The NABCS focuses on the North African countries where work can be done under the current political and security conditions. With modifications, this can be expanded or shrunk. In addition, we will of course take the necessary steps to support local initiatives. The description for each country offers you an impression of our geographic area.
The name Morocco (a corruption of Maghreb by not Arabs) is so named because it was at the far western region of the Islamic Empire. The name can be confusing because the whole of North Africa was (and still is) named as "Maghreb". Therefore Morocco is even called Maghreb al Aqsa (the Far West) called.
Morocco is a large, elongated country with an area of 446.550 sq km of which 250 sq km of water. It is bordered to the east by Algeria, and in the southeast by Mauritania. In addition, unexpectedly also to Spain through the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. In the north and west lays the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. With a coastline of over 1,800 km
A country that runs from the ocean to the Sahara knows extremes in climate, which certainly applies to Morocco. By region, the climate can vary. In the best residential area, it has a Mediterranean climate. The positioning of the Atlas Mountains is decisive for rain. At the ocean and Mediterranean side, moist air is pushed up. Resulting in a lot of rains. The Atlas Mountains, forcing clouds to rise, causes them to empty the rain on the Mediterranean seafront side. photo: Dick Klees Which translates into successful use of land for agriculture and livestock. The other side of the mountains, called the rain shadow is mostly dry. Some valleys are there still suitable for agriculture, drought then determines the landscape. With extensive stone deserts and a few oases.
As a result of the climate division through the Atlas Mountains, the population shows a similar picture. Most people live on the western side of the Atlas. The Sahara side is sporadic inhabited. Casablanca is the largest port and an industrial and commercial center. The port city of Tangier provides contact with Europe. The city of Fez is cultural and religious leader, and Rabat serves as the seat of government, both of them are 'capitals' of their kind. For tourists, Marrakesh and Agadir are the undisputed attractions of Morocco. The Moroccan population is growing rapidly, from 3.8 million in a spacious century period (1900-2010) to 32 million. That's roughly eight times as much! The projections to 2050 will still assume growth. Morocco stands after Egypt and Algeria at the third place, of the most dense populated Arab countries. In education Morocco still has a heavy task. To reach a 100% literacy a broad-third of men and more than half of the women needs to receive education.
Algeria after the division of Sudan is now the largest country in Africa. With over 2,000,000 km². Expressed in our own countries is approximately 57 times the Netherlands or 78 times Belgium. The country is bordered to the north by the Mediterranean Sea with 1000 km coastline. In the west, Morocco and Mauritania. In the south of Mali and Niger and in the east to Tunesia and Libya.
Algeria is geographically divided into two parts, the fertile north along the Mediterranean sea and the much larger but empty south of the Sahara. The northern area is part of the so-called Maghreb. And by far the most densely populated. This can be divided even further into four zones approximately parallel at the coastline.
Beginning in the north, a narrow strip of lowlands along the Mediterranean coast. Then follows the Atlas Mountains, with still a Mediterranean climate and abundant rainfall, thereby very fertile. Highest peak is around 2300 meters and due to the coastal location, in winter also a lot of snow: up to 4 m in the Babor mountain
A sparsely populated, sparsely covered plateau (about 1000 m) with some salt lakes, where mostly shepherds with their sheep roam
Saharan Atlas, also sparsely vegetated mountains up to 2,300 meters and mainly used to feed goats and sheep.
Northern Algeria is regularly hit by earthquakes, with direct implications for humans because this region is densely populated.
The Sahara is highest to the south. Highest peak in Ahaggar is 2918 meter with many other summits in the vicinity of around 2000 meters, but on average below 500 meters. It is a sparsely populated area what is badly covered with little vegetation. The bedding is stony, rocks, pebbles or gravel, most of the time barren and dry. In the south and east, there are also large areas of sand dunes.
The Mediterranean is known for subtropical dry hot summer and mild, wet winters. The high plateaus have a steppe climate with in the summer chance of a Sahara treat, a sirocco. (a stifling hot wind) South of the plateau begins the real desert. Dry and bright with huge radiation and considerable differences in day and night temperatures. The coast usually has an abundant rainfall, which increases towards the northeast. And reaches into the small Atlas. Further south in the interior the rainfall drops rapidly. Under the influence of the prevailing wind of the seasons a significant differences occurs. In summer, the wind tends to east and northeast. In winter the western and northern winds dominate and causes an increase in rainfall in the autumn. This takes off during the spring and summer is usually pure dry.
With nearly 39 million inhabitants, due to the immense size of the country, its population density is still low. About 15 inhabitants per square kilometer. The population consists mostly of Arabs by 84%. The second group is formed by the Berber by 15%. The other residents, including Europeans occupies only 1%. Arabic and French are the languages, in addition, one fifth of the population speaks one of the Berber languages. Islam is the official religion to which almost everyone belongs.
For Europeans, Tunisia has mainly sense as a holiday destination. Djerba Island and coastal towns like Hammamet, Port El Kantaoui and Sousse, have undergone a transformation, which we also elsewhere along the Mediterranean have seen unfold. A coastline with flats. Hotels and apartments, as close to the beach as possible. The main part of a tourist residence is set in a small area, a sort of triangle between the beach, restaurant and sleeping. The early European tourists, like the Romans, went further into the country and even built an impressive amphitheater, whose remains at El Jem are still be admired. Closer to the capital Tunis, lie the remains of Carthage. Once capital of the Carthaginian empire, occupied by Romans and destroyed, but then still rebuilt. And now an archeological site. Tunisia is compared with its neighbors a small country. But in possession of very different landscapes.
Tunisia lies on the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria to the west and Libya to the south. The land is approximately four times the Netherlands and five times Belgium with an area of 163,600 square kilometers
The varied landscape consists of a coastal strip in the north and east, and measures about 1200 km long. Here you will find beautiful sandy beaches and bays. In the west and northwest is a mountain range ending at Cape Bon in the northeast. The central highlands, starting from Algeria in the west, runs gradually down to the east. With a highest peak, just above the 1500 meters. The southern coastal plain consists of fertile, undulating landscape. Planted with olive trees. West of this is a less fertile steppe area, overgrown with grasses, dry river beds and salt lakes. Further south the Sahara begins with stone deserts and salt lakes again and oases with palm trees. Further south becoming dry sand.
The climate can be divided into three types. North of the mountains and along the coasts dominates the Mediterranean climate. With most rain fall, even more than in the Netherlands. Behind the mountains it is getting drier and starts a steppe climate, containing most of the countries interior. To the south it becomes a hot and dry desert climate. With temperatures up to 50 ° C .Frost is hardly known, only in the northern, higher mountains have sometimes snow fall.
Tunisia has over 10 million inhabitants, today especially Arabs, which have been mixed with the Berbers. Traditionally, large groups of Jews and descendants of several Europeans lived here. After 1956 the population declined sharply. After the reforms in 2011, Tunisia recieved a parliamentary democracy. The religion is Islamic, with some minor other religions. The population is growing. Especially young people move to the cities and leave behind an aging countryside.
The Atlas Mountains are crucial for north Africa, it runs from west to east through the Maghreb countries, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It is a mountain-range of about 2500 km long. The origin must be sought in the tectonic operation between African and Euro-Asian plate. At the interface this leads to folding of the rocks, resulting in the Atlas Mountains, pushed upwards south of the Mediterranean. Untill hights over 4000 meters. Peaks with permanent snow in Africa! Such folded mountains therefore consists of easy tandem folds. Those folds we call mountain-ranges.
This exhibit enough variation and therefore be divided and marked with multiple names for a better local understanding. From west to east we come against various names. Beginning in Morocco is that Anti-Atlas, High Atlas and Middle Atlas. In the direction of Algeria distinguish one additional the small or Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas. Arriving in Tunisia, it becomes the Dorsal Tunisienne. The RIF Mountains in Morocco is, moreover, not included in the Atlas, but for us certainly just as interesting.
Our extra attention for the Atlas mountains, is caused by the fact that mountains, by their lesser negotiability often escape from intensive human activities. And that animals often provides the opportunity for such sites to evade negative human influences. Thus mountains are able to function as refuges (refugia) for animals not to die during a difficult period, but sometimes only possible in very small surviving numbers.
Our hope and attention is therefore surely the more wild, thin or not established populated parts of the atlas, when it comes to rare species like leopard or panther, serval and caracal. But otters or striped hyena as well. The Atlas Mountains, is home for the only ape from north Africa. The Barbary Macaque, a macaque, who lives in the cedar forests of the Middle Atlas and the oak forests of central North Algeria to 2000 meters . This is the kind that the British have transfered to the island of Gibraltar in groups. And for many tourists he is better known from Gibralter than of his own forests.