Geography of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is by the Congo River Basin, which covers an area of almost 1,000,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi). The country's only outlet to the Atlantic Ocean is a narrow strip of land on the north bank of the Congo River.
The vast, low-lying central area is a basin-shaped plateau sloping toward the west, covered by tropical rainforest and criss-crossed by rivers, a large area of this has been categorized by the World Wildlife Fund as the Central Congolian lowland forests ecoregion. The forest center is surrounded by mountainous terraces in the west, plateaus merging into savannas in the south and southwest.
Dense grasslands extend beyond the Congo River in the north. High mountains of the Ruwenzori Range (some above 5,000 m or 16,000 ft) are found on the eastern borders with Rwanda and Uganda (see Albertine Rift montane forests for a description of this area).
The Democratic Republic of the Congo lies on the Equator, with one-third of the country to the north and two-thirds to the south. The climate is hot and humid in the river basin and cool and dry in the southern highlands, with a cold, alpine climate in the Ruwenzori Range.
South of the Equator, the rainy season lasts from October to May and north of the Equator, from April to November. Along the Equator, rainfall is fairly regular throughout the year. During the wet season, thunderstorms often are violent but seldom last more than a few hours. The average rainfall for the entire country is about 1,070 mm (42 in).
Map references: Africa
total: 2,345,410 km2
land: 2,267,600 km2
water: 77,810 km2
Area - comparative: slightly less than one-fourth the size of the US
total: 10,744 km
border countries: Angola 2,511 km, Burundi 233 km, Central African Republic 1,577 km, Republic of the Congo 2,410 km, Rwanda 217 km, South Sudan 628 km, Tanzania 473 km, Uganda 765 km, Zambia 1,930 km
Coastline: 37 km (23 mi).
exclusive economic zone: boundaries with neighbors
territorial sea: 12 nmi (22 km)
Climate: tropical; hot and humid in equatorial river basin; cooler and drier in southern highlands; cooler-cold and wetter in eastern highlands and the Ruwenzori Range; north of Equator - wet season April to October, dry season December to February; south of Equator - wet season November to March, dry season April to October
Terrain: vast central plateau covered by tropical rainforest, surrounded by mountains in the west, plains and savanna in the south/southwest, and grasslands in the north. The high mountains of the Ruwenzori Range on the eastern borders.
arable land: 2.96% (1998 est), 3% (1993 est.)
permanent crops: 0.52% (1998 est.), 0% (1993 est.)
permanent pastures: 7% (1993 est.)
forests and woodland: 77% (1993 est.)
other: 96.52 (1998 est.), 13% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 110 km2 (1998 est.), 100 km2 (1993 est.)
Environment - current issues: poaching threatens wildlife populations (for example, the Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus is now considered extinct in the Congo due to human overpopulation and poaching); water pollution; deforestation (chiefly due to land conversion to agriculture by indigenous farmers); refugees responsible for significant deforestation, soil erosion, and wildlife poaching; mining of minerals (coltan — a mineral used in creating capacitors, diamonds, and gold) causing environmental damage
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
Geography: straddles Equator; very narrow strip of land that controls the lower Congo River and is the only outlet to South Atlantic Ocean; dense tropical rainforest in central river basin and eastern highlands
This is a list of the extreme points of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.
- Northernmost point - unnamed location on the border with the Central African Republic in the Bomu river immediately west of the town of Mbaga in CAR, Orientale Province
- Easternmost point - at the point where the northern section of the border with Uganda enters Lake Albert immediately west of Mahagi Port, Oritentale Province
- Southernmost point - unnamed location on the border with Zambia immediately to north-west of the Zambian town of Ndabala, Katanga province
- Westernmost point - the point at which the border with Cabinda enters the Atlantic Ocean, Bas-Congo province
- C. Michael Hogan. 2009
- Anne Welsbacher. 2008
- C. Michael Hogan. 2009. Painted Hunting Dog: Lycaon pictus, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
- Anne Welsbacher. 2008. Protecting Earth's Rain Forests, page 36