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Ethiopia: from the highlands of the Rift Valley to Danakil

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Ethiopia (Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia) is an East African republic which, after the independence of Eritrea, has no outlet to the sea. The country is bordered by Sudan to the west, Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Somalia, Kenya, and South Sudan to the south. The main city and capital of the country is Addis Ababa, a city of over 3 million inhabitants.


Ethiopia has a geographically very diverse territory, it is in fact crossed by the Great Rift Valley, which divides the country into two parts. To the west is the Ethiopian acrocoro, a vast plateau with an average height varying between 1,300 and 3,000 meters. While to the east the plateaus drop significantly to the Somali plains.

The highest mountains of Ethiopia are located in the north of the country, in the Semien mountain range. Here there are peaks that exceed 4,000 meters in height, such as Mount Biuat (4,437 m), Abba Yared (4,460 m) and Ras Dashan (4,543 m) which is the highest mountain in Ethiopia. Also in the south of the country in the Bale mountain range, they exceed 4,000 meters in height with the Tullu Demtu (4,337 m) and Batu (4,307 m) mountains.


Ethiopia is rich in lakes formed due to the volcanic upheavals along the Great Rift Valley. The largest lake in the country is Lake Tana (3,000-3,500 km²) which is located at a height of around 1,800 meters.

South of Addis Ababa, in southern Ethiopia, there are other lakes, the most important of which are: Lake Ziway (485 km²), Lake Langano (230 km²), Lake Abijata (205 km²), Lake Shala ( 329 km²), Lake Awasa (129 km²), Lake Abaya or Lake Margherita (1162 km²), Lake Koka (250 km²), and Lake Chamo (551 km²). Finally, a small part of Lake Turkana (6,405 km², of which, however, only a small part in Ethiopia), on the border with Kenya, is in Ethiopian territory.

There are numerous rivers that cross the Ethiopian plateau. These include the Blue Nile, which comes from Lake Tana, the Tacazzè, the Atbara, the Omo.


Ethiopia’s economy is poor and backward, the most important sectors are cattle breeding (cattle, sheep and goats) and agriculture that produces coffee, cotton, peanuts, corn, tobacco and sugar cane. The resources of the subsoil are scarce and little known, the industry which is limited to a few plants in the capital, is mainly textile and food.

The climate of Ethiopia.

  • Area: 1,130,139 km². (Arative 10%, Meadows and Pastures 18%, Forests and Woods 12%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 60%)
  • Population: 109,200,000 (update 2018) Oromo or Galla 34%, Amhara 27%, Tigrayans 6%, Somali 6%, Sidama 4%.
  • Capital: Addis Ababa.
  • Languages: Amaric is the official language. Talk to Oromo and Tigrinya.
  • Religion: Christians 63% (Orthodox Christians 43%, Protestants 19%, Catholics1%), Muslims 34%, Traditional beliefs 2%.
  • Currency: Ethiopian Birr (ETB)
  • Time zone: UTC + 3.

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