Geography

Angola

The Republic of Angola covers an area of 1 246 700 km2, lying between latitudes 4° 22´ and 18° 02´ S and longitudes 11° 41´ and 24° 05´ E. With the exception of Cabinda, the country forms a square with sides about 1 250 km long, touching the Atlantic Ocean on the west (giving a total coastline of about 1 600 km) and bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north and north-east, Zambia on the east, and Namibia on the south. The Cabinda enclave covers 7 200 km2 north of the mouth of the Congo (or Zaïre) River.

The following four major geographic regions can be distinguished:

  • The coastal plain, also found in the west of Cabinda, with a width varying from 25 km in the south to 100 to 200 km in the north.
  • The central highlands with an average height between 1 000 and 1 300 m, covering almost two-thirds of the country. They are dominated by several mountain chains forming a crescent lying in a roughly south-west to north-east direction and including the Serra Moco, the highest point in the country (2 620 m). This region is one of the main sources of water for southern Africa.
  • The northern foothills of the highlands toward the Congo basin, north of latitude 10° S, where most of the country´s closed forests are found, the remainder being located in eastern Cabinda.
  • The eastern and southern foothills of the highlands towards the central depression of southern Africa and the Kalahari basin.

Most of Angola´s rivers rise in the central mountains and drain either to the Atlantic Ocean or the Congo River, but those in the south-east drain to the Okavango swamps in Botswana.

The climate is generally tropical in type, tempered by sea and altitude, but it does vary considerably depending on latitude, as well as the effects of the cold Benguela current along the coast. Rainfall reaches 1 800 mm and more in inland Cabinda and decreases rapidly along the coast, dropping to under 100 mm in the south (Moçâmedes province). It is over 1 500 mm in the highest parts of the highlands, especially in Huambo, Lunda and Uige provinces. A dry season lasts from September to April. Temperatures in the coastal plain region average about 21 °C in January and about 16 °C in June. The central plateau is cooler.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

last updated:  Monday, May 28, 2012