The Sahara Desert doesn’t take prisoners. It’s a place where temperatures can soar to over 130°F during the day and drop to below freezing at night, where scorpions, snakes and other creatures roam freely across the dunes, where dehydration and heatstroke are a constant threat to those who are unprepared. Not only that, but the region spans over 3.6 million square miles across North Africa – almost as big as the whole United States – easily making it one of the harshest environments on Earth.
Walking across the Sahara Desert is an incredible feat that only an elite few can claim to have achieved, but it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. If you're considering taking on the Sahara Desert Trek with Fear Naught, you’ll need to be prepared.
Expect to learn how to deal with extreme heat and survive in the desert, what gear to bring, how to acclimatize to the temperature and how to stay hydrated during the five-day journey, as well as some Fear Naught-approved tips and tricks for walking across the Sahara Desert – the hottest trek in the world.
Preparing for the Sahara Desert Trek
If you want to defeat the Sahara Desert, you need to train. And train smart. The trek requires long hours of walking, often in extreme heat, so you'll need to have the stamina, strength and mental toughness to keep going in difficult conditions.
Start your training several months before the trek, focussing on cardio, strength and endurance exercises. The Sahara Desert Trek is in October, so make the most of the Summer and do your training outside beneath the sun. It will be difficult at first, but the more you can adjust to pushing yourself in hot weather conditions, the better.
Desert survival isn’t possible without the right clothing. What you wear on the trek can potentially mean the difference between life and death.
You'll need lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing to protect your skin from the sun. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers made of lightweight fabrics are ideal for this type of climate. You'll also need a hat, sunglasses, and high-quality trekking boots that provide good ankle support and plenty of ventilation.
Don’t underestimate the importance of socks, either. You’re going to be walking long hours in intense heat for five days straight. We recommend Red On Socks, created by elite physical training instructor Mike Chadwick and designed to keep your feet strong and blister-free.
Dehydration is a constant risk on the Sahara Desert Trek. Always drink plenty of water before and during your trek, and carry a hydration pack or water bottles with you. Also consider taking electrolyte tablets or sports drinks to replace lost minerals and salts. It's important to keep track of how much water you're drinking, as dehydration can lead to serious health issues.
Staying hydrated is the most important rule of desert survival.
Managing Extreme Heat
The Sahara Desert Trek is hot. Really hot. One of the best ways to manage the extreme heat is to acclimatize your body to it. Spend time in hot environments before your journey, such as saunas, and gradually increase the time you spend in the heat. Doing this regularly will help your body adjust to high temperatures and reduce your risk of heat-related illnesses. The importance of this can’t be overstated.
Plan your trek around the hottest times of the day. Walking across the Sahara during the middle of the day isn’t a good idea, as this is when the heat will be most intense. Instead, you’ll want to do most of your walking early morning and late afternoon, when the temperature is lower.
If you see an opportunity to cool down, take it. One way you can do this is to take regular breaks in the shade, whenever possible. Remaining in the heat too long could put you at risk of collapsing, which not only endangers you, but your team as well.
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Sahara Desert Trek FAQs:
What are the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke?
Signs of heat exhaustion include fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea and a rapid heartbeat. If symptoms persist, it could be a sign of heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Signs of heat stroke include a high body temperature, confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures. If you experience any of the above, inform someone immediately.
How much water should I drink during the Sahara Trek?
You should drink at least 2-3 litres of water per day. More if you're sweating heavily. It's important to drink regularly, even if you don't feel thirsty. Keep in mind that drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated, either. Eating fruits and vegetables that have high water content, such as watermelon or cucumber, can also help you stay hydrated.
What should I do if I feel dehydrated during the trek?
If you feel dehydrated, inform someone, stop immediately and rest in the shade. Drink plenty of water and take some electrolyte tablets. If your symptoms persist, seek medical attention.
What should I do if I encounter wildlife during the trek?
Encountering wildlife is rare, but it's important to stay alert and keep a safe distance if you do. Don’t attempt to touch or feed any animals, as they may be dangerous. If you encounter a snake or scorpion, move away slowly. If you’re bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
Walking Across the Sahara
Keeping track of your location can be difficult in the Sahara. Even if you’re travelling as part of a group – such as on the Sahara Desert Trek – it’s useful to bring a physical map and compass, in case your digital devices fail and you need to reorient yourself.
One step at a time
As with most epic challenges, it's useful to set a number of small goals when travelling across the Sahara, each one taking you a step closer to your end goal.
Crossing the Sahara is no small feat. It requires unflinching mental toughness and an elite mindset. You'll need to stay focused, positive, and motivated, regardless of what else is going on. It's a Fear Naught challenge for a reason.
Do you have what it takes to defeat the Sahara Desert Trek?
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