Eritrea Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Eritrea?

Overview:

Eritrea is a country of stark and dramatic landscapes from its 630-mile Red Sea coastline to its high craggy mountains to the desolate Danakil Depression. The capital of Asmara, at 7,600 feet above sea level, is located on a high plateau in the center of the country. The descent from Asmara to the port of Massawa is one of the most spectacular drives in the world, taking nearly three hours over hairpin curves to cover the 65 miles to the coast. Off the coast are some 350 islands, most of them uninhabited and little explored. The coral reefs which surround many of the islands were left undisturbed by tourism and over-fishing during the long war, and are among the healthiest in the world. The country’s lowest point is minus 75 meters, near Dalul in the Danakil Depression; its highest is Mount Soira at 3,018 meters. Only about 12% of the land is arable.

Geography - note:

strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993

Climate:

The climate in the central highlands, including Asmara, is near perfection, usually in the 70’s or 80’s during the day, cooling off to the 50’s at night. There is little humidity and it seldom rains except during the July/August rainy season when daily afternoon showers are the norm. Asmara receives about 21 inches of rain each year. April, May and June are the warmest months on the plateau, with the cooler season stretching from November to March.


Temperatures in the lowlands can be scorchingly hot, typically ranging from 105°F to 120°F, sometimes more, in August. Along the coast, including in the port cities of Massawa and Assab, high humidity often accompanies the heat. Winter highs here are around 90, with evening temperatures in the 70s.

Eritrea Use of Natural Resources

Eritrea Environment

Climate:

The climate in the central highlands, including Asmara, is near perfection, usually in the 70’s or 80’s during the day, cooling off to the 50’s at night. There is little humidity and it seldom rains except during the July/August rainy season when daily afternoon showers are the norm. Asmara receives about 21 inches of rain each year. April, May and June are the warmest months on the plateau, with the cooler season stretching from November to March.


Temperatures in the lowlands can be scorchingly hot, typically ranging from 105°F to 120°F, sometimes more, in August. Along the coast, including in the port cities of Massawa and Assab, high humidity often accompanies the heat. Winter highs here are around 90, with evening temperatures in the 70s.

Terrain:

dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains

Natural Resources:

gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish

Natural Hazards:

frequent droughts; locust swarms

Irrigated Land:

83 Square Miles
216 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Eritrea Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 45,405 Square Miles
117,600 Square Kilometers
Land Area 38,996 Square Miles
101,000 Square Kilometers
Water Area 6,409 Square Miles
16,600 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,010 Miles
1,626 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 83 Square Miles
216 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Djibouti 109 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km
Coastline 1,388 Miles
2,234 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 15 00 N, 39 00 E
Terrain dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains
Highest Point 3,018 Meters
Highest Point Location Soira 3,018 m
Lowest Point -75 Meters
Lowest Point Location near Kulul within the Denakil depression -75 m
Natural Resources gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
Time Zone UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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