Location and Geography of Sudan

The Sudan, in northeast Africa, is the largest country on the continent, measuring about one-fourth the size of the United States.

Its neighbors are Chad and the Central African Republic on the west, Egypt and Libya on the north, Ethiopia and Eritrea on the east, and Kenya, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of the Congo on the south.
The largest African country, The Sudan has an area that represents more than 8 percent of the African continent and almost 2 percent of the world's total land area.

Khartoum, the national capital, is located in the northern half of the country at the junction of the Blue and White Nile rivers.

The Red Sea washes about 500 mile of the eastern coast. It is traversed from north to south by the Nile, all of whose great tributaries are partly or entirely within its borders.

Sudan is mainly composed of vast plains and plateaus that are drained by the middle and upper Nile River and its tributaries.

This river system runs from south to north across the entire length of the east-central part of the country. The immense plain of which The Sudan is composed is bounded on the west by the Nile-Congo watershed and the highlands of Darfur and on the east by the Ethiopian Plateau and the Red Sea Hills (Atbay). This plain can be divided into a northern area of rock desert that is part of the Sahara; the western Qawz, an area of undulating sand dunes that merges northward into the rock desert; and a central and southern clay plain, the centre of which is occupied by an enormous swampy region known as As-Sudd (the Sudd).

Most of the northern Sudan is a sand- or gravel-covered desert, diversified by flat-topped mesas of Nubian sandstone and islandlike steep-sided granite hills. In the central Sudan the clay plain is marked by inselbergs (isolated hills rising abruptly from the plains), the largest group of which forms the Nuba Mountains (Jibal An-Nubah).

The western plain is composed primarily of Nubian sandstones, which form a dissected plateau region with flat-topped mesas and buttes. The volcanic highlands of the Marra Mountains rise out of the Darfur Plateau farther west to altitudes of between approximately 3,000 and 10,000 feet (900 and 3,000 metres) above sea level. These mountains form the Nile-Congo watershed and the western boundary of the central plain.

In the northeastern Sudan, the Red Sea Hills region is an uplifted escarpment. The scarp slope facing the Red Sea forms rugged hills that are deeply incised by streams. The escarpment overlooks a narrow coastal plain that is 10 to 25 miles (16 to 40 kilometres) wide and festooned with dunes and coral reefs. Farther south the eastern uplands constitute the foothills of the Ethiopian highland massif.

In the southern Sudan there are two contrasting upland areas. The Ironstone Plateau lies between the Nile-Congo watershed and the southern clay plain; its level country is marked with inselbergs. On the Uganda border there are massive ranges with peaks rising to more than 10,000 feet. The Imatong Mountains contain Mount Kinyeti.

Size: Total area 2,505,813 square kilometers; land area 2,376,000 square kilometers; coastline 716 kilometers; largest country in Africa.

Topography: Plateau and plains predominate. Mountainous areas behind Red Sea coast, in far south, and in far west. Only interior highlands of consequence are Nuba Mountains west of white Nile River. All significant streams flow to White Nile and Blue Nile rivers, which join just north of Khartoum to form River Nile. Extensive swamps in south, especially along Bahr al Ghazal (southernmost part of White Nile).

Climate: Rainfall ranges from rare and occasional in far northern desert to relatively abundant and frequent (rainy seasons of six to nine months) in southern third of Sudan. In most years central third has enough rain for agriculture but lack of rain in 1980s and 1991 has caused years of drought. Dust storms (often preceding rainstorms) common in north and northern parts of central Sudan, reducing visibility and causing much discomfort. Mean temperatures and daily maximums generally high; desert temperatures often quite cool at night.

Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008