Terrain shapes and bedrock
The 200-500 km wide strip of land around the Somali
Peninsula (Horn of Africa) has completely different
topographic designs in its northern and southern parts. From
the border with Djibouti in the northwest to Cape Gardafai
in the northeast, extends inside the dry coastal plain,
Guban, the Ogo Highlands in the east-west direction with a
number of peaks higher than 2,000 m above sea level.
Somalia's highest point, Surud Ad (2,408 m asl), is only 40
km from the coast. The mountains are of a horst nature and
have been raised in connection with the faults in the
earth's crust that formed the Aden Bay. The mountains are
replaced south by the dry Haud plateau, where the soil cover
on the flat surface consists of gypsum-containing soil. From
the highlands in the northwest, the Nugaaleed Valley extends
down to the coast of the Indian Ocean.
The southern part of the country with coast to the Indian
Ocean is mainly comprised of vast plains with hills that
reach only 100-130 m above sea level. The bedrock here
consists of almost horizontal layers of tough and lava as
well as sedimentary rocks from Jurassic, Cretaceous and
Tertiary. Smaller areas with metamorphic rocks of
Precambrian age are found at the far south-west, as well as
at Adenviken in the north, where, however, lava rocks
Some temporary floodwaters come from Ethiopia's
southeastern highlands; the biggest are Juba and Shebeli.
COUNTRYAAH, Somalia has a tropical desert climate, most pronounced in
the northern part, while the southern coastal strip is
reached by more humid air masses. Two short rainy periods in
March – June, and September – December, respectively,
produce a maximum of 100 mm per year. The higher inland,
especially in the far west, can get up to 500 mm per year.
On the north coast, the temperature in June – September
reaches 42 °C and the average temperature for the year is
25–35 °C. In the highlands, the temperature can fall below
The coastal plain in northern Somalia has very sparse
vegetation, furthest west dominated by grass, e.g.
Lasiuʹrus and Paniʹcum. Further inland, dry
bush vegetation with acacias and Commiʹphora is
predominant. In the mountains along the Gulf of Aden,
there are dry forests with, among other things. ones,
Oʹlea africaʹna (family of lemon plants),
Sideroʹxylon species (family of sapotillas),
Barbeya [-be in ʹa] oleoiʹdes (Barbeyaʹceae
family) and Ceʹltis. These mountains also
house a number of geographically isolated representatives of
the Mediterranean family, e.g. Cyʹclamen somaleʹnse.
In lower mountain regions, Euphorbia noʹxia,
Adeʹnium somaleʹnse (the family of oleander plants) and
Bosweʹllia saʹcra are typical features.
Southern Somalia, along the Indian Ocean, is dominated by
the peninsula with steppe vegetation, in which acacias,
Commiʹphora, Jaʹtropha (the family of turf
plants) and various euphorbias dominate. The furthest south,
towards the border with Kenya, where the rainfall is more
abundant, the vegetation becomes denser and turns into
savanna, where you find, for example. different aloe
The fauna is dominated by dryland and desert animals. In
the lush areas of the south, there are some of East Africa's
typical savannah animals. There are about 60 species of
larger mammals, of which about 25 species of ungulates
(including cudantilopes, dikes, gerenuk, African wild ox
(Eʹquus africaʹnus), grevysebra and common zebra)
and about 22 species of predators (including earthworm,
streaky hyena), leopard and lion). Only three species of
primates occur in Somalia: the mantle baby, a markatta and a
galago. The biologically interesting calf rat is common in
the central parts.
Bird life is more economical than in other East Africa,
with larches, stairs and flying chickens as typical
features. Ostrich is rare, while Gingerbread (Acryʹllium
vulturiʹnum) is common. A few species of rhino birds
are found in Somalia. On the coast, heron peppers have their
foremost breeding grounds in the world. Here there is also
rare dugong. In many parts of the hinterland, high termite
stacks are a definite feature.
Somalia had only a handful of game reserves in 1996.
About 20 areas have long been proposed as national parks or
nature reserves and in the meantime, forest areas in several
of these have been destroyed. Somalia has not signed the
Convention on Biological Diversity.