Day 53 – Q 3. Briefly explain the geography of the horn of Africa. (15 Marks)

  • IASbaba
  • March 24, 2022
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GS 1, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing, World Geography
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3. Briefly explain the geography of the horn of Africa. (15 Marks)

अफ्रीका के सींग के भूगोल का संक्षेप में वर्णन कीजिए।


Candidates need to briefly explain the geography of the horn of Africa.


As the second-largest continent, Africa covers over 30 million square kilometers. Bordered by oceans and seas on nearly all sides, the continent has approximately 30,500 kilometers of coastline. In only one area does Africa border another continent by land, connecting to Asia via the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt. An isthmus is a narrow strip or small area of land connecting two larger landmasses. Bodies of water border an isthmus on two sides with land on the other two sides.

Horn of Africa 

Horn of Africa is a peninsula on the eastern coast of Africa that juts into the Arabian Sea and curves around the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula.  It is located to the east of the continent of Africa and south-west of the red sea and consists of four countries; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. 

The geography of the horn of Africa 

  • The Horn of African is a region that is recognized internationally as comprising Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. 
  • This region covers approximately 2 million square kilometers, with Ethiopia as the largest country, covering over half of the region’s area (1.1 million square kilometers). 
  • The region contains diverse land features, including the Somalian and Eritrean coast, Ogaden desert, and Ethiopian highlands. 
  • It has coastlines on the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. 
  • The Horn of Africa is separated from the Arabian Peninsula by the Bab el-Mandeb Strait (the strait connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden). 
  • Up to 18 million years ago, Yemen and the Horn were a single landmass. However, the Gulf of Aden’s rifting separated the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn region. 
  • Part of the region, particularly Somalia, sits on the Somali Plate, which also includes the neighbouring Madagascar Island.
  • The Horn’s arid lowlands contrast the wet Ethiopian mountains, which receive plenty of rain (over 2,000 mm) throughout the year. 
  • The lowlands are particularly dry because of the tropical monsoon effects. 
  • The tropical monsoons originate from the west, resulting in seasonal rains in Sudan and the Sahel. Thus, the monsoons’ moisture is lost before reaching Somaliland and Djibouti. The north-easterly winds, common during winter, provides rain only in Somalia’s mountainous areas.


The climate varies greatly by region, with lowland areas being hotter while plateaus experience a temperate climate. Addis Ababa experiences highs of 79 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The Danakil Desert is an arid region in southern Eritrea, north-eastern Ethiopia, and north-western Djibouti, covering approximately 100,000 square kilometers. It is one of the driest, hottest areas in the Horns, with daily temperatures reaching over 45 degrees Celsius.

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