Geography of Côte d'Ivoire

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Côte d'Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) is a sub-Saharan nation in southern West Africa located at 8 00°N, 5 00°W. The country is shaped like a square and borders the Gulf of Guinea on the north Atlantic Ocean to the south (515 km of coastline) and five other African nations on the other three sides, with a total of 3,110 km of borders: Liberia to the southwest (716 km), Guinea to the northwest (610 km), Mali to the north-northwest (532 km), Burkina Faso to the north-northeast, and Ghana to the east (668 km). In total, Côte d'Ivoire comprises 322,460 km2, of which 318,000 km2 is land and 4,460 km2 is water, which makes the country slightly larger than the U.S. state of New Mexico, or about the size of Germany.

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Maritime claims

Côte d'Ivoire makes maritime claims of 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) as an exclusive economic zone, 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi) of territorial sea, and a 200 nautical miles (370.4 km; 230.2 mi) continental shelf.

Terrain and topography

Côte d'Ivoire's terrain can generally be described as a large plateau rising gradually from sea level in the south to almost 500 m elevation in the north. The nation's natural resources have made it into a comparatively prosperous nation in the African economy. The southeastern region of Côte d'Ivoire is marked by coastal inland lagoons that starts at the Ghanaian border and stretch 300 km (186 mi) along the eastern half of the coast. The southern region, especially the southwest, is covered with dense tropical moist forest. The Eastern Guinean forests extend from the Sassandra River across the south-central and southeast portion of Côte d'Ivoire and east into Ghana, while the Western Guinean lowland forests extend west from the Sassandra River into Liberia and southeastern Guinea. The mountains of Dix-Huit Montagnes region, in the west of the country near the border with Guinea and Liberia, are home to the Guinean montane forests. The Guinean forest-savanna mosaic belt extends across the middle of the country from east to west, and is the transition zone between the coastal forests and the interior savannas. The forest-savanna mosaic interlaces forest, savanna and grassland habitats. Northern Côte d'Ivoire is part of the West Sudanian savanna, a savanna-and-scrubland zone of lateritic or sandy soils, with vegetation decreasing from south to north. The terrain is mostly flat to undulating plains, with mountains in the northwest. The lowest elevation in Côte d'Ivoire is at sea level on the coasts. The highest elevation is Mount Nimba, at 1,752 metres (5,748 ft) in the far west of the country along the border with Guinea and Liberia.

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