The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert on earth. It is as big as the entire United States, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. It covers many countries in Africa. The Sahara is one of the hottest and driest of the world’s deserts with temperatures up to 136° F. Less than one inch of rain falls each year. Some years, the rain never comes at all. Only creatures specially adapted for the severe conditions, like the camel, can survive here. There are many kinds of land in the Sahara. Great flat areas of gravel and stone, rocky plateaus, mountains, and vast seas of endless sand all make up this huge desert. The great sandy areas are called ergs. The Sahara’s ergs have huge wind-blown dunes, some up to 600 feet tall. The greatest erg is in Libya and is as large as the whole country of France. Small oases of water are found throughout the Sahara. In these places, a few people can live and even grow crops. Where water is near, herbs and small shrubs can grow. Deep-rooted trees survive in wetter areas. The Sahara desert despite its harsh climate has been inhabited by various groups of people, who pursue different activities. Among them are the Bedouins and Tuaregs. These groups are nomadic tribes rearing livestock such as goats, sheep, camels and horses. These animals provide them with milk, hides from which they make leather for belts, slippers, water bottles; hair is used for mats, carpets, clothes and blankets. They wear heavy robes as protection against dust storms and hot winds. The oasis in the Sahara and the Nile Valley in Egypt supports settled population. Since water is available, the people grow date palms. Crops such as rice, wheat, barley and beans are also grown. Egyptian cotton, famous worldwide is grown in Egypt. The discovery of oil – a product in great demand throughout the world, in Algeria, Libya and Egypt is constantly transforming the Sahara desert. Other minerals of importance that are found in the area include iron, phosphorus, manganese and uranium. The cultural landscape of the Sahara is undergoing change. Gleaming glass cased office buildings tower over mosques and superhighways crisscross the ancient camel paths. Trucks are replacing camels in the salt trade. Tuaregs are seen acting as guides to foreign tourists. More and more nomadic herdsmen are taking to city life finding jobs in oil and gas operations. The climate of the Sahara desert is scorching hot and parch dry. It has a short rainy season. The sky is cloudless and clear. Here, the moisture evaporates faster than it accumulates. Days are unbelievably hot. The temperatures during the day may soar as high as 50°C, heating up the sand and the bare rocks, which in turn radiates heat making everything around hot. The nights may be freezing cold with temperatures nearing zero degrees.