Geography

Geography

Location:  Ethiopia is located 3′ and 14.8″ latitude 33′ and 48′ longitude in the Eastern part of Africa (Horn of Africa) bordering Somalia, the Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya and Eritrea with a total border length of 5,311 km.  It is the 10th largest country in Africa.

Area: 440,284 square miles (1.14 million square kilometers)
Land: 1.07 million square kilometers
Water: 7.0 thousand square kilometers
 
Boundaries: 5,311 km
  • Djibouti:  337 km
  • Somalia: 1,626 km
  • Sudan:  1,606 km
  • Kenya:  830 km
  • Eritrea: 912 km

Ethiopia is a country enjoying great geographical features ranging from highest peak at Ras Dashen (4,550 meters above sea level), to the Afar Depression (110m below sea level). More than half of the country lies above 1,500 meters. There are broadly three climatic zones; the ‘Qola’ or hot lowlands (below approximately 1,500 meters), ‘Weyna Dega’  (1,500-2,400 meters) mean annual temperatures range from 10-160c in the ‘Dega’,16-290c in the ‘Weyna Dega’ and 29-330c in the ‘Qola’. In general, the highlands receive more rain than the lowlands and irregularity of rainfall is a characteristic feature.

The capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa (meaning New Flower), is located at 900030 latitude and 380420E longitude, situated roughly in the center of the country. It was founded in 1886. Toward the  end of 1905 Addis Ababa was recognized as the unofficial capital of Africa, and thus was made the head quarter of United Nations Economic Commission for the Africa (ECA) in 1958  and later 1963, chosen to be the seat of the organization of African Unity, now officially transformed into African Union (AU). This was made possible partly due to Ethiopia’s position as a symbol of independence and freedom in the African continent and partly due to the efforts of the country exerted over the years to bring about the desired unity among Africans.

Today, Addis Ababa keeping its ancient rich African traditions and adopting to the ever-changing world has become Africa’s unchallenged diplomatic capital with more than 100 embassies and consular representatives clustered in the mountain city.

Population per square mile: 127
 
Fauna & Flora:  A variety of fauna and flora are found, some endemic to the country, including the Semian fox, the mountain nyala, Walia ibex and the Gelada baboon.
 
Natural Resources: gold, platinum, copper, potash, gem, coal natural gas, incense, natural gum
Land use (2000/01):  Arable land, 45%; Irrigated land, 3 %.
 
Elevation extremes
  • Lowest point: Danakil depression, 125 m below sea level
  • Highest point: Mount Ras Dashan, 4620 m above sea level
 
Mountains:  25 mountains with 4,000 meters or higher altitude
 
Rivers
  • Main rivers:[nbsp] Abay (Blue Nile), Wabe Shebele, Genale, Awash, Omo, Tekeze, Mereb, Baro and Angereb
  • Irrigated rivers:  Awash, Wabe Shebele
  • Navigable rivers:[nbsp] Baro
Lakes
  • Major lakes: Abaya, Abiata, Ashenge, Awassa, Chamo, Hayik, Koka, Langano, Shala, Tana and Ziway
  • Largest: Lake Tana (3600 sq. kilometers)
  • Smallest: Lake Ashenge (20 sq. kilometers)
  • Deepest: Lake Shala
  • Shallowist: Lake Ziway

Parks, reserves:  8 national parks, 10 game reserves and 2 sanctuaries

Located in the heart of the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is the tenth largest African country by land area and the third largest African nation in terms of population. Ethiopia is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south and Sudan to the west.

A land of contrasts, the scenery in Ethiopia changes constantly from one region to another, creating a microcosm of an entire continent in a nation the size of France and Spain combined. The scenery changes from hot, dry areas to rolling hills and fertile highlands, to savanna and mountainous regions where it sometimes even snows. The contrasting land is largely due to the volcanic activity that shaped the area some forty million years ago when the Ethiopian land mass was shaken by a massive upheaval. This opened deep faults in the bedrock and its overlying sedimentary layers, through which white-hot basaltic lava slowly spread over a large expanse of the land. Later, erosion produced some of the sharp contrasts that travelers visiting Ethiopia can see today.

Ethiopia’s dramatic geographic contours, which were formed over one million years ago, have been hailed by some as probably the most spectacular in the world. The most sensational geographical feature is the East African Rift Valley, which runs from north to south, cleaving the country into three distinct regions: the western highlands, the eastern highlands, and the Rift Valley lowlands.

The central highlands stand at altitudes from 7,800-12,000 feet, rising to Ras Dashen at 15,100 feet, the highest peak in the Simien Mountains. Deep gorges surround the high plateaus, dipping far below sea level. From the highlands of Gojjam Province in Amhara, the Blue Nile River crashes over the Tississat Falls, where it begins its 1,000 mile journey to join the White Nile in Sudan. The eastern highlands run along the Rift Valley escarpment, sloping steeply to the east and widening and descending into the Danakil Depression at 380 feet below sea level.

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