Africa > Central Africa > Congo Brazzaville > Congo Brazzaville Geography Profile

Congo Brazzaville: Congo Brazzaville Geography Profile

2016/05/29

Location, size, and extent

Lying astride the Equator, the Republic of the Congo contains an area of about 342,000 sq km (132,047 sq mi), extending approximately 1,287 km (798 mi) NNE – SSW and 402 km (249 mi) ESE – WNW . Comparatively, the area occupied by the Congo is slightly smaller than the national of Montana. It is bounded on the N by Cameroon and the Central African Republic, on the E and S by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DROC— formerly Zaire), on the SW by Cabinda (an enclave of Angola) and the Atlantic Ocean, and on the W by Gabon, with a total land boundary length of 5,504 km (3,413 mi) and a coastline of 169 km (105 mi).

The Congo's capital city, Brazzaville, is located in the southeastern part of the country.

Topography

The Congo is roughly divided into four topographical regions. The coastal region consists of a low, relatively treeless plain, with occasional high spurs jutting down from the Mayombé Escarpment. The escarpment region is made up of a series of parallel folds of moderate height (600–900 m/2,000–3,000 ft) that are almost completely forested.

To the east and north of the escarpment, and forming the watershed between the Niari and Ogooué river systems, lies the plateau region, with savanna covering additional than 129,000 sq km (50,000 sq mi) and separating the Zaire and Ogooué basins. The northeastern region of the country is a swampy lowland covering some 155,000 sq km (60,000 sq mi); flooding is seasonal, with different tributaries of the Congo/Zaire overflowing into one an extra.

The country has two river systems: that of the coastal rivers, which flow into the Kouilou River, and that of the Zaire River and its tributaries.

Climate

The Congo has a tropical climate characterized by high humidity and heat. There are two wet and two dry seasons. At Brazzaville, in the south, the average daily maximum temperature is 30° C (86° F ) and the average minimum temperature 20° C (68° F ). At Souanké, in the far north, the extremes are 29° C (84° F ) and 18° C (64° F ). Annual rainfall varies from 105 cm (41 in) at Pointe-Noire, in the southwest, to 185 cm (73 in) at Impfondo, in the northeast.

Environment

The majority significant environmental problems in the Congo are deforestation, increases in urban people, and the protection of its wildlife. The Congo's forests are endangered by fires set to clean the land for agricultural purposes. The forests are as well used as a source of fuel. The majority accessible forest, that of the Kouilou-Mayombé Mountains, has been overexploited. During 1981-85, deforestation in the Congo proceeded at a rate of 22,000 hectares (54,400 acres) a year. As of 2000, the Congo had nine protected areas, covering some 1.5 million hectares. The two major, the 7,800-sq-km (3,000-sq-mi) Léfini Reserve and the 2,600-sq-km (1,000-sq-mi) Odzala National Park, were established during the French colonial era. The country has one Wetland of International Importance at the Lake Télé Reserve All, 4.5% of the country's natural areas were protected as of 2000.

The Congo's urban centers are hampered by air pollution from vehicles and water pollution from sewage. Its water purity problem is most apparent in rural areas where, as of 2000, only 51% of the people have safe drinking water.

As well as of 2000, ten of 200 species of mammals were endangered as were three of 449 species of birds. In addition, two reptile species and two plant types were threatened with extinction.

Location: 

Western Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon

Geographic coordinates: 

1 00 S, 15 00 E

Map references: 

Africa

Area comparative: 

slightly smaller than Montana

Land boundaries Total: 

5,504 km

Land boundaries Note: 

Climate: 

tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator

Terrain: 

coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin

Natural resources: 

petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower

Natural hazards: 

seasonal flooding

Environment - current issues: 

air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from the dumping of raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation

Geography note: 

about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them