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The Largest Desert in the World

When people think of a desert they think of a place covered in sand and sand dunes. Morocco is home to the Sahara Desert, which spans over 3.5 million square miles, roughly the size of the United States. It stretches from the Red Sea in the east, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. That’s a lot of sand!

The Sahara is a place with camels, Bedouins, and lots of sand. Crossing the desert is a major task and historically can’t be done without the help of camels.

Camels have thick hair to prevent sunburn, soft feet to help them balance in the sand, and very long eyelashes to protect them during sandstorms. Camel humps store fat (their source of water) and they can survive 6-7 months without drinking. Wow!

And while many deserts are covered in sand and are home to camels, the largest desert in the world is not. Believe it or not, the largest desert instead is filled with ice and penguins.

Antarctica is covered in 5.5 million square miles of ice! It’s the coldest, driest, and most isolated continent in the world, but why is it considered a desert? A desert is defined as a place that receives very little rainfall (under 10 inches per year) and by that definition, over one third of the Earth’s land is considered to be a desert. And most of that desert is actually located in the polar regions like the arctic and Antarctic.


Just because the Sahara Desert isn’t the “largest desert” in the world, doesn’t take away from how magnificent and beautiful it is.

Whether you are in Antarctica or Morocco, the landscapes of these deserts are extremely diverse and interesting. And the people who live there are even more so.

Living, surviving, and even just crossing a desert is an incredible feat and the people are some of the strongest and kindest I know.