Stunning photos capture rare snow in the Sahara Desert

Snow covering the sand in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on Dec 19, 2016. The last time snow fell in the Sahara was 37 years ago in 1979.
Snow covering the sand in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on Dec 19, 2016. The last time snow fell in the Sahara was 37 years ago in 1979.PHOTO: AP

Amateur photographer Karim Bouchetata captured pictures of snow covering the sand in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on Dec 19.

According to British newspaper The Telegraph, it is only the second time in living memory that snow has fallen in one of the most hostile environments on Earth.

"Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the desert; it is such a rare occurrence," Mr Bouchetata was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

"It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos. The snow stayed for about a day and has now melted away."

Science news website LiveScience noted that snow landing on the sand dunes is incredibly rare, adding it is a more common occurrence on Saharan mountain ranges.

"On February 18, 1979, low altitude areas of the Sahara desert recorded their first snowfall in living memory," the site reports.

"Snow fell in spots of Southern Algeria, where a half-hour snowstorm stopped traffic."

The Telegraph reported that temperatures in 'the Greatest Desert', which covers countries including Algeria, Chad, Libya, Mali and Morocco, have preciously surpassed 47 °C .