Posted by Liv Sommerlot
Liv Sommerlot

Pokémon GO gave us the ability to traverse the world in search of our favorite Pokémon. To most, that simply meant actually getting out of the house for once and discovering parts of our own towns and cities we never knew existed. For others, that truly meant travel the world. Mountains, forests, oceans, even deserted islands—the horizon was calling, and Pokémon GO players took up the call. What sort of Pokémon would await in these exotic locations?

One such unforgiving backdrop, however, has remained unexplored by Pokémon tamers... until now. Rocket News 24 writer and native Japanese Masanuki Sunakoma has taken to the wide, vast Sahara Desert to find out just what Pokémon await within those lonely, rolling dunes...

Traversing the Largest Desert in the World—The Sahara!

"In the morning, the desert sparkles a brilliant gold!"
"In the morning, the desert sparkles a brilliant gold!"

In the desert you can remember your name 'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain…

If America were to release their famous song of deserts, horses, and names today, they might have given it a decidedly more Pokémon twist. Or perhaps not, but it certainly would have been pretty sweet. At any rate, the Sahara Desert, the largest hot desert in the world, covering almost the entirety of Northern Africa, and known by many as the "Sea of Sand," is one of the least inhabitable places on earth. It's hot, sandy, and infinitely vast, and the species of animal that reside there have had to be both incredibly adaptive and resilient.

But could there be more than just animals living amongst those dunes?

Could there, in fact, be Pokémon, too?

Unaltered photo of real Pokémon in the Sahara Desert.
Unaltered photo of real Pokémon in the Sahara Desert.

When Rocket News 24 writer Masanuki Sunakoma traveled to that endless sea of sand, he did what any dedicated Pokémon trainer would do—started up his Pokémon GO app and went in search of Pokémon!

Could Pokémon be roaming the dunes of the Sahara?

Stationed in the small Moroccan village of Merzouga, Sunakoma took advantage of Maroc Telecom's phone services to boot up his Pokémon app and connect to the server. What would the Pokémon GO screen look like in the middle of the Sahara? What would he see?

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do...
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do...

Absolutely nothing!

No PokéStops. No trainers. No gyms. No Pokémon.

A green vastness as deep and wide as the Sahara itself.

Well, except for what appears to be one hidden Machop in the bottom right-hand corner. Could this little guy be telling us that there are Pokémon living in this desert wasteland? There's only one way to find out! The best way to lure out Pokémon, after all, is via some finely crafted incense!

I love the smell of incense in the morning.
I love the smell of incense in the morning.

Incense: Attracts wild Pokémon to you for 30 minutes. When you're standing still, one will spawn every 5 minutes. When you're on the move, one will spawn every minute

As if just waiting for the opportunity to arise, what should leap out of the green vacuum within the first ten seconds of using the incense but a Ponyta!

Watch where you put that snout, ma'am.
Watch where you put that snout, ma'am.

Quite appropriate for a desert Pokémon—what kind of animal would be able to handle the heat better than a horse with a literal mane of fire? Unfortunately, the Ponyta didn't stick around long enough to say hi, but he (or she!) had already paved the road for a plethora of Saharan brothers and sisters.

Ten minutes later, a Growlithe appeared out of the green. Then? A Sandshrew, and an Ekans, and a Cubone! Pokémon by the plenty were coming out of the woodwork as though crazed for human attention in this population-deprived world.

And that's not all! Two more hidden Pokémon would appear in the bottom right-hand corner—a Charmander and a Rhyhorn.

I'm thinking it wasn't "grass" they were hiding in, though...
I'm thinking it wasn't "grass" they were hiding in, though...

Suffice to say, Pokémon can survive in the desert—even in the largest desert of them all—and they're just as anxious to make your acquaintance as their urban brothers and sisters.

The same can't be said about you, however. Losing track of time and getting lost following the call of nearby Pokémon might be an acceptable pastime in the city, but such reckless actions could lead to decidedly more dire circumstances in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Sure, you might not get mugged or led into a trap, but you might lose cell phone service and get lost in the desert for weeks upon end until you slowly shrivel up and die next to a hidden Charmander.

I choose... you... Char... mander...
I choose... you... Char... mander...

Just Deserts: All Pokémon Confirmed in the Sahara Desert

Here's the run-down of every Pokémon discovered so far within the sprawling dunes of the Sahara Desert.

Confirmed Pokémon:

  • Machop
  • Ponyta
  • Growlithe
  • Ekans
  • Cubone
  • Charmander
  • Rhyhorn

Confirmed PokéStops:

  • None!

Confirmed Gyms:

  • None!

That begs the question, though—in what other strange places can Pokémon be found? Deep in the depths of the Amazon? Throughout the snow-covered plains of the arctic? In the middle of the ocean?! Only time—and considerably more intrepid Pokémon trainers than I—will tell.

What are the strangest places you've found Pokémon? Itching to travel the world on an epic Pokémon adventure of your own? Let us know!

[Source: Rocket News 24]