Geography of Egypt


Terrain shapes and bedrock

According to COUNTRYAAH, Egypt covers mainly the northeastern part of Africa and is thus one of the continent’s lowest lying areas. The central region of Egypt is made up of the valley of the Nile, while desert areas are spreading on either side. Only the easternmost strip along the Red Sea and an area in the southwest corner are highlands.

The Nile Valley is a marked lowering, only 8–16 km wide but 1,200 km long, which runs in a north-south direction through the eastern part of the country parallel to the Red Sea coast.

In its northernmost part the valley spreads out and is filled by a delta that is about 160 km long and 240 km wide. See further Nile.

The most extensive landform type in Egypt, the desert plateau, is divided by the Nile Valley into two fairly different regions, the Libyan (western) desert and the eastern (Arabian) desert.. The Libyan Desert is a sand and stone desert that is significantly larger than the Arabian Desert. The largest oases are al-Fayyum, around Lake Qarun in the northeast, and Siwa, near the Libyan border. The deepest sink is the Qattara Basin, which reaches 133 m uh. The Eastern Desert is a rock and stone desert that is pervaded by many wadis that arise in connection with the occasional rains. Towards the Red Sea rise horrified rock ridges formed by faults. The highest peak is Shayb al-Banat, 2,187 meters above sea level. Separated from Africa by the Suez Bay and the Suez Canal, the triangular Sinai Peninsula forms a transition to Asia. Especially the southern part of the peninsula is markedly mountainous with Catherine, 2,637 m above sea level, as the highest point in Egypt.

Most of the bedrock in Egypt is made up of sandstones. Nubian sandstone from the Cretaceous and Tertiary times. However, the mountains along the Red Sea consist of Precambrian, crystalline rocks and younger intrusive granites. The Sinai Peninsula also has crystalline bedrock in the south, while the northern part is sandstone from the Cretaceous period.


Practically all of Egypt is part of the tropical desert climate belt, which includes North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Only a small coastal area in the far north deviates and has a Mediterranean climate with rain and slightly lower temperatures in winter. The country as a whole is characterized by very little rainfall and overcast. A striking daily and annual amplitude of the temperature is typical. During the cooler of Egypt’s two seasons, which fall between November and March, the mean daily and maximum temperatures of the day are 9 °C and 18 °C in the north and 12 °C and 23 °C, respectively. According to BRIDGAT, the warmest season, May – September, is markedly hot and dry. The average dinner temperature in June is 33 °C in Cairo and 42 °C in Assuan. During April and May, a dry, hot and dusty wind, scirocco (chamsin), can blow from the south or southwest.

More regular rain falls on the Mediterranean coast, where Alexandria receives 178 mm per year, while Cairo has 25 mm and Assuan 3 mm per year, ie. rain a few years. The coastal area of ​​the Red Sea and the Libyan Desert is practically rain-free, while the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula receives 125 mm per year.

Plant Life

Egypt is for the most part covered by desert with very sparse vegetation. Only the narrow Nile valley and its delta in the north houses lush vegetation, but this is now completely culturally characterized; practically all of this area is cultivated and without natural vegetation. Along the river have been planted alien trees, such as eucalyptus and iron trees.

Even in the Middle Ages, there were some natural forests in the Nile Valley as well as in the surrounding desert valleys. In northern Sinai, the cypress- like juniper Juniʹperus phoeniʹcea was probably forest-forming. Egypt’s most common palm is date palm, which has been planted in oases and wadis but is never wild; dates are an important part of the Bedouin diet. However, there are two native palm trees, doum palm, which is relatively common in Upper Egypt both in oases and around the Nile, and argon palm (Medeʹmia aʹrgun), which was grown on a large scale during the Pharaonic period but which is now only found in an oasis southwest of Assuan.. Papyrus, which was so important to papermaking in Pharaonic Egypt, also belong to the almost lost species. Today, the species remains in a single lake in northern Egypt.

The desert west of the Nile (Libyan Desert) is practically vegetation-free, much like at oases where, besides planted date palms, a lush vegetation sometimes exists. In the Eastern Desert (Arabian Desert), which lies east of the Nile, and in Sinai, where there is more regular rainfall, there are, however, a lot of bushes and small trees of, for example, tamarisk, acacias and marekh trees. In a narrow strip closest to the Mediterranean, the vegetation is steep. There is also a large seed bank in the desert soils, and after a rain, a magnificent flora of annuals quickly emerges.


Bird life is rich, especially in winter when many northern birds winter and during the fall and spring when the country is passed by large numbers of migrating birds on their way to and from tropical Africa. Among the latter are especially notable birds of prey and storks.

Larches, rock washes and flying chickens dominate the breeding birds in the desert areas. Slaughter falcon is common in the Arabian desert. Along the Nile you can see brownish, black-winged happy, palm pigeon and turtle. African ostrich was previously widespread but is now only found in the country’s southeastern corner.

The mammalian fauna is depleted. Lions, hippos and giraffes have completely disappeared. Nubian Capricorn (Caʹpra iʹbex nubiaʹna) and Dorcas gazelle are now very few. There are several predator species that feed on i.a. numerous rodents; These include red fox, sand fox, fennel, jackal, North African bandillas (Poeciliʹctis liʹbyca), dangerous, streaky hyena, leopard (on the Sinai peninsula), African wild cat (Feʹlis lyʹbica) and jungle cat (Felis chaus).

Among the reptiles are the Nile and the Nile Crocodile, the latter now only above the Assuan Dam. In the deserts, black beetles and scorpions belong to the common small creeps. The sacred scarab of Egyptians, a pillar trailer (beetle) that rolls balls of manure, is also still a common sight. Along the coast towards the Red Sea there are well-developed coral reefs with a very rich marine fauna.

Nature conservation

In 2010, Egypt had three national parks, Ras Muhammad, Elba and Wadi El Gemal – Hamata. Egypt has signed several important nature conservation conventions.