Desert by the Sea

If you walked through the Eritrean Coastal Desert, chances are good that you'd think you were in a barren landscape where few species could survive. Sandy or gravelly plains, an occasional rocky outcrop, and scattered salt-loving grasses and shrubs would be all you'd view in the landscape around you. But amazingly enough, even this terrain supports some interesting wildlife species, including gazelles, sea turtles, and huge numbers of migrating birds of prey.


Special Features

This ecoregion, which stretches along the coast of Eritrea and Djibouti where they border the Red Sea, lies along the flyway of one of the largest migrations of raptors in the world. The climate is hot and dry. An average of less than 4 inches (100 mm) of rain falls in the region, and average low temperatures are the highest in Africa--about 80° F (27° C). Sparse grasses and shrubs grow on most of this flat terrain. Sandy beaches lead to a few sheltered creeks on the coast, which are fringed with mangrove trees.

Eritrean coastal desert (AT1304)

Satellite view of the southern Eritrean coast, Djibouti and Yemen -Photograph by USGS