The geography of each region has a great influence not only on the landscape, but also on the culture. Egypt, whose ancient civilization is the object of international worship and research, is located on two continents: Africa and Asia.
Located between the extreme northeast of Africa and western Asia, right on the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east. However, the most significant feature of Egypt’s geography is the Nile River, one of the most famous rivers in the world.
Geography of Egypt: relief
In Egypt, less than 10% of the area is populated or used for cultivation. The result is a practically desert territory. This is what makes the geography of Egypt so unique.
The Libyan desert stretches along what is known as the Great Sea of Sand. It is an area with several depressions that reach up to 100 meters below sea level, as is the case of al-Qattara, the lowest point on the African continent.
The Arabian desert, on the other hand, is situated on a plateau that reaches an altitude of 610 meters, with peaks that reach altitudes of 2000 meters. To the south is the Nubian desert, a vast desert that reaches the border with Sudan.
To the northeast of the country is the Sinai Peninsula, which has large peaks in its southern area and the highest point in Egypt: Mount Santa Catalina, at 2,637 meters. Mount Sinai is also located here, the place where the Old Testament states that Moses received the tables of the Ten Commandments.
Egypt offers a dry climate, but quite varied depending on its areas. Except in the winter months, the country hardly receives any rains, which are mostly located south of Cairo. It has an average rainfall of between 2 and 5 mm per year.
The country has mild winters, in which the temperature stays around 15º C during the day. Summers are very hot, reaching 50º C in its deserts. The climate is milder in the delta, thanks in part to the winds that blow from the Mediterranean. In winter the khamsīn blows , a powerful warm wind that comes from the southeast.
In the mountains of the Sinai and some cities of its northern coastal cities it snows occasionally and frosts are not completely unknown either. Another of its characteristics is the great difference in temperature between its days and nights. In the desert variations of up to 40ºC can be registered.
Geography of Egypt: hydrography
The Nile River is the only permanent river in Egypt and one of the most characteristic features of Egypt’s geography. It is the second largest river on the planet, with more than 6000 kilometers in length. The river covers a route of 1,550 kilometers through Egypt.
The area of its delta, where it flows, is of vital importance to understand the structure of the country and the region. Here, very fertile lands are located thanks to the sediments and nutrients that the great river carries away.
The Nile enters the country from the south, proceeds through the desert to Aswan, and there flows through the valley to Cairo. From there it spreads into a delta where it branches and creates the prosperous and fertile zone that colors the surrounding desert.
Every year, the Nile floods enrich the soil with new nutrients for vegetation, a phenomenon known to many as the ‘gift of the Nile’. However, the construction of the Aswan Dam helped stabilize the river’s flow, preventing damage caused by unexpected or too strong floods.
The Nile thus played a vital role in the development of Egyptian culture as the country’s largest source of resources. In addition, it was the main means of transporting people and goods. Currently, the Nile, which crosses more than ten African countries, is one of the most popular tourist routes for lovers of cultural tourism.