Facts on African Deserts

Facts on African Deserts
Africa, the second-largest continent in the world, has a wide range of climates, from tropical jungle to savanna to arid desert. Although inhospitable in many ways, Africa's deserts are home to a wide array of plants, animals and people.

African Geography

Together, the African deserts cover more than a third of the continent. In between lie savanna plains, jungles, steppes and transition land called sahel.



The largest desert in the world, the 3,500,000-square-mile Sahara covers most of the northern part of the continent, and is almost completely lacking in rainfall.


One of the oldest deserts in the world, the Namib stretches 311,000 square miles from a high inland plateau to the Atlantic coast in southwestern Africa. The wind forms some of the highest sand dunes on earth.


The Kalahari is a 362,500-square-mile sand basin in southern Africa. Although it is labeled a desert, the Kalahari is only semi-arid, and some parts of it receive as much as 10 inches of rain a year, according to the EyesOnAfrica website.

Desert Life

Some 4 million people make their home in the Sahara. The Namib is home to African elephants specially adapted to desert living. The Kalahari supports many animals such as lions, meerkats and brown hyenas, according to the World Wildlife Fund.


Article Written By Gwen Bruno

Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.

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