Diverse Terrain in Ethiopia and Somalia – November 19th, 2008
In this clear image of part of Africa, we can see Ethiopia and Somalia. The Shebelle River (meaning Leopard/Tiger River in the Somali language) runs through those two countries, to the Indian Ocean, visible in the lower right corner.
The Shebelle is 1130 kilometers long, extending for 1000 kilometers inside Ethiopia and 130 inside Somalia. It begins in the highlands of Ethiopia, and then flows southeast into Somalia towards Mogadishu. Near Mogadishu it turns sharply southwest, where it follows the coast.
Below Mogadishu the river becomes seasonal. Most years the river dries up near the mouth of the Jubba River, while in seasons of heavy rainfall the river actually reaches the Jubba and thus the Indian Ocean.
In our image, taken after the end of the rainy season, the river appears to be drying up near the Indian Ocean, though it is still plainly visible further inland.
In the image we can also observe the great diversity of terrain in Ethiopia, from the red deserts on the eastern border, to the green tropical forests to the southwest.
There is a massive highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs generally southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert.