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 predominate.
Some temporary floodwaters come from Ethiopia’s southeastern highlands; the biggest are Juba and Shebeli.
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According to 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 0 °C.
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 species.
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.