Ethiopia Geography and Climate

Despite the fact that Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, its cultural heritage and natural wealth is truly impressive. Tourists who want to try “exotics” go here: go on an off-road safari through the savannahs teeming with African predators, or into the river valleys, where the first people appeared about 2 million years ago, take part in the ritual dances of original Ethiopian tribes and touch the buildings, whose age exceeds 2000 years.

The best time to travel in Ethiopia is after the end of the rainy season between October and March.

The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic, which belongs to the Semitic group of languages. In addition, 83 local languages are spoken in the country, among which the most common are Tigrinya and Oromo. The most common foreign language is English.

Geography in Ethiopia

According to top-engineering-schools, Ethiopia is located in East Africa. It occupies part of the so-called “Horn of Africa” (the Somali peninsula). The area of the country is about 1.13 million sq. km.

In the north, Ethiopia borders on Eritrea, in the northeast – on Djibouti, in the east – on Somalia (and part of the border has not yet been demarcated), in the south – on Kenya, in the west – on Sudan. The state has no access to the sea.

Most of the country’s territory is occupied by the Ethiopian Highlands with average heights of about 1700 m. The highest point of the highlands and the whole country – Mount Ras Dashen (4623 m) – is located in its northwestern part. The relief of the Ethiopian highlands is represented by table hills, which the locals call “amba”. The highlands from northeast to southwest are crossed by the East African Rift Zone, which was formed at the junction of lithospheric plates and is a zone of seismic activity. In the northeast, the Ethiopian highlands abruptly break off to the flat Danakil desert, which occupies the Afar depression. The Afar Basin contains the lowest point on the continent (116 m below sea level). In the west and southeast, the Ethiopian highlands more smoothly transition into desert regions: the Sudanese desert with average heights of no more than 1000 m and the Ethiopian-Somali plateau.

In the northern part of Ethiopia is the tectonic Lake Tana, from where the Blue Nile River originates. This is the largest lake in the country, its area is 2156 square meters. km. Many small lakes are located within the East African Rift Zone, the largest of them is Lake Abaya. On the border with Kenya is Lake Turkana (Rudolf).

In the western part of the country flows the largest river of the state – Abbay (Blue Nile). In the east, rivers such as Vebi Sheveli, Dawa and Awash flow. In the eastern part of the country, along with permanent rivers, there are also numerous short rivers that fill with water only during the rainy season. The other major rivers of the country are the Tekeze in the north and the Baro and Gilo in the south.

Climate in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has a subequatorial type of climate. Differences in temperatures during the year do not exceed 6 degrees, and the daily temperature amplitude reaches 15 degrees.

In the mountainous regions of Ethiopia, which occupy most of the country’s territory, the climate depends on the height of the area. The highest temperatures are observed from March to May. During these months, at altitudes from 1500 to 2500 m during the daytime, the air warms up to +25..+30 degrees, and at night it cools down to +12..+17 degrees. At altitudes above 2500 m, from March to May, daytime temperatures do not rise above +25 degrees, and night temperatures do not exceed +10 degrees. In the Ethiopian highlands, the lowest average daily temperatures are observed in July-September, at this time, at altitudes of 1500-2500 m, daytime air temperatures range from +20 to +25 degrees, and nighttime temperatures from +10 to +15 degrees. At altitudes of more than 2500 m in July-September, daytime air temperatures do not exceed +20 degrees, and nighttime temperatures are about 6..8 degrees Celsius. Worth noting that nighttime temperatures, which are recorded during this period, unlike daytime temperatures, are not the lowest of the year. The lowest nighttime temperatures are observed from November to February. At this time, at night at altitudes from 1500 to 2500 m, it is noted about +6..+11 degrees, and at altitudes of more than 2500 m, the air temperature often drops below 0 degrees.

The flatlands surrounding the Ethiopian highlands are hotter. On the plains in June, during the daytime, the air temperature can reach +35 degrees, and at night it can drop to +20 degrees. In December, during the daytime, about 20 degrees of heat is observed here, and at night – about +15 degrees.

In the northeast, the Ethiopian Highlands abruptly breaks off to the Danakil Desert, which occupies the Afar depression (the lowest point on the continent). The Danakil Desert is one of the driest places on the planet and the hottest place on Earth in terms of average annual temperatures. At the local Dalol weather station in 1960, a record maximum average annual air temperature of +34.4 degrees was recorded. In general, in the period from March to September, daytime air temperatures here can reach +50 degrees, and nighttime temperatures – +35 degrees, from October to April, daytime air temperatures are about +40 degrees, and nighttime temperatures do not fall below +25 degrees.

The rainy season continues from June to September in Ethiopia. In the mountainous regions of the country, in addition to the main rainy season, there is a short rainy season, which is characterized by less precipitation than the main one, and a shorter duration – about two months. The beginning of the short rainy season can fall between February and April. In mountainous areas at altitudes from 1500 to 2000 m, up to 700 mm of precipitation falls annually; at altitudes from 2000 to 2500 m – up to 1500 mm; at altitudes over 2500 m – up to 1800 mm. The lowlands of Ethiopia are arid, they receive less than 500 mm of precipitation per year, and the average annual rainfall in the Afar depression does not exceed 200 mm. The exception is the valley of the Baro River, which stretches in the west of Ethiopia near the border with Sudan. Due to the fact that air masses reach these places from the Atlantic Ocean,

Best time to visit: The best time to visit
Ethiopia is after the end of the rainy season between October and March.

Ethiopia Geography