa have so much Desert?

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Photo by Parsing Eye on Unsplash

You already know how much of the African continent is covered with desert, let’s read why is Africa covered in desert. The air in Africa loses moisture when it rises high enough to cool down. The air warms up as it descends, which increases its capacity to contain moisture, but there isn’t much of it to hold. As a result, Africa has hot, dry deserts with infrequent precipitation. Some regions of desert in North America are also at least partially the result of this. (See What Time is it in Africa Nigeria Right Now?)

4. What are the Three Deserts in Africa?

  • The Sahara Desert,
  • The Namib Desert, and
  • The Kalahari Desert.

Together, these three are incredibly vast and varied landmasses that cover much of Africa. (See 30 Largest Coastal Cities in the World)

5. How can Humans Survive in the Sahara Desert?

It is no wonder that more than two million people call Africa their home. Humans can survive only a few days without water in the Sahara desert. It’s not easy but with time, humans adapt to the conditions and make the necessary resources available to them. Nomads who keep moving from one place to another use alternate methods for surviving. If you are lost in the Sahara desert, it would be fatal if you have no idea about that place. (See 10 Places with Best Weather in the World)

6. Which is the Hottest Desert?

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Photo by Carlos Leret on Unsplash

The Sahara is the world’s biggest and hottest desert. It is getting hotter day by day. The climate always changes there. Many researchers believe that it is scarier during the summer because it is so hot. If it dries, the precipitation can make a way for the desert to expand into the tropical terrain of Sudan and Chad. To know more, must check out the article on the Hottest Desert in the World.

7. Which is the Coldest Desert?

The largest desert on Earth is Antarctica, (definitely not the largest-hot desert) covering 14.20 million square kilometres. It is the coldest desert on Earth. It can become colder than the planet’s other polar desert, the Arctic. There is no vegetation in Antarctica. The carnivore animals that live there are penguins, albatrosses, whales, and seals. Antarctica’s water is full of sea life like fish and sea sponges. (See Why can’t We go to Antarctica?)

8. Are Sahara and Antarctica both Deserts?

Yes, they both get little precipitation during the year. It is around 25 centimetres or could be less. This makes both places difficult for plants and animals to live in. These deserts have fossils. Based on this evidence, the Sahara and Antarctica were the homes of many plants and animals in the past. 

9. How are African Deserts big?

Northern Africa covers almost 3000 miles from east to west and stretches between 800 and 1200 miles from north to south and the Sahara has a total area of 3,320,000 square miles. The actual area may vary over time. (See What is a Relic Boundary?)

10. Why are Deserts found in Africa?

On the western edges of continents, the air over the coast tends to stabilise when cold ocean currents are present. It chills the air and makes it harder for the air to withhold moisture. A lot of moisture falls as rain before it reaches the land in Africa. (See How Many Biomes are there in Africa)

11. Which is the Country that covers Sahara Desert?

The Sahara Desert covers large parts of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Morocco. Western Sahara covers 9 million square kilometres or 31% of Africa. (See How Many Countries Share a Border with Germany?)

12. How did Sahara become a Desert?

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

As you are aware of how much of the African continent is covered with desert, let me tell you how Sahara becomes a desert. The solar radiation in the African monsoon causes a wind shift in the region caused by temperature differences between land and ocean. The elevated heat in the Sahara Desert creates low pressure that causes moisture from the Atlantic Ocean to turn into an empty desert. 

13. Does Africa has Jungles?

Africa has 22% of forest and woodland and a very small percentage is protected. Around 18% of the tropical forests on the planet are found in Africa. The Congo Basin in central Africa is home to the second-largest tropical forest on earth, which covers an area of around 3 million square kilometres. (See What are the Desert Cactus Types?)

A desert region receives relatively little rain, making it dry. There are many deserts in Africa, some of which are quite hot. They have scant or no vegetation that supports a diverse range of animals and plants. Most people think that deserts are dry places. Deserts’ aridity represents regions with little or no rainfall. Every year, it receives 25 centimetres of precipitation. Africa has a lot of deserts, and this is the reason why the climate in Africa is not humid. Now you know how much of the African continent is covered with desert and why does Africa have so much desert. (Also read How Snakes survive in Hot Desert Conditions?)

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