Introduction

The Republic of Somaliland is situated in the Horn of Africa with boundaries defined by the Gulf of Aden in the North, Somalia in the East and Southeast, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia in the South and West, and the Republic of Djibouti to the Northwest.

Somaliland consists of three topographic zones: coastal plain (Guban), mountain range (Oogo) and plateau (Hawd). The coastal plain “Guban” is between the sea and the mountain range known as “Golis”. This is a narrow and dry strip of land along the coast and is very hot hence the name `Guban’, meaning “the burnt” in Somali. Guban gets narrower towards the East and wider towards the West. The Golis range (Oogo) is the escarpment south of Guban zone and runs along the coastal lines in the North of the country, where the highest peak known as Surad rises up to 2,633 m (7000 ft) above sea level. The Golis Mountains extend from Ethiopia in the West to Sanaag region in the East. There are no perennial rivers in Somaliland; however there are many ephemeral wadis (togs), or dry river beds. These river beds are dry most of the year but are filled with water during the rainy seasons of Gu and Deyr.

Somaliland’s isohyets map indicates that the mean annual rainfall varies from 150 mm in the narrow coastal fringe in the north known as `Guban’ to 500 mm in some South-West areas and in parts of the Golis range of the country. In terms of temperature, there is a great variability depending, generally, on the altitude of the area. The mean annual temperature ranges from 18o C in the higher escarpment of the Golis to 31o C in the northern coastal towns such as Berbera and Zeila. The mean temperature during the summer (Hagaa) is between 34o C and 38o C, the highest recorded temperature being close to 48o C. The mean winter (jiilaal) temperature varies from 15o C to 24o C, and the lowest temperature recorded is -2o C in Erigabo near the Surad Mountain.

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