Discover the Beauty of the Arabian Deserts: Their Inhabitants and their Tourism
By: Yaseen Rashed/ Arab America writer
Arabian deserts are notoriously known around the world for yielding some of the harshest yet most beautiful terrains. The deserts are home to countless animals and plants that thrive off its unique climate. Many people in the region rely on these plants and animals for their daily life activities like cooking, cleaning, and sometimes even using the plants as medicine for the ill. This sphere has greatly influenced the culture surrounding it and has become a staple of the region. The Deserts have also become a tourist hub as people descend from all over the world to witness the beauty of these deserts as well as explore them and the culture surrounding it.
The most notable is the Sahara Desert, which is the world’s largest desert. This desert is situated in North Africa stretching from the Red Sea to the Atlantic coast, excluding the fertile Mediterranian region. With an area of 9,200,000 km2, this vast desert has greatly shaped the periphery surrounding it influencing aspects from culture, to food, to travel. This desert is known in Arab countries to hold various superstitions and mysteries because of its vastness and the unfamiliarity of the desert. There are countless stories and fables concerning the desert from scary stories to tell in the dark to love stories that surround the Sahara.
Besides its cultural influence, the Shara holds a lot of wildlife in it. Although a desert, the Sahara is filled with climate acclimated animals and plants that have been able to sustain the harshness of their environments for centuries. Perhaps the most notable being the camel because of its ability to carry along without water and its practicality for locals to use to cross the Sahara. Aside from camels, you could find foxes, gerbils, mice, snakes, and addaxes all roaming around the desert. These animals thrive off of remaining dormant for the majority of the day to escape the ridged head and going out to hunt at night because the climate is more tolerable. Many of these creatures are also cold-blooded which means their body temperature depends greatly on the temperature outside. So in order to survive, these animals must find an in-between balance between remaining cool and warm throughout the day. The Sahara also holds a diverse array of plant life including olives, date palm trees, thyme, and many others that could survive the climate. This has been cultivated by locals to use and influence their food, culture, and overall diet.
The Sahara was once seen as useless and a curse to have because of the dryness and lack of water, however in recent years its become almost like a treasure. Millions of people from around the world have come to the Middle East and North Africa to come see the Sahara desert and all the beauty it offers. Its also become a tourist attraction for star gazing and eclipse-watching as its one of the only place in the world that remains saliently untouched by industrialization. This makes way for no light pollution, thus being able to see the sky a lot more clearly. Countries like Egypt and Morocco have relied heavily on tourism to generate income for their national economies. Egypt has been at the forefront of tourism for the Shara mainly because of the large amounts of historical artifacts that are connected to the desert. Some of the most known are the pyramids of Giza however, Egypt has a lot more to offer with tombs and other lesser-known pyramids scattered around its desert. People also come to participate in desert sports ranging from sandboarding to off-roading with 4×4 vehicles. The desert offers a unique experience to take in all of its beauty and the world just can’t get enough of Arabian deserts.
Lastly, It’s important to remember that this desert leaves behind a deeply rooted heritage to its people and indigenous groups like the Tuareg and the Amazigh of North Africa. These people have inhabited and ruled over the Sahara because they knew the land best, and even during colonization, many of the European powers couldn’t conquer the region because of its ambiguity, thus leaving the locals with great autonomy over the land. These deserts are some of the most beautiful regions of the world and even though it was once seen as a curse, it’s been reversed and been a blessing for the Arabs.
Check Out Arab America’s Blog Here!