5 Natural Regions of Egypt - Summary and Map

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Egypt is a country with particular natural regions that have fostered life among the desert regions. It has come to host the important Egyptian and Greek civilizations and events of great biblical relevance. But where exactly is Egypt? This country is located in the northwest of the African continent, bordering Libya, Palestine, Israel, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. In this Green Ecologist article we present the five natural regions of Egypt, many of them recognized and differentiated by the ancient Egyptians and that are distinguishable by their natural and geographical limits that generate different ecosystems.

Western desert

This desert comprises the 68% of the territory of Egypt, located west of the Nile River. It is one of the driest areas in the country, with rocky and sandy deserts with maximum daytime temperatures of 48 ° C in summer and night-time minimums of -2.2 ° C in winter.

In this egyptian desert oases are common, isolated sites with water and vegetation, where there are small human settlements. These oases were very useful for the mining expeditions that were undertaken in ancient times and that promoted the development of the country.

There is an abundance of precious metals and stones, deposits of black granite, Cretan limestone in the White Desert, and sand with quartz. The fauna is not very varied because it is a desert, but fennecs can be found (Vulpes zerda) and sheep of aoudadAmmotragus lervia), among others. Both this desert and the eastern desert were called by the ancient Egyptians as the "Red Land" because their wind generated dunes are reddish in color.

Feel free to visit this other article to learn more about the Flora and fauna of Egypt.

Eastern desert

This desert, also known as the Arabian Desert, occupies 28% of Egypt, between the Nile Valley, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and Sudan. Containing deposits of oil, emeralds, copper, gold, quarry and coal, it is the natural region with the most natural resources of Egypt. Many of these natural resources were used for the magnificent Egyptian constructions and the characteristic jewels that accompanied pharaohs. In this area are the famous archaeological sites and pyramids. The most famous is the Giza plateau, where the sphinxes, the pyramid of Cheops and the funerary temples stand out, among many others.

It receives little rainfall a year and its temperature reaches 50 ° C maximum and 0 ° C minimum. His vegetation is sparse and there are no oases like those found in the western desert. Among the plants that grow are acacias, tamarisk trees (Tamarix) and multiple desert grasses. The fauna adapted to extreme conditions It includes the ibex and hiracoid damans, in addition to all those migratory birds that cross the desert to go from Europe to Africa.

Sinai peninsula

It consists of a triangular peninsula delimited by bodies of water on each side: to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, to the east by the Gulf of Aqaba, to the west by the Gulf of Suez and to the south by the Red Sea. It connects to the west with Egypt and to the east with Israel. Three areas can be distinguished in the peninsula:

  • The north zone: composed mainly of sandy deserts that receive flash floods of pluvial origin, accumulating water that does not generate vegetation but is drained to the Mediterranean.
  • The southern area: composed mostly of granite mountains, such as Santa Catalina, which is the highest in Egypt at 2,640 meters high. Also here is the famous Mount Sinai, 2,285 meters high and of biblical importance.
  • The central area: characterized by having plateaus with valleys that descend to the Mediterranean Sea

Its climate is more temperate than the rest of Egypt because of the mountains that rise, with temperatures of -16 ° C as a minimum temperature and 25 ° C on average. Among the vegetation are date palms. This peninsula has the Arabian leopard (Panthera pardus nimr) as an endemic species, in critical danger of extinction by hunting and habitat reduction.

We recommend this article on the Causes and consequences of poaching animals so that you can have more information on the subject.

Nile Delta

The last two natural regions develop around the Nile River, with rich biodiversity due to the transit of water. The Nile Delta region, also known as Lower Egypt, receives water from the Nile River to form the Delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea, in the north of the country. It covers from Alexandria to Port Said, whose great extension of 240 kilometers makes it one of the largest deltas in the world.

It has a dark colored clay bottom from the Ethiopian volcanic massif that is deposited by the Nile when it grows. This condition caused the ancient Egyptian civilization to call it the "Black Earth". Within the delta there are different formations related to water:

  • Two water channels: Damietta to the east and Rosetta to the west. These channels were a vital part for communication in ancient Egypt, which previously were more but they were disappearing due to the sedimentation of the river and the control of water by humans. It was artificially built in the Suez Canal, to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea.
  • Three lakes: Mariout, Idku and Burullus.

The climate of the Delta is desert-warm, with maximum temperatures of 34 ° C in summer and winters with minimums of 9 ° C. It rains only in winter, with a maximum of 200 mm per year. Associated with this climate is the vegetation of lotus flowers (Nelumbo nucifera). The delta receives migratory birds, such as the Nile geese (Alopochen aegyptiaca). It has numerous reptiles, frogs, turtles and birds, such as the Nile monitor (Varanus niloticus).

Its waters are lower than those of the Nile River, so it is a ideal site for agriculture. This arable land with flowing water led to the development of Egyptian and Greek civilizations. In addition, today, there are numerous archaeological sites in this area typical of such civilizations. Around this Delta, ancient settlements were created with the name of nomos, which divided the cultivable areas. They evolved in today's modern cities, notably Alexandria, Cairo, Suez, and Giza.

Nile valley

To the east of the Nile River is the Nile Valley, also known as Upper Egypt. It goes from the Hafa Valley to the Mediterranean and includes the part of the end of the Nile basin, before reaching the delta. It is a very narrow valley that divides the Western Desert and the Eastern Desert, with a width of 19 kilometers. It occupies only 4% of the Egyptian territory and, even so, it is the most populous region of Egypt.

During the summer the surrounding plateaus are flooded and fertile silt descends, concentrating in the Nile Valley, which has been used for agriculture since ancient times. Being between two deserts, the wealth of natural resources is contrasting and, since ancient times, it was a key point for trade and food supply among the dry places.

This also fosters a great abundance of wild species, like the characteristic Nile papyri (Cyperus papyrus) from which the first versions of the paper were created, palmeras dum (Hyphaene thebaica) and animals like Nile crocodiles (Cocodrylus niloticus). Its ecoregion is classified as flooded savanna. In satellite photography, the Nile Valley stands out as a green thread that crosses the two arid deserts that, in addition to harboring wild species, motivate the production of vegetables and even flowers, such as roses.

The temperature is higher than in the Delta because it is surrounded by deserts. It can go up to approximately 40 ° C, with hot summers and mild winters. It receives less rain than the natural region of the Delta.

If you want to read more articles similar to Natural regions of Egypt, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

  • Egypt State Information Service. (s.f). Egypt: geography. Available at: https://www.sis.gov.eg/section/2/73?lang=es
  • Bolaños González J. I. (2003). The Nile Valley: from Geography to Myth. Geographical Notebooks, 33, 75-103.
  • Nile one. (s.f.) Crossing the Eastern Desert. Available at: http://www.nilo.one/paisajes/desiertooriental.htm
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