Xamarweyne beach on the Indian Ocean off Mogadishu

Geography of Somalia

The majority of the country is a bedrock plateau that belongs to the African Shield, and is covered by sediment layers from Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.

In the north there are mountainous regions that mainly consist of Precambrian rocks. These extend from the border with Ethiopia in the west to the tip of the Horn of Africa in the east. In several places, these mountains reach over 2000 meters above sea level. The highest point is Shimbiris, 2407 meters above sea level. North of the mountains, facing the Gulf of Aden, lies a narrow ridge-covered coastal strip. South of the mountain ranges lies the Haud Plateau, which is cooler and drier than the surrounding country. Otherwise, the land is mostly dry land with plains and low plateaus of sedimentary rocks from tertiary and quaternary.

The rivers Jubba (Juba) and Wadi Shabelle (Shebelle) come from Ethiopia and flow southwards through the country and flow into the Indian Ocean. The coastal zone in the south has rows of sand dunes. Off the coast are numerous coral reefs. The inland consists of a rolling high plain with deep cut river valleys. On the southeast coast is a wide lowland.

Xamarweyne beach on the Indian Ocean off Mogadishu

Climate in Somalia

Somalia lies within tropical and subtropical climate zones. The coastal area in the north has desert climate, the inland savanna climate and the coast in the south has steep climate.

In the north, the annual rainfall is below 50 mm with a short rainy season in December – January. The rainfall increases southwards to between 250 and 500 mm per year, somewhat more nearly the equator. The rainfall here falls evenly throughout the year except for a dry season in December – March.

In the mountains, the annual rainfall can rise to 500–750 mm, but it is often less. The average temperature in July is around and partly above 35 °C, in January approx. 25 °C.

The southernmost regions have an average annual temperature of 27–28 °C, with little difference between the warmest and coldest months. However, the daily variations are greater, the average maximum temperature is between 30 °C and 40 °C, the average minimum temperature between 18 °C and 27 °C.

Wildlife in Somalia

Wildlife in Somalia is richest in the south (Lower Juba). Here you will find honey badger, hippopotamus, elephant, giraffe, grevysebra, leopard and lion. Species of high prevalence are mantle baboon, rock cliff, jackals, hyenas and earthworms. On tørkesavannen and semi-desert occur including sandbars, giraffe Gazelle ( gerenuk ) and wild ass.

Vultures, stairs, larches and weavers are characteristic representatives of the country’s more than 700 observed bird species.

The earthworm belongs to the hyena family and is also called dwarf hyenas

Plant life in Somalia

The northern parts of Somalia are characterized by rainfall, and thorny savanna and semi-desert dominate. Smaller areas may have grassland with arid-resistant species of the genus Aristida. Although the vegetation is sparse, the flora is still rich in endemic (native) plant species. Along the coast are mangrove forests, where especially Rhizophora species have been utilized for both wood and bark for tanning. In the south, there are consistently richer ones, with grass water and forest patches, the latter at least as gallery forests along the streams. At the same time, these are also areas where agriculture causes a reduction in natural vegetation. In the north and northeast, coniferous forests with Podocarpus and Juniperus species occur, and thickets with evergreen, thick-leafed deciduous trees.

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