The Sahara Desert (Algeria)
Next, we are in the harsh Sahara Desert. The Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world and stretches for 3000 miles across North Africa. This is one of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth. However, it hasn’t always been this way. Approximately 14,000 years ago the Sahara’s climate changed and allowed for many plants and animals to spread across the desert that normally only inhabited places much further South. It’s a common misconception that the Sahara is the world’s largest desert. In actual fact, it’s the largest hot desert behind the Arctic and Antarctica, which are both cold deserts. During the summer months, temperatures in the Sahara average between a sizzling 38-46°C. The Sahara Desert spans some 8,600,000 square kilometres. However, this changes over time as the actual area of the desert expands and contracts with the seasons. Scientists estimate that the Sahara’s overall size has grown to be 10% larger than it was nearly a century ago. While this is partly due to natural climate cycles, human-driven climate change is also responsible. Around 2.5 million people also call the Sahara home, most of which have Berber or Arabic roots. They either live in permanent settlements near water sources or have a nomadic lifestyle, travelling from place to place with herds of sheep, goats or camels.
Our Ninth leg starts here and works its way South for 1,933km, into Timbuktu in Mali and the Sahel region. This is the longest leg of our journey and a hot one to.