East Africa


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East Africa

a region of Africa comprising Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania

East Africa

 

a natural land area encompassing the eastern part of Africa in the equatorial and subequatorial latitudes between the Ethiopian Plateau in the north, the Congo depression in the west, the lower course of the Zambezi River in the south, and the Indian Ocean in the east.

Kenya, Uganda, Ruanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique are completely or partially within the boundaries of East Africa. Almost the entire territory of East Africa (with the exception of the narrow belt of the coastal lowlands of the Indian Ocean) is composed of the anticlinal-block East African highlands, with elevations of more than 1,000 m; it is broken by tectonic fractures. There is an alternation in the topography among elevated socle planes, deep and narrow fault troughs, fault scarps of great length, block mountains, lava plateaus, and isolated volcanic cones. The continent’s three highest peaks—the extinct volcanoes Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) and Kenya (5,199 m) and the crystalline horst Ruwenzori (5,109 m)—are located in East Africa. The region has an equatorial-monsoon, hot (warm at altitudes above 1,500-2,000 m), and seasonally humid climate. The East African highlands acts as a divide between the basins of the Nile, Congo, and Zambezi and a number of less important rivers that empty into the Indian Ocean; there are territories without drainage (in certain closed fault troughs). The most important element in the hydrographic system consists of the large lakes that lie in the fault troughs (Tanganyika, Nyasa, Rudolf, and others) or in shallow depressions in the socle plains (Lake Victoria and others). Various types of savannas and sparse forsts are predominant in vegetation; in the mountains there is altitudinal zonality of vegetation (mountain-forest, Afro-Subalpine, and Afro-Alpine belts). The animal population is extremely abundant and varied (especially the large mammals) and is characteristic in its composition of the East African subregion of the Ethiopian zoographic region.

I. N. OLEINIKOV

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