Sudan: Geography and Environment

Kara Schmidt

    Sudan is the largest country; land wise, in Africa, 967,000 square miles. It shares a border with nine countries, Egypt, Libya, Chad, Central African Republic, Zaire, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda. Sudan has four major regions, The Northern Desert, The Semi-Arid Central Region, The Sudd, and The Tropical South. The Nile is the main river in Sudan and around half the population lives along it.

    The Northern Desert is growing larger every year. It is from the border of Egypt to Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, covering about 30% of Sudan. The temperature can go as high as 120 degrees with only 0-4 inches of rain each year. This part of Sudan is not highly populated. The environment is very extreme and they get very severe sandstorms, haboobs.

    The Semi-Arid Central Region is also known as the Sahel Region. It is composed of short grasses, scrub trees, and crops that need little water. In the eastern Sahel crops are grown and in the western Sahel they raise herds of animals. This region also gets very severe haboobs. The average annual rainfall is about 8-30 inches. The people that live there are mostly nomadic and semi-nomadic. The crops that are grown are sorghum, millet, peanuts, sesame seeds, wheat, and cotton.

    The Sudd, Arabic for barrier, is in the central-southern region. The Sudd was created by the Nile. It was used as a barrier to keep away invaders from the North. There is a warm climate there year round. Reeds, papyrus and water plants are all grown there and severe floods destroy many of the crops and homes. Crocodiles and hippos are highly populated in this area. There are many mosquitoes and tsetse flies found in the Sudd that are carrying diseases.

    The region right below The Sudd is the Tropical South, a tropical rainforest. It covers about 25% of Sudan, 250,000 square miles. This is where most of the important crops are grown. Many rivers and streams go through this area bringing with crocodiles, fish, and hippos. This area gets around 30-60 inches of rain a year and it is one of the best places to grow crops.

    There are a couple mountain ranges in Sudan and Mount Kinyeti has the highest point of 10,456 feet. Mount Kinyeti borders Uganda. The Nuba Mountains are 3,000 feet high and contain lots of granite. The Red Sea Hills have lots of nice timber, teak, mahogany, and eucalyptus. The Red Sea Hills also contain lots of gold.

    The Nile is the most important river in Sudan. The other important rivers are the White Nile that goes through the Sudd and meets with the Blue Nile in Khartoum.

Two critically endangered species are the Addax and the African Wild Ass. The Addax is gray/grown in the winter and sandy/white in the summer. It is the most desert-adapted antelope. It is found in the dune regions of the Sahara. The reason for being endangered is because of hunting and drought. The African Wild Ass is gray and even though it is adapted to desert life it still needs water. The African Wild Ass is a nocturnal animal and is one of the World’s most rare mammals. The reason for it being endangered is because of hunting, and breeding with a different species of donkey.

There are many environmental issues in Sudan. They are inadequate supply of water, excessive hunting, soil erosion, desertification, and periodic drought. There is not enough pure water to go around to drink and having a drought makes that issue even worse. Excessive hunting is threatening a lot of wildlife populations. “Soil erosion is defined as the removal of soil by water, wind, deforestation, overgrazing, and desertification. Desertification is the spread of desert like conditions in arid and semi-arid areas due to overgrazing, loss agriculturally productive soils, and climate change.” (CIA World Fact book) 


Salome Nnoromele, Sudan: Northern Nations of the World, Lucent Books 2004.
This book helped me find information about the four major types of regions in Sudan, Northern Desert, Semi-Arid Central, The Sudd, and Tropical South.

John Middleton, Africa Volume 4, Gale Group.
This book helped me find information on the rivers and mountains found through out Sudan.

Paul Massicot, Animal Info-Sudan,
This website helped me find information on the animals that are going extinct in Sudan.

CIA World Factbook, Sudan Environment-Current Issues,
    This website helped me find information on the current issues that Sudan is struggling with.

last updated by: Kara Schmidt May 22, 2009