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Sahara Desert City of Aïn Séfra Sees Rare Snowfall

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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.