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Egypt Geography
 
 
 

Situated at the northeastern corner of Africa, the Arab Republic of Egypt has an area of 1,001,450 km² (386,662 mi²), extending 1,572 km (997 mi) southeast to northwest, and 1,196 km (743 mi) northeast to southwest. However, the cultivated and settled area (Nile Valley, Delta and oases) constitutes only about 3.5% of Egypt's land area; the Libyan and Western deserts occupy about 75% of the total. Comparatively, the area occupied by Egypt is slightly more than three times the size of Vietnam, or the state of New Mexico, USA. Beyond the Suez Canal in the east, the Sinai Peninsula overlaps into Asia; the Sinai was occupied by Israeli forces from 1967 to 1982.

Egypt is bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east by Israel and the Red Sea, on the south by Sudan, and on the west by Libya. The total land boundary length is 2,665 km (1,656 mi) and its total coastline is 2,450 km (1,522 mi). Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is located in the northeastern part of the country.

The altitude of Egypt ranges from 133 m (436 ft) below sea level in the Libyan Desert to 2,629 m (8,625 ft) above in the Sinai Peninsula. The Nile Delta is a broad, alluvial land, sloping to the sea for some 160 km (100 mi), with a 250-km (155-mi) maritime front between Alexandria and Port Said. South of Cairo, most of the country (known as Upper Egypt) is a tableland rising to some 460 m (1,500 ft). The narrow valley of the Nile is enclosed by cliffs as high as 550 m (1,800 ft) as the river flows about 900 km (560 mi) from Aswan to Cairo. A series of cascades and rapids at Aswan, known as the 'First Cataract' (the other cataracts are in the Sudan), forms a barrier to movement upstream.

The bulk of the country is covered by the Sahara, which north of Aswan is usually called the Libyan Desert. East of the Nile, the Arabian Desert extends to the Red Sea. The Western Desert consists of low-lying sand dunes and many depressions. Kharijah, Siwah, Farafirah, Bahariyah and other large oases dot the landscape; another lowland, the Qattara Depression, is an inhospitable region of highly saline lakes and soils covering about 23,000 sq km (8,900 sq mi). The outstanding topographic feature is the Nile River, on which human existence depends, for its annual floods provide the water necessary for agriculture. Before the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, the floods, lasting generally from August to December, caused the river level to rise about 5 m (16 ft). Now, however, flood waters can be stored, making it possible to provide year-round irrigation and to reclaim about 1 million feddans (about 1.04 million acres) of land. Damming the Nile resulted in the creation of Lake Nasser, a reservoir 292 km (181 mi) long and 9-18 km (6-11 mi) wide.

Most of Egypt is a dry subtropical area, but the southern part of Upper Egypt is tropical. Northern winds temper the climate along the Mediterranean, but the interior areas are very hot. The temperature sinks quickly after sunset because of the high radiation rate under cloudless skies. Annual rainfall averages 2.5 cm (1 in) south of Cairo and 20 cm (8 in) on the Mediterranean coast, but sudden storms sometimes cause devastating flash floods. Hot, dry sandstorms, known as khamsins, come off the Western Desert in the spring. In Cairo, average temperatures range from 14°C (57°F) in January to 28°C (82°F) in July. Relative humidity varies from 68% in February to over 70% in August and 77% in December.

An Overview

Location :
Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip, and the Red Sea north of Sudan, and includes the Asian Sinai Peninsula

Geographic coordinates :
27 00 N, 30 00 E

Map references :
Africa


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