The modern Port of Damietta is primarily an industrial center, although it is growing in popularity with residents of Cairo who seek a refuge from the busy tourist traffic in northern Egypt. The Port of Damietta lies on narrow strip between the River Nile and Lake Manzala about 210 kilometers (131 miles) northeast of Cairo. The City of Damietta is about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Port of Damietta has a hot desert climate where the sun shines throughout the year. It is hot all year and can be exceptionally hot during the summer. As is common in desert climates, temperatures at night can drop dramatically. Temperatures in the Port of Damietta range from an average high of 31°C (88°F) in July and August to an average low of 12°C (53°F) in January. Rainfall is negligible in the Port of Damietta with no rain falling in June through September. Rainfall peaks in January with an average of ten millimeters.
The huge Lake el Manzala to the southeast of the Port of Damietta stretches all the way to Port Said. During the winter, Lake Manzala hosts a wide range of migratory birds that include flamingoes, herons, spoonbills, storks, and pelicans. It is the biggest of Egypt's deltaic lakes, being 47 kilometers (29.2 miles) long and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) wide. Although it is large, Lake Manzala is shallow with natural depths of no more than 1.5 meters (five feet). Lake Manzala is an important source of fish, but draining efforts to create agricultural lands have reduced its size by 80% in the latter 20th Century.