Science | December 22, 2016 5:00 am

Sahara Desert City of Aïn Séfra Sees Rare Snowfall


The city of Aïn Séfra, dubbed “The Gateway to the Sahara,” is known for the red sand dunes fringing its perimeter. It’s certainly not a skiers destination, but Aïn Séfra recently made headlines for its rare snowfall. The rolling hills of auburn sand coated with an ethereal layer of snow made for such a stunning landscape that Karim Bouchetata, a local photographer, had to share it with the world.

The snow came as a surprise to many of Aïn Séfra’s citizens, including the photographer. Though it’s surrounded by the Atlas Mountains, the desert city only gets this type of snowfall, on average, once a decade. (The Algerian photographer told Gizmodo it was “an exceptionally rare occurrence.”) Although it’s received dustings in 2005 and 2012, the last time the city was hit with a “snowstorm” that lasted longer than 30 minutes was in 1979.

Enjoy Bouchetata’s stunning photos below.