Difference Between the Sahara and Ladakh Deserts
By Laura Lee - November 17, 2022

Despite their unpopularity as tourist destinations, their practically uninhabitable nature makes them some of the world’s most natural adventure sites to visit. Only if long enough to experience the magic of a desert night sky.

Table Summary

Sahara DesertLadakh Desert
A large hot desert spanning across North AfricaRelatively smaller cold desert spanning across India and the Himalayas
The topography is plain with some plateaus Relatively high altitudes and deeper valleys – some with river


Temperature differences are very opposite extremes in both deserts. The Sahara Desert is hot, with mean temperatures occasionally exceeding 30 °C (86 °F) and average high temperatures in summer exceeding 40 °C (104 °F) for months at a time, with temperatures reaching up to 47 °C (117 °F). In Ladakh, summer temperatures are just slightly over zero degrees Celsius during the day and far below -30 degrees Celsius at night. During the winter, temperatures can drop as low as -40°C.

Ladakh’s topography mostly consists of high plains and deep valleys that may or may not have rivers. The high plateau dominates in the east and progressively diminishes in the west. Rupshu, a region of big, brackish lakes with a consistent height of around 13,500 feet (4,100 meters), is located in southeastern Ladakh, and the 550km Shyok River, a tributary of the Indus River, is located in the north. Trekking, peak climbing, and river rafting are all possible on the ice-capped mountains and rivers.

The Sahara has shallow, seasonally flooded basins, enormous oasis depressions, extensive gravel-covered plains, rock-strewn plains, abrupt mountains, sand sheets, dunes, and sand seas. Visitors visit ancient historical sites like the Temples Qasr Dush and Hibis, the Monasteries of Saint Paul and Saint Anthony, the English House (where thousands of mummies have been discovered), and the infamous Wadi Al Hitan and its whale skeletons. Parts of the desert are not motorable, so it is possible to experience the beautiful oases on camelback.

Sahara VS Ladakh

The Sahara is the largest and second hottest desert in the world. It spans most of North Africa: bordered in the west by the Atlantic Ocean, in the north by the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, in the east by the Red Sea, and in the south by the Sahel. Ladakh is a cold desert in the Great Himalayas, on the eastern side of Jammu and Kashmir.