The Great Deserts of the Middle East

By Halal Trip | 14, Sep, 2015
The Great Deserts of the Middle East

When people think of tourist locations, deserts are not what come to mind immediately. Green landscapes or blue seas are attractions that are more popular, and considered must-visits. But these stunning beauties are worth the visit too. It is a landscape of merit in its own right. With the wind blowing patterns into the dunes, that can be found nowhere else, the creatures that manage to survive there, and the plants that thrive under the scorching heat and lack of water, the desert is a place to marvel at. The fact that it is rarely visited means that there is so much more mystery around the rich natural resources that exist in it. Mostly used for dune bashing or occasional camping, the heat of the sun in the day and the chills of the night - plus the thought of snakes and scorpions - mean that most people tend to stay away. Oases provide coolness for the eyes, while the Bedouins who live there generations down manage either with irrigation or natural water sources. Some of the deserts in the Middle East are rich in history, while others are a wonder simply because they are a part of nature. We think of all deserts as the same, but different areas mean different colours of sand, with different compositions, and therefore different life forms too.

The Sahara Desert is the most well-known, being the largest one in Africa, covering a huge portion of North Africa. It is the largest desert in the world after the cold Arctic and Antarctic Deserts. The winds that blow through it can reach hurricane level, and often give rise to sand storms. Its highest peak is the volcano Emi Koussi (11,204 feet), amongst other mountain ranges. The Sinai Desert is famous as the desert that hosted Moses and his people, after they crossed the Red Sea. Situated in Egypt, it is the only part of the country that is located in Asia as opposed to Africa, serving as a land bridge between the two continents. The Libyan Desert (also called the Western Desert) covers eastern Libya, western Egypt and northwestern Sudan near the Nile River. It forms part of the Sahara Desert, and like it, is primarily sand or stony plain. It is one of the hottest places on the planet, experiencing no rainfall for decades. The Arabian Desert covers a large part of the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. It comprises of Rub al Khali which is one of the world's largest continuous sand bodies.

The desert hosts a range of features from red dunes to quicksand, as well as creatures like gazelles, oryx, sand cats, and spiny tailed lizards. When people think of Middle East deserts, vast brown landscapes come to mind. Even with that vision, the desert is a breathtaking sight. The colossal size of it, the dunes as far as the eye can see, leaves one feeling overwhelmed, but there is a great sense of adventure in exploring the desert. Visiting a desert in the Middle East may not be high on your list of priorities, but for the sake of education and exploring this planet and all that it has to offer, the miracles and beauties of this ecosystem should be explored, and its mysteries uncovered.    

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