Geography of Cameroon

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At 183,568 sq mi (475,440 km2), Cameroon is the world's 53rd-largest country. It is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea, and somewhat larger than the U.S. state of California. Cameroon's landmass is 181,252 sq mi (469,440 km2), with 2,317 sq mi (6,000 km2) of water.

The country is located in Central and West Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria.

Cameroon is sometimes described as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all the major climates and vegetation of the continent: mountains, desert, rain forest, savanna grassland, and ocean coastland. Cameroon can be divided into five geographic zones. These are distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features.

Contents

Natural regions

Cameroon's coastal plain extends 10 to 50 miles (16.1 to 80.5 km) inland from the Gulf of Guinea (part of the Atlantic Ocean) to the edge of a plateau. In the former western state, however, the mass of Mount Cameroon reaches almost to the sea. The plain is densely forested including areas of Central African mangroves especially around Douala and in the estuary of the Cross River on the border with Nigeria.

The low South Cameroon Plateau, rising from the coastal plain and dominated by tropical rain forest, has an average elevation of 1,500 to 2,000 feet (457 to 610 m). It is less humid than the coast.

In western Cameroon is an irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus that extend from Mt. Cameroon almost to Lake Chad at the northern tip of the country. This region includes the Bamenda, Bamiléké, and Mambilla highlands. It also contains some of the country's most fertile soils, notably around volcanic Mt. Cameroon. This area of tropical forest has been categorised by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion with Mount Cameroon considered separately because as an active volcano it has a distinct environment from the other mountains.

From the forested southern plateau the land rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamaoua (Adamawa) highlands. Stretching across Cameroon from the western mountain area, the Adamaoua forms a barrier between the north and south. Its average elevation is 3,400 feet (1,036 m).

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