Somalia Exploration Part III

By | December 15, 2021

At the end of the century Three other major expeditions took place in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the second Donaldson Smith expedition, which, aiming to connect Lake Rodolfo with the Nile, involves the Somali Peninsula only in the stretch from Berbera to Lake Rodolfo, mostly on routes already known; the Erlanger expedition (1899-1901) which descended from the Harar to the Uebi and touched Scec Hussein, then crossed the depression of the lakes as far as Burgi and fell back on Dolo and Chisimaio, collecting interesting materials and data, albeit largely on itineraries already known; finally the Du Bourg de Bozas expedition which left Harar in 1901 went down to the Errer and the Dacat at Imi, and divided into two groups, patrolled stretches of upper Juba and upper Uebi Scebeli up to its sources, and made then headed to Addis Ababa, to resume then,

The commission for the Italian-Ethiopian border (1910) directed for the Italian side by Captain C. Citerni, followed and took over the Harar-Monti di Laggio-Gobà-Ghigner-Dolo-Brava itinerary: the topographical observations on the border were interrupted after about 200 km., to the Jet wells.

In 1912 IN Dracopoli gave a description of the southern region of Oltregiuba, up to the Lorian swamps. For Somalia history, please check

These last voyages already had a primary purpose of research or of detailed surveys rather than of actual exploration, and this character was essentially the voyage of G. Stefanini and G. Paoli in southern Somalia (1913), that of V. Tedesco Zammarano in the Balli region (1921-22), that of Wyllie and Smellie in British Somalia (1923), that of Glenday in Oltregiuba, etc. Mostly new itineraries were instead traveled in 1924 by G. Stefanini, N. Puccioni and E. Coronaro in Migiurtinia, first following the coastal path Hafun-Eil, already crossed in the opposite direction by Robecchi Bricchetti, and by Ehil going up the lower Nogal up to Taleh, from where for Boran and Carin the travelers went down to the sea at Bender Cassim. In 1929-30 an Italian mission, headed by E. Cerulli, and a British mission, headed by Colonel JH Stafford, having the task of delimiting the Italian-British border in Somalia, they traveled the entire area between the Gulf of Aden and the Ogaden limits, surveying the whole region with two squadrons of airplanes, for aerial photogrammetry. This was the first border between two states entirely detected by aviation. The Migiurtinia was then, with mining purposes, crossed by the engineers Gerbella and Felsenhart in 1929.

The voyage of HRH the Duke of Abruzzi took on a character of great exploration in 1928. Departing from Hadama on the Djibouti railway, the expedition penetrated the Arussi and headed directly to the sources of the Uebi Scebeli, which were identified like those close to the Ueb (Uebi Gestro). From here the Uebi Scebeli was followed almost continuously and surveyed with great care like its right tributaries, up to the border of Italian Somalia.

With this great journey, the series of explorations of the Somali Peninsula ends, the knowledge of which is largely due to the work of Italian travelers.

Physical. – Somalia, as a whole, looks like a very vast plateau, arranged obliquely to the SE. of the Ethiopian plateau, which it partly faces with its steeper escarpment, being separated from it precisely by that depression of the Hauasc and the Galla lakes, which we have considered as the natural limit of the region, while in its eastern part this escarpment first overhangs the area depressed Aussa, further on to the Gulf of Aden, of which it forms the southern coast, finally continuing in the relief of the Socotra Island and the smaller Samha and Abd el Kuri, which emerge from the Indian Ocean to the east of Cape Guardafui, and geographically they belong to Somalia. The highest elevations are arranged at the top of this western escarpment, which is steep, in echelons, and exceeds 3000 m. in the Giam Giam and Burgi Mountains, they approach 4000 m. with the Sidamo Mountains (M. Cillalo, 3655 m; M. Cocca, 3820 m) in the upper Uabi and with the Laggio and Bale mountains on the right of this river; they reach 3256 m. with the Fagogi Mountains, the 1569 in the Cialanco, the 2896 in the Kundudo which dominates the city of Harar; in the Golis from which the Nogal originates, in the Uagar, in the Surur Ad, they remain around 2000 meters, they barely reach 1590 in the Ahl Medò, they date back to over 2000 in the Ahl Mescad (Bogor, 2590 meters) and they decrease again as they approach the Guardafui (M. Hoda, 1400 m; Ahl, 600 m). Socotra however emerges with Mount Dryat at 1500 m. it’s more. From this more or less bumpy ridge the plateau declines, as a whole, very gently, towards SSE., That is towards the Indian Ocean: in the southern part the plateau submerges under a thick eluvium-alluvial blanket, due to the deposits of Tana, Giuba and Uebi Scebeli, forming a vast coastal plain bordered by powerful dunes and an almost straight sandy coast; further north the plateau approaches the sea and ends, at N. di Obbia, with being truncated by marine erosion, which determines the formation of a slightly rugged coast and a limestone or arenaceous cliff, overlooking the sea, of height increasing as you proceed towards Ras Hafun. On the coast of the Gulf of Aden, whose course is largely due to geological fractures, stretches in which the plateau looms over the sea alternate, as near Durbo, in Mahet, in Ras Ganzir, and depressed stretches, in which more or the less he moves away from it.

Somalia Exploration Part III