Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

Somalia and Djibouti

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_182


The Somali coast is about 3,200 km long, of which 2,100 km face southeast to the Indian Ocean and 1,100 km face north to the Gulf of Aden. The coast has a few natural harbours, is fronted for much of its length by coral reefs and is backed throughout by desert or dunes. Coastal access is thus difficult, and understanding of coastal features remains limited.1

The coast may be divided into three zones. First, from Raas Jumbo on the Kenya border (1°39’ S, 41°36’ E) to near Gifle (7°28’ N, 49°40’ E), the 1,500 km generally low coast is backed by massive Quaternary dunes and fronted by coral reefs. Second, from Gifle to Ras Asir (11°49’ N, 51°15’ E), the 600 km coast is 100–300 m high and often steeply cliffed, for example on Ras Hafun (10°27’ N, 51°24’ E), Africa’s easternmost point. Third, from Ras Asir to the Djibouti border west of Seylac (11°15’ N, 43°30’ E), the guban (sunburnt plain) coast along the Gulf of Aden is partly cliffed, and partly backed by alluvial plains,...


Coral Reef Reef Flat Coastal Dune Marine Terrace Mangrove Vegetation 
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  1. Mason JE (1962) The area North of Hargeisa and Lageruf. Somali Republic Geological Survey Report 7Google Scholar
  2. Orme AR (1982) Field observations along the Somali Coast. Depart­ment of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, pp 1981–1982Google Scholar
  3. Pardi L (1976) Researches on the Somali coast: shore and dune of Sar Uarle. Monit Zool Ital 5:179–193Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010