Situated at the northeastern corner of Africa, Egypt is bordered on
the north by the Mediterranean Sea, in the east by Israel and the Red Sea, in
the south by Sudan and to the west by Libya.
The altitude of Egypt ranges from 132 m (436 ft) below sea level in the
Libyan Desert to about 2,629 m (8,600ft) at Mount Catherine in the Sinai
Pennisula. The Nile delta is a broad alluvial land, sloping to the sea for 100
miles with a 155 mile maritime front between Alexandria and Port Said. south of
Cairo. Most of the country (known as Upper Egypt) is a tableland rising to some
457m (1,500 ft) and the narrow valley of the Nile is enclosed by cliffs as high
as 548m (1,800 ft). A series of cascades and rapids at Aswan, known as the First
Cataract, forms a barrier to movement upstream.
The bulk of the country is covered by the Sahara, which north of Aswan is
usually called the Libyan Desert, East of the Nile, the Arabian Desert extends
to the Red Sea. The Western Desert consists of low-lying sand dunes and many
depressions. The outstanding geographical feature is the Nile River, on which
human existence depends for its annual floods provide the water necessary for