The Republic of Guinea, located in western Africa, is bounded on the north by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Mali; on the east and south-east by Côte d'Ivoire; on the south by Liberia and Sierra Leone; and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It covers an area of 245 857 km2 between latitudes 7° and 12° 30´ N and longitudes 8° and 15° W.

A chain of eroded mountains running south-east and south from Senegal and Mali crosses the country toward Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire. The northern part of this chain reaches an altitude of 1 500 m in the Fouta Djallon mountains in Guinea, where most of the major rivers of West Africa rise.

In general terms, four natural regions can be distinguished:

  • Coastal Guinea is a low, hot, humid plain bordering the ocean for about 300 km, with a high rainfall ranging from 2 000 to 4 000 mm and averaging 3 400 mm; Conakry receives 4 600 mm of rain per year;
  • Central Guinea is dominated by the Fouta Djallon mountain massif, which is a large plateau with an altitude of 600 to 1 500 m, a colder, drier climate than coastal Guinea and an annual rainfall of 1 800 mm;
  • Upper Guinea is a flat region east of the Fouta Djallon plateau with a Sudano-Guinean climate and a rainfall of 1 000 to 1 700 mm (average 1 550 mm);
  • Forested Guinea is made up of the south-eastern part of the country, bounded on the west by Sierra Leone, on the south by Liberia and on the east by Côte d'Ivoire. Its climate is what is called "Guinean forest", with an annual rainfall of about 2 000 mm. It has a fairly uneven terrain and includes most of the country's closed forests. It includes the Nimba Range of mountains and the highest point in the country at 1752 m.

The principal rivers are the Bafing (the upper course of the Sénégal) and the Gambia, both of which rise in the mountains of the Fouta Djallon and flow north-east. Many smaller rivers rise in the Fouta Djallon and descend to the coastal plain where they divide into many branches. The Niger and its important tributary, the Milo River, originate in the forested Guinea highlands.

Guinea has a tropical climate with variations due primarily to differences in altitude. Average temperatures range from 27° C at lower to 20° C at higher elevations. Rainfall varies by region as indicated above. The climate in the highlands is equatorial with no clearly distinguishable seasons. April is the hottest month and July or August the wettest. The rainy season in the remainder of the country occurs from April or May to October or November.

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