Middle East Deserts: A List Of The Most Popular Deserts

Asma Wahba

Author

Asma Wahba

For most people, the first thought the Middle East conjures up is the desert.

And it’s true - most Middle Eastern and North African countries are arid and contain or are surrounded by, large desert regions. Arab culture, cuisine and even the Arabic language have evolved around the desert lifestyle.

If you’re planning on visiting the Middle East, then you will undoubtedly include desert trips in your itinerary.

In this post, I’ve listed the most famous deserts in the Middle East (and North Africa).

Make sure to learn some Arabic before visiting too!

The Sahara Desert

Location: Most of North Africa

The Sahara desert is the most famous desert in the world and is also the largest hot desert, spreading all the way from Morocco to Egypt.

It covers an area of 9,200,000 square kilometres.

It’s constantly expanding through desertification, and leads to enormous sandstorms in many regions.

The Arabian Desert

Location: Saudi Arabia

The Arabian desert covers 2,330,000 square kilometres across the Persian Gulf, Yemen, Iraq and the Levant.

This desert is primarily in Saudi Arabia, and is home to unique wildlife, such as gazelles, spiny-tailed lizards and oryx.

The Sinai Desert

Location: Egypt

The Sinai desert is significantly smaller at around 60,000 square kilometres, and is located between the Red and Mediterranean seas.

Sinai is a very rugged and mountainous desert region, and known most famously for its biblical history.

The Libyan Desert

Location: Libya and Egypt

The Libyan or Western Desert is located primarily in Eastern Libya, Western Egypt and even parts of Chad and Sudan.

It covers 1,300,000 square kilometres.

This desert features many oases, mountains and even quicksand. It’s well-known as one of the least hospitable places in the world, and very few people live here.

The Nubian Desert

Location: Sudan and Egypt

Approximately 400,000 square kilometres and located in Sudan and Eritrea, the Nubian desert is rocky, home to many wadis and several cities.

Historically, the Nubian Desert was a merchant route for Ancient Egypt and the Nubian people.

There are many more deserts in the Middle East and North Africa

Obviously there are many more, less-known deserts in the Middle East.

But the ones I’ve listed here are the most famous (and full of historical significance).

To visit these places, it’s a good idea to learn Arabic so you can communicate with the locals. Each region has its own dialect.

We teach 8 of those dialects here. You can create a free account below to get started.

Join now and start speaking Arabic today!

Create your account now and join thousands of other Arabic learners from around the world.