Geography of the Central African Republic

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A United Nations map of the Central African Republic
Location of the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is a landlocked nation within the interior of the African continent. It is bordered by the countries of Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. Much of the country consists of flat, or rolling plateau savanna, about 1,640 feet (500 m) above sea level. In the northeast are the Fertit Hills, and there are scattered hills in the southwestern part of the country. To the northwest are the Karre Mountains (also known as Yade Massif), a granite plateau with an altitude of 3,750 feet (1,143 m).

At 622,984 square kilometres (240,535 sq mi), the Central African Republic is the world's 45th-largest country (after Somalia). It is comparable in size to Ukraine or slightly smaller than the US state of Texas.

Much of the southern border is formed by tributaries of the Congo River, with the Mbomou River in the east merging with the Uele River to form the Ubangi River. In the west, the Sangha River flows through part of the country. The eastern border lies along the edge of the Congo-Nile watershed.

Estimates of the amount of the country covered by forest ranges up to 8%, with the densest parts in the south. The forest is highly diverse, and includes commercially important species of Ayous, Sapelli and Sipo. The deforestation rate is 0.4% per annum, and lumber poaching is commonplace.


The climate of the C.A.R. is generally tropical. The northern areas are subject to harmattan winds, which are hot, dry, and carry dust. The tip of the northern regions have been subject to desertification. The remainder of the country is prone to flooding from nearby rivers. About one third of the Central African Republic’s population do not have access to clean water.


Central African Republic map of Köppen climate classification.
A satellite map of the Central African Republic.
Topography of Central African Republic.

Location: Central Africa, north of Democratic Republic of the Congo

Area - comparative:

  • Canada: slightly smaller than the province of Manitoba
  • US: slightly smaller than the state of Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 5,920 km
border countries: Cameroon 901 km, Chad 1,556 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,747 km, Republic of the Congo 487 km, Sudan 174 km and South Sudan 1,055 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Terrain: vast, flat to rolling, monotonous plateau; scattered hills in northeast and southwest

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Oubangui River 335 m
highest point: Mont Ngaoui 1,420 m

Natural resources: diamonds, uranium, timber, gold, petroleum, hydropower

Land use:
arable land: 2.89%
permanent crops: 0.13%
other: 96.98% (2012 est.)

Irrigated land: 1.35 km² (2003)

Total renewable water resources: 144.4 km3 (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.07 km3/yr (83%/17%/1%)
per capita: 17.42 m3/yr (2005)

Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds affect northern areas; floods are common

Environment - current issues: tap water is not potable; poaching has diminished its reputation as one of the last great wildlife refuges; desertification

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Geography - note: landlocked; almost the precise center of Africa

Extreme points[edit]

This is a list of the extreme points of the Central African Republic, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website