Study Material and Notes of Ch 10 Life in the Deserts Class 7th Geography

Topics in the Chapter

• Deserts
• The Hot Desert - Sahara
→ Climate
→ Flora and Fauna
→ People
• The Cold Desert - Ladakh
→ Climate
→ Flora and Fauna
→ People


• Desert is an arid land with little or no vegetation.

• Depending on the temperatures, deserts are of two types:
→ Hot deserts
→ Cold deserts

The Hot Desert - Sahara

• Sahara is the world’s largest desert.

• It has an area of around 8.54 million sq. k m.

• The Sahara desert touches eleven countries. 
→ These are Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan , Tunisia and Western Sahara.

• Sahara desert is covered with, there are also gravel plains and elevated plateaus with bare rocky surface which may be more than 2500m high at some places.


• The climate of the Sahara desert is extremely hot and dry.

• It has a short rainy season.

• Days are unbelievably hot.

• The temperatures during the day may rise as high as 50°C, heating u p 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.

Flora and Fauna

• The vegetation includes cactus, date palms and acacia. 

• In some places, there are oasis – green islands with date palms surrounding them. 

• Camels, hyenas, jackals, foxes, scorpions, many varieties of snakes and lizards are the prominent animal species here.


• Various groups of people inhabit the Sahara desert.

• The Bedouins and Tuaregs are nomadic tribes are among them.
→ They rear livestock such as goats, sheep, camels and horses for milk, hair and leather.

• 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 is also grown in Egypt which is famous worldwide.

• Oil is also discovered in Algeria, Libya and Egypt which constantly transforming the Sahara desert.

• Nowadays, the Sahara Desert is developing.
→ Gleaming glass cased office buildings tower over mosques
→ Superhighways replacing 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 finding jobs in oil and gas operations.

The Cold Desert - Ladakh

• Ladakh is a cold desert lying in the Great Himalayas, on the eastern side of Jammu and Kashmir.

• The Karakoram Range in the north and the Zanskar mountains in the south enclose it.

• Indus is the most important river of Ladakh.

• Several glaciers are found in Ladakh, for example the Gangri glacier.


• The altitude in Ladakh varies from about 3000m in Kargil to more than 8,000m in the Karakoram.
→ High altitude makes the climate extremely cold and dry.

• The day temperatures in summer are just above zero degree and the night temperatures well below –30°C.

• There is little rainfall, as low as 10 cm every year as the area lies in the rain shadow of the Himalayas.

•The area experiences freezing winds and burning hot sunlight.

Flora and Fauna

• Due to high aridity, the vegetation is sparse.
→ There are thin patches of grasses and shrubs for animals to graze.

• During the summers, fruit trees such as apples, apricots and walnuts grow.

• Robins, redstarts, Tibetan snowcock, raven and hoopoe are common species of birds seen in Ladakh.

• The animals of Ladakh are wild goats, wild sheep, yak and special kinds of dogs.
→ The animals are reared to provide for the milk, meat and hides.


• In the summer season, the people cultivate barley, potatoes, peas, beans and turnip. 

• The winter months are very harsh, people keep themselves engaged in festivities and ceremonies.

• The women are very hard working. 
→ They work not only in the house and fields, but also manages mall business and shops.

• Leh, the capital of Ladakh is well connected both by road and air. 
→ The National Highway 1A connects Leh to Kashmir Valley through the Zoji la Pass.

• Tourism is a major activity with several tourists streaming in from within India and abroad.

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