It Snowed In The Sahara For First Time In 37 Years And The Pics Are Magical

by John Haltiwanger
Facebook/Karim Bouchetata

When most people think about the Sahara, the desert that covers nearly all of northern Africa, they likely envision endless sand dunes being baked under an unforgiving sun.

The last thing most people would associate with the world's largest desert, which has a total area of around 3,320,000 square miles, is snow.

Believe it or not, however, it just snowed in the Sahara. How festive!

Fortunately, a photographer named Karim Bouchetata was there to capture this incredibly rare, but visually stunning occasion.

Bouchetata told Gizmodo he was absolutely "stunned" to see snow in the desert, describing it as "an incredibly rare occurrence."

To give you an idea of how rare this is: The last time it snowed in the Sahara was February 18, 1979, 37 years ago, and the snowfall apparently lasted for about 30 minutes.

Actually, including this recent occurrence, the Sahara has only experienced two major snowfalls (by desert standards) in recorded history.

The desert did experience dustings in 2005 and 2012, but nothing like what it experienced in 1979 and this week.

The photos of the desert caked in snow are absolutely magical. It's enchanting to see white on top of the bright orange sand dunes.

It almost looks like another world (it's also somewhat reminiscent of a creamsicle).

The snow, which reportedly melted after about a day, fell near the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, also known as "The Gateway to the Sahara."

It's located in northwest Algeria, roughly 220 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.

The town, which is surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, sits roughly 1,000 feet above sea level.

It's probably safe to say it will be a long time before it snows in the Sahara again, but it's definitely incredibly beautiful when it does, as you can see from these epic pictures.

The most beautiful instances in nature are often those that are the most unexpected.

Citations: Encyclopedia Britannica, Facebook, Gizmodo