What is the Largest Desert in the World

When you hear the word “Desert” sand dunes, Camels, scorching heat and endless sand comes to mind. So what is the largest desert in the worldWell, you are in for a surprise because the biggest desert in the world is not filled with sand but covered in ice! Any area that receives less than 250 mm of annual precipitation is classified as a desert region.  

Here are the 8 Biggest Deserts in the World

1. Antarctic Desert (13,829,430 sq. Km)

As the name suggests, the biggest desert in the world is in the continent of Antarctica in the South Pole and surrounded by the Southern Ocean. There is a growing tourism trend  in the region. In just the 2009 to 2010 tourist season, over 37,000 people visited Antarctica.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Antarctic Desert: Sea cruise expeditions, Trekking,  Yatching, Dog sledding on Huskies, Scenic flights, Wildlife and Marinelife

2. Arctic Desert (13,726,937 sq. Km)

Located across regions of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden the Arctic Dessert is the 2nd largest desert in the world closely following the Antarctic Desert. The Arctic is also experiencing an upswing in tourists who are looking for an experience different from the usual vacation.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Arctic Desert: watch Polar Bears and other polar animals, Arrive through cruise or flight, Fishing expeditions, Whale watching and many more outdoor activities.

3. Sahara (9,100,000 sq. Km)

Sahara is world’s most famous desert. Nile River, which is the longest river in the world passes through Sahara Desert. Many movies and the charm of Africa has made it an attractive tourist destination.  Geographically located across Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara the sub-Saharan desert borders more countries than any other.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Sahara Desert: Camel trekking, watch Wildlife in a Desert Safari (you will find horned viper, flying scorpions, baboon, hyrax, jackal, fox, and mongoose), visit the Oasis points in Taoudenni and Araouane and many more.

4. Gobi Desert(2,330,000 sq. Km)

Located in Mongolia and China, Gobi is a cold desert, with occasional snowfall in the winter months. Most common point of entry for tourists is Ulaanbaatar. Visitors come to see the deep canyons, mountains and to see a phenomenon called Desertification (where the desert is rapidly growing into neighboring grass lands) that is quite unique to Gobi Desert.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Gobi Desert: Gobi Gurvan National Park, Red Cliffs of Bayanzag, hot springs and beautiful valleys.

5.  Kalahari Desert (900,000 sq. Km)

The 5th largest desert in the world is the most beautiful desert of all. Located along Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa Kalahari dessert is semi-arid and know for pockets of robust vegetation and grass lands alongside the desert. The Kalahari has season wetlands where wildlife flourishes and is home to over 400 different species.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Kalahari Desert: African Safari, Wildlife reserves – Tswalu Kalahari reserve, Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and many others.

6. Patagonian Desert (670,000 sq. Km)

The largest desert in Argentina borders with Chile and offers scenic beauty and vast lands to explore. It is cold desert where the temperature almost never goes above 12°C and averages around 3°C.  Most of the desert is surrounded by mountains and forest regions.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Patagonian Desert: Cave paintings, Cerro Paranal.

7. Great Victoria Desert (647,000 sq. Km)

The largest desert in Australia consists of many small sandy hills, grassland plains and lakes. Summers are hot with temperature in the  30 to 40°C range while winter temperatures range from a comfortable 20 to 25°C. Unlike most other this Australian desert has good vegetation that has adapted to growing with little water.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Great Victoria Desert: Gibber plains (an area with a closely packed surface of pebbles), salt lakes and an array of wildlife.

8. Syrian Desert (520,000 sq. Km)

The 8th largest desert in the world borders Syria, Jordan and Iraq was formed by lava flows from the volcanic region of the Jebel Druze. Like the Kalahari desert there are pockets of fertile grasslands. Capital city of Damascus with over 3 million residents is located in one of the oasis.

  • Tourism – Things to do in Syrian Desert: Lava fields, Monasteries in the desert,  Palmyra(City in the Sand), local events, Camel Safari, Desert Castles are all options for travelers.

Now when someone asks you “what the largest desert in the world” is, you can tell them the names and the many exciting things to do in these places.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back to Top ↑