Algeria is in North Africa, on the Mediterranean between Morocco and Tunisia, at 28ºN 3ºE. With a surface area of 2,381,740 km2, Algeria is Africa’s second largest nation after Sudan. The territory includes high plains and desert, mountains and a narrow, uneven coastal plain. 85% of the Algerian territory is occupied by the Saharan desert, the rest being the Tell region in the north, the only part that can be cultivated so this is where most of the population lives.
The country is crossed by several mountain ranges. The first is the Tell Atlas, a prolongation of the Moroccan High Atlas range, which stretches across the north of the country as far as Tunisia. This is not an unbroken chain, but several different ranges, so does not constitute an impenetrable barrier. In this area there are some wonderful mountain landscapes, especially at Kabylia to the east of Algiers. South of the Atlas are the high plains, and yet further south is the Saharan Atlas range, the last before the Saharan desert.
Rainfall is between 1000mm per year in the Kabylia region to practically zero in some parts of the Sahara. In fact, some of the Sahara cities may have to wait for up to 20 years to see any rain at all. Temperatures vary between an average of 32ºC in the north (summer) to 45-50ºC in the Sahara. These adverse climate conditions determine the country’s diverse vegetation.