Geography of Western Sahara


Terrain shapes and bedrock

Western Sahara has all the types of desert, rock, rock and sand desert, and all the different dune forms that occur in other parts of the Sahara. A low coastal region of varying width is infertile coastal desert. The coastline is heavily leveled, equipped with beach spurs and longer inland beach lakes. Inner part of Western Sahara is a high plateau of 500–800 m altitude. The land surface is torn apart by a network of former river valleys, wadier.

The bedrock in the inner parts consists in the south of granites formed during the Precambrian (older than 570 million years) and in the coastal area of ​​young sedimentary rocks. In the north there is a narrow zone of rocks, mainly sandstones, formed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods about 570-65 million years ago. See for Western Sahara geography, politics and economy.


Western Sahara is completely in the tropical, arid climate zone with no or very little rainfall, except for occasional rain showers some years. The average value is lower than 500 mm of precipitation per year. The average temperature in July is 30 °C in the eastern parts and 25 °C on the coast, where the air is cooled by the Canary stream. The average temperature for January is 20 °C in the south and 15 °C in the north. The cold Canary stream also causes almost all moisture to precipitate as rain over the sea.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Offer a full list of commonly used abbreviations, acronyms, and initialisms related to the state of Western Sahara.

Plant Life

Western Sahara has desert vegetation, which is characterized by succulent bushes along the Atlantic coast, including several species of euphorbia. Species such as Acaʹcia toʹrtilis, Lyʹcium intricaʹtum and toothbrush trees (Salvadoʹra peʹrsica) are also scattered in the area. Strikingly, the bushes have a rich growth of lichens. There are also various genus amaranth plants, such as Anaʹbasis, Saʹlsola and Aʹtriplex.

The hinterland is dominated by dry riverbeds and rocky and rocky desert plains, where amaranth plants such as the Haloʹxylon and Cornuʹlaca genera and the Ariʹstida and Stipagroʹstis grasses are common features. Along the riverbeds, tamarisk and oleander can be numerous.


Western Sahara Wildlife

The fauna is poor with only 32 species of mammals, 60 species of nesting birds and 26 species of reptiles. Mammals include male sheep, dorkas gazelle, pigeon deer gazelle, common hedgehog, caphare, golden shawl, honey badger, genet and desert hedgehog (Hemiechiʹnus aethioʹpicus).

The bird fauna is dominated by semi-desert and desert species, including flying chickens, larch and stone washes. Some other typical species are rock chickens, desert runners, desert corpses and Saharan squirrels (Turdoiʹdes fuʹlvus). In the cultivation areas and gardens there is a garden bulb. royal tern. Many European migratory birds pass Western Sahara while moving to and from the winter quarters, and some waders spend the winter here.

Among crustaceans are found in arid areas including. puff adder, hornworm and fringe fingers.

Nature conservation

In 1996, Western Sahara had no major nature protected areas.