The Republic of Benin borders the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, lying between latitudes 6° 15´and 12° 25´ N and longitudes 0° 40´and 3° 45´ E. Burkina Faso and Niger border it on the north, while on the east and west it is bordered by Nigeria and Togo, respectively. The country is about 640 km from north to south, while its width ranges from 320 km in the north to 110 km in the south. Its total area is estimated at 112 622 km2.
The coast is flat, low-lying and sandy with inland lagoons and marshes. An area of fertile lowlands called the barre country occurs farther inland, much of which is intensively cultivated. In the far north the land rises to a plateau, with the highest elevation in the country at about 610 m in the rugged Atacora Mountains in the north-west.
Benin's climatic features reflect those of West Africa in general, with a humid coastal zone along the Atlantic coast, then a transitional continental zone further inland and finally a dry continental zone. Rainfall ranges from about 3 000 mm along the coast to 300 mm or less adjacent to the desert areas. There are generally two wet seasons in the south, from March to July and from October to November, while in the northern part of the country a single wet season lasts from March to November. Temperatures are tropical, ranging from 20° to 34° C over the course of a year. Variations in woody vegetation are primarily a result of climatic influences.
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.