In hot drylands the main causes of concrete deterioration are physical salt attack by aggressive evaporite salts, reinforcement corrosion (e.g. carbonation, chloride ingress) and aggregate unsoundness. The manufacture of concrete presents more problems than in temperate countries due to the higher ambient temperatures and drying winds, plus windblown salts (mainly chlorides and sulphates). However, it is not just aridity that is significance to concrete in hot drylands, but also the availability of moisture and the duration of moist conditions. This paper draws upon the lifetime's experience gained by the lead author (PGF), and aims to provide a basic introduction to the “engineering geology of concrete” for hot drylands. The focus is on the Middle East and North Africa, but the general messages have broader applicability.