Camels in the Sahara Desert

This is a picture of camels in the Sahara Desert from an extraordinary book, 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See by National Geographic.  The Sahara, located in Northern Africa, is our world’s largest hot desert.  As a side note, did you know that there are cold deserts?  Yes there are!  Antarctica and the arctic are both cold deserts and are the world’s first and second largest deserts.  The Sahara is the third largest desert but is the first largest hot desert at over 3,600,000 square miles (9,400,000 square kilometers).

This is a view of the mythical Sahara, the desert of the Azalai trail and the Ténéré Tree.

(Photo credit: Frans Lemmens/Getty Images, p. 246-247 from 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See by National Geographic.)

The name Sahara stems from the Arabic world meaning “desert.” Camels were brought to the Sahara to replace horses around 200 AD through trade caravans.  This is because camels are well suited to live in the Sahara’s harsh environment.  It can move with ease in the sand, it can go for days without water or eating food.  Additionally when a camel does eat its diet is limited to dry grass that is easily found on the Sahara.

Sahara camels move at about 8 to 10 miles per hour and they can walk for roughly 18 hours at a time.  The camels play a vital role to the inhabitants in surrounding areas for transporting food and salt and there are established trade routes for camels.  These animals are held in high esteem by their owners and the people of this region.