Chott el Djerid (also known as Chott El-Jerid, and several other variations of spelling) is a great salt lake located in the Tunisian part of the Sahara desert. It’s known to be the largest salt lake in the Sahara, and depending on your sources, it’s also the largest salt lake on the African continent. With a surface area of more than 2,700 square miles, Chott el Djerid is over 1.5 times larger than the Great Salt Lake of Utah.
The name of this lake consists of two parts: in Northern Africa, chott describes a lake that dries out in summer and usually has at least some water in it in colder seasons; el djerid is an Arabic word meaning “palm leaf” (the nearby el Djerid region in South Western Tunisia holds 15 times more date palm trees than its human population). Chott el Djerid is (mostly) an enormous plain with a harsh desert climate and almost total lack of natural resources—including fresh water. It’s a difficult place to live, but traveling though is a different story. The barrenness could be safely described as mysteriously alluring, even beautiful.
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