Travelling in the desert
There are some parts of the world that get no rain, or so little that hardly any plants will grow there. Such places are great wastes of dry sand and barren rock, stretching sometimes for hundreds of miles. They are called deserts. Two of the largest of the world are the Arabian Desert and the Sahara Desert in North Africa. They are very hot, for the sun beats down on them all day from a cloudless sky, and there is no water or trees or grass to cool the air. People think the Sahara Desert was once the bottom of a shallow sea, and that is why it is covered with sand.
Travelling across these deserts is very hard and it is dangerous. Of course, carriages and carts cannot go because there are no roads and they would sink in the sand. And there is no animal that can make a long journey across a desert except the camel. That is why it is called “the ship of the desert”. Camels can do it because they can go a long time without food or drink, for they carry water in their stomachs and food in their humps.
When people want to cross a desert, they form a caravan, for it is dangerous for anyone to go alone. They all ride on camels and have to carry plenty of food and drink. Even then they could not do it if there were not what are called “oases” in the deserts; that is, places where there are springs of water, and where palm trees and grass grow. If they can travel from one oasis to another, it makes the journey easier.
A great danger in desert travelling is a sandstorm. Sometimes a great wind blows and lifts the sand in huge dark clouds. The air becomes so thick that one cannot breathe, and sometimes whole caravans are buried in the sand, men and camels are smothered to death.