Geography of Egypt
Roughly Egyptian territory has an almost square shape and is touched by the northern tropic. The landscape alternates between the northern coastal landscape characterized by steppe or thorn savannah, deserts, semi-deserts, many oases, sea areas and the river landscape of the Nile. Next to the Suez Canal from Port Said to Port Taufiq near Suez is the Nile the main artery of Egypt. Its source river, the most distant source river from its mouth, the 24,000 km² Nile Delta, is the Kagera, which rises in the mountainous region of Burundi. The stream has a length of about 6852 km and reaches its natural river bed in Egypt after Aswan after the Aswan dam. Apart from a few oases and small harbors on the coasts, its water and fertile riparian regions alone provide the basis for cultivation and settlement. This area makes up about five percent of the territory.
The national territory can be divided into seven natural areas:
in the extreme south is the section of the Nile Valley between Abu Simbel and Aswan, which is part of Nubia and Upper Egypt, and is now occupied by Lake Nasser. In the further course the Nile cut itself box-shaped into the limestone table of the desert. From the exit of the river from Lake Nasser to Cairo, the Nile Valley forms a fertile river oasis up to 25 km wide.
Read more about the sights of Aswan
In Lower Egypt, north of Cairo, the Nile divides into two main estuaries between Rosette and Damiette and forms a 23,000 km², intensively cultivated delta landscape made of deposited Nile mud, crisscrossed by countless smaller estuaries, canals and irrigation systems.
The Libyan Desert, located west of the Nile, occupies around two thirds of the Egyptian state as a wide, flat stratified plateau. In its north lies the relatively low Libyan plateau, which in Egypt reaches a height of up to 241 m. To the south-east of it, the terrain in the Qattara depression filled with salt marshes descends to 133 m below sea level, in the south-west the desert rises to 1098 m. Incidentally, only individual basins and lowlands with the oases of Siwa, Bahariyya, Farafra, Dachla and Charga interrupt the approximately 1000 km long sand and dune landscape from north to south. Around 100 km southwest of Cairo is the 1827 km² Fayyum Basin, a basin-like oasis landscape in the northern part of which is 230 km² Lake Qarun.
In contrast, the Arabian desert east of the Nile is dominated by a mountain range heavily furrowed by wadis, which in the middle section reaches more than 2000 m in height. The Arabian Desert is the western section of a bulging zone, the central part of which collapsed in the Tertiary and today forms the over 1000 m deep trench of the Red Sea. This, in turn, is part of the Syrian-African trench system.
The bulging zone continues on the Sinai Peninsula. The highest mountain in Egypt rises here with the Jabal Katrina (Katharinenberg) (2637 m). The Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba flow around the peninsula from the west, south and east. The 162 km Suez Canal connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
Apart from the Nile Delta, mostly flat dunes line the Egyptian Mediterranean coast. In contrast, the coastal areas on the Red Sea are more rugged – the mountain ranges often reach close to the sea. Due to the high water temperature, coral reefs are often upstream.