Discover the Highest Point in the Sahara Desert

Written by Alanna Davis
Published: February 21, 2024
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Although some people might imagine deserts as barren wasteland, the Sahara is anything but. Located in Africa, this region is home to a variety of terrain, both mountainous and flat. Whether you’re traveling to the area or just curious about the highest point in this region, we’ve got you covered. Let’s explore the highest point in the Sahara Desert and its surrounding area.

Where Is the Highest Point in the Sahara Desert?

The Tibesti Mountains harbor a sky island in the Sahara Desert.

The Tibesti Mountains have a volcanic landscape.

©Michael Kerling from Berlin via Wikimedia Commons – License

Although the Sahara Desert may be extremely dry, it is far from uninhabited. It comprises roughly 3.6 million square miles, and about 2.5 million people call this region their home. According to Internet Geography, “the Sahara is home to 500 species of plants, 70 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles and many species of spiders and scorpions.” However, “Deserts are very fragile ecosystems. A small change in biotic or abiotic conditions can significantly impact the ecosystem. Human activity is the greatest threat to biodiversity in hot deserts.”

Despite how most deserts look, the Sahara is actually home to an entire mountain range. The Tibesti Mountains are located right in the middle of the Sahara, and a number of people live there. Emi Koussi lies in the southeastern area of this mountain range and is undeniably the highest point in the entire Sahara Desert.

A Brief Overview of Emi Koussi

Top view of Emi Koussi Volcano, Chad, the highest of Africa’s Sahara region. Aerial view of a inactive volcanic peak. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. Selective focus.

The last time Emi Koussi erupted is estimated to be sometime between 1.3 and 2.5 million years ago.


Emi Koussi, also sometimes referred to as Mount Koussi, is an inactive volcano located in the country of Chad. The entire mountain range was formed by volcanic activity; however, the summit of Emi Koussi rises above the rest. It has a height of roughly 11,200 feet, making it the highest point in the Sahara Desert. Climbing up to the summit is possible for individuals who are up to the challenge. However, it seems to be a daunting task and even experienced climbers should prepare accordingly. The next highest mountain peak in this range is Toussidé, with a height of 10,700 feet. However, unlike Emi Koussi, Toussidé may still be active. Although these numbers might seem impressive, they are less than half as tall as the highest summit in the world, Mount Everest, which stands at roughly 29,000 feet tall.

Final Thoughts

Individuals who choose to climb Emi Koussi describe the experience as difficult but rewarding. In many cases, climbers feel overcome with great emotion when gazing over the profound beauty of the Sahara Desert from a bird’s eye view. While some people might overlook this breathtaking destination, others understand how overpowering it really is.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © GizemG/

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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