Geography of Djibouti

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Geography of Djibouti
DjiboutiGeographymap.jpg
Continent Africa
Region Horn of Africa
Area Ranked 150th
 • Total 23,200 km2 (9,000 sq mi)
Borders 510 km
 Ethiopia 337 km
 Eritrea 113 km
 Somalia 60 km
Highest point Mousa Ali Volcano
2,028 m
Lowest point Lac Assal, −155 m

Djibouti is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. To the east is its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. Rainfall is sparse, and most of the territory has a semi-arid or arid environment. Djibouti's major settlements include the capital Djibouti City, the port towns of Tadjoura and Obock, and the southern cities of Ali Sabieh and Dikhil. It is the 150th largest country in the world by land area, covering a total of 23,200 km2, of which 23,180 km2 is land and 20 km2 is water.[1]

Location[edit]

Djibouti shares 113 kilometres (70 mi) of border with Eritrea, 337 kilometres (209 mi) with Ethiopia, and 58 kilometres (36 mi) with Somalia (total 506 km or 314 mi). It has a strategic location on the Horn of Africa and the Bab el Mandeb, along a route through the Red Sea and Suez Canal. Djibouti's coastline serves as a commercial gateway between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn region's interior. The country is also the terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia.

Physiographic regions[edit]

Djibouti can be divided into three physiographic regions

  1. The Northern Mountains
  2. Danakil Depression
  3. Grand Bara

Mountains[edit]

A great arc of mountains, consisting of the Mousa Ali, Goda Mountains, and Arrei Mountains surrounds Djibouti.

Djibouti has eight mountain ranges with peaks of over 1,000 m (3,281 ft).[2]

  • The Mousa Ali range is considered the country's highest mountain range, with the tallest peak on the border with Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has an elevation of 2,028 m.[2]
  • Garbi is a mountain in the west of Tadjourah Region. It has an elevation of 1680 metres (5,512 ft).
  • The Arrei Mountains are in the southern Ali Sabieh Region. The mountain range has an elevation of 1,301 metres (4,268 ft) above sea level, and is situated near the border with Ethiopia.
  • The Mabla Mountains are located in Obock Region. At 1780 m (5850 ft) above sea level, the mountains are situated behind the coastal plain where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, on the northern side of the Gulf of Tadjoura.
  • Hemed is a mountain in the western part of the Arta Region in south-central Djibouti. The summit is 1,103 metres (3,619 ft) above sea level.
  • The Boura Mountains' highest peak has an elevation of 1037 m (3,402 ft. The ecology of this landform is semi-desert. The altitude and size of the range affects its weather, with precipitation levels varying greatly and climatic conditions consisting of distinct zones.

Grand Bara[edit]

The Grand Bara Desert covers parts of South Djibouti in Arta Region, Ali Sabieh Region and Dikhil Region. The majority of the Grand Bara Desert lies at a relatively low elevation, below 1,700 feet (560 m).

Coasts[edit]

Most of Djibouti has been described as part of the Ethiopian xeric grasslands and shrublands ecoregion. The exception is a strip along the Red Sea coast, which is part of the Eritrean coastal desert; it is noted as an important migration route for birds of prey.[3]

Djibouti Regions[edit]

The area of the regions of Djibouti is set out in the table below.

Map of the regions of Djibouti.
Rank Name Area
1 Dikhil Region 7,200 km²
2 Tadjourah Region 7,100 km²
3 Obock Region 4,700 km²
4 Ali Sabieh Region 2,200 km²
5 Arta Region 1,800 km²
6 Djibouti Region 200 km²

Climate[edit]

Topography of Djibouti

There is not much seasonal variation in Djibouti's climate. Hot conditions prevail year-round along with winter rainfall. Mean daily maximum temperatures range from 32 to 41 °C (90 to 106 °F), except at high elevations. In Djibouti city, for instance, afternoon highs in April typically range from 28 °C (82 °F) to 34 °C (93 °F) in April. Nationally, mean daily minima generally vary between sites from about 15 to 30 °C (59 to 86 °F). The greatest range in climate occurs in eastern Djibouti, where temperatures sometimes surpass 41 °C (106 °F) in July on the littoral plains and fall below freezing point during December in the highlands. In this region, relative humidity ranges from about 40% in the mid-afternoon to 85% at night, changing somewhat according to the season.

Djibouti's climate ranges from arid in the northeastern coastal regions to semiarid in the central, northern, western and southern parts of the country. On the eastern seaboard, annual rainfall is less than 5 inches (131 mm); in the central highlands, it is about 8 to 11 inches (200 to 300 mm). Although the coastal regions are hot and humid throughout the year, the hinterland is typically hot and dry. The climate conditions are highly variable within the country and vary locally by altitude. Summers are very humid along the coast but dry in the highlands. Heat waves are frequent. Annual precipitation amounts vary greatly from one year to another. In general, rain falls more frequently and extensively in the mountains. Sudden and brutal storms are also known to occur. Wadis turn for a few hours into raging torrents tearing everything in their path, and their course is regularized[clarification needed]. Rainwater serves as an additional water supply for livestock and plants alongside seasonal watercourses.

The climate of the interior shows notable differences from the coastline. Especially when one rises, the temperature is pleasant: it is so in Arta, Randa and Day (where temperatures of 10 ° have been recorded).

Climate charts of different locations in Djibouti[edit]

Djibouti city
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
10
 
29
22
 
 
19
 
29
23
 
 
20
 
30
24
 
 
29
 
32
25
 
 
17
 
35
27
 
 
0.1
 
39
29
 
 
6.2
 
42
31
 
 
5.6
 
41
31
 
 
3.1
 
37
29
 
 
20
 
33
26
 
 
22
 
31
23
 
 
11
 
29
22
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: BBC Weather
Arta
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
29
 
25
16
 
 
25
 
25
17
 
 
24
 
27
18
 
 
29
 
29
21
 
 
14
 
33
24
 
 
1
 
37
27
 
 
11
 
38
26
 
 
22
 
36
26
 
 
16
 
34
26
 
 
11
 
30
21
 
 
37
 
27
18
 
 
14
 
25
16
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-Data
Dikhil
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
7
 
29
19
 
 
7
 
30
21
 
 
9
 
32
23
 
 
21
 
34
25
 
 
8
 
37
27
 
 
3
 
40
29
 
 
23
 
39
27
 
 
37
 
38
26
 
 
25
 
37
28
 
 
4
 
34
24
 
 
6
 
31
21
 
 
2
 
29
19
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-Data
Randa
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
39
 
24
14
 
 
36
 
24
15
 
 
20
 
26
16
 
 
27
 
28
18
 
 
12
 
31
21
 
 
7
 
34
24
 
 
25
 
35
23
 
 
38
 
34
23
 
 
40
 
32
22
 
 
13
 
29
18
 
 
37
 
26
16
 
 
31
 
24
14
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-Data
Tadjoura
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
11
 
29
22
 
 
9
 
29
23
 
 
16
 
31
25
 
 
12
 
33
26
 
 
8
 
36
29
 
 
1
 
40
32
 
 
4
 
42
31
 
 
18
 
41
31
 
 
8
 
38
31
 
 
13
 
34
27
 
 
25
 
31
24
 
 
20
 
30
23
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-Data
Ali Sabieh
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
17
 
26
16
 
 
11
 
26
18
 
 
14
 
29
20
 
 
20
 
31
22
 
 
9
 
34
24
 
 
4
 
37
27
 
 
19
 
37
25
 
 
34
 
36
25
 
 
26
 
35
26
 
 
9
 
31
21
 
 
14
 
29
19
 
 
6
 
27
17
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Climate-Data

Selected elevations of notable locations[edit]

Location Region Elevation
(feet)
Elevation
(metres)
Mousa Ali Tadjourah 6,631 ft 2,021 m
Goda Mountains Tadjourah 5,840 ft 1,780 m
Garbi Tadjourah 5,512 ft 1,680 m
Arrei Mountains Ali Sabieh 4,268 ft 1,301 m
Mabla Mountains Obock 3,921 ft 1,195 m
Dagouein Mountain Ali Sabieh 3,688 ft 1,124 m
Hemed Arta 3,619 ft 1,103 m
Boura Mountains Ali Sabieh 3,402 ft 1,037 m
Arta Mountains Arta 2,477 ft 755 m
Lake Assal Tadjourah  – 509 ft  – 155 m

Lake Assal is the lowest point in Africa (the second lowest is the Qattara Depression in Northern Egypt).

Environment[edit]

Grazing camels

Natural hazards include earthquakes, drought, and occasional cyclonic disturbances from the Indian Ocean, which bring heavy rains and flash floods. Natural resources include geothermal energy. Inadequate supplies of potable water, limited arable land and desertification are current issues.

Djibouti is a party to international agreements on biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, ozone layer protection, and ship pollution.

Maritime claims[edit]

  • contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles (44.4 km; 27.6 mi)
  • exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi)
  • territorial sea: 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)

Extreme points[edit]

This is a list of the extreme points of Djibouti, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Djibouti". The World Factbook. CIA. February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Highest Mountains in Djibouti
  3. ^ "Eritrean coastal desert". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.