Nubian Desert


Nubian Desert

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The Nubian Desert is an expanse of some 154,440 square miles of rocks strewn between the Red Sea and the River Nile in north-east Sudan. The desert has little rainfall nor any oasis and is inhabited to a limited extent by Nubian nomads. The Nubian Desert is unlike the stereotypical image of a desert in that it is mainly rocks on a sandstone plateau rather than sand itself, although it is interspersed with sand dunes. With less than five inches of rainfall a year, it is has numerous 'wadis' ~ seasonal rivers ~ that dry up long before reaching their goal of the River Nile. These wadis provide a home for the rare Nubian Desert Palm Medemia Argun which is drought tolerant and only found in the Nubian Desert having been, until recently, considered extinct. (In ancient Egypt the fruit of the palm was often placed in Egyptian tombs signifying the importance of its occupant.)

This almost total lack of water makes the Nubian desert practically uninhabitable, except for hyenas and the Nubian ibex (a type of goat) together with some other forms of wildlife including turtles that can be seen traversing it from time to time. However there are fossils indicating that the area was once home to forests before desertification swept the area, turning it into the barren, arid landscape seen today. On the outskirts of the Nubian desert can be found the Pyramids of Meroe near to the bank of the River Nile. There are around two hundred and fifty of these pyramids constructed from the desert sandstone. They are the ancient burial places of the Kingdom of Kush (1000 BCE to 350 CE), dating back to around 800 years after the construction of the last Egyptian pyramids which are much larger in size. These pyramids are featured in the short video about the Nubian Desert (below).

Nubian Desert: Sudan Country Profile

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Nubian Desert: Main Deserts

About Africa: Main Deserts

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