Cameroon – Geography
At 475,442 square kilometres (183,569 sq. mi), 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. The country is located in Central and West Africa on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The country’s neighbors are Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon is divided into five major geographic zones distinguished by dominant physical, climatic, and vegetative features. An irregular chain of mountains, hills, and plateaus known as the Cameroon range extends from Mount Cameroon on the coast—Cameroon’s highest point at 4,095 meters (13,435 ft.)—almost to Lake Chad at Cameroon’s northern border at 13°05’N. This region has a mild climate, particularly on the Western High Plateau, although rainfall is high. Its soils are among Cameroon’s most fertile, especially around volcanic Mount Cameroon. Volcanism here has created crater lakes. On 21 August 1986, one of these, Lake Nyos, belched carbon dioxide and killed between 1,700 and 2,000 people. This area has been delineated by the World Wildlife Fund as the Cameroonian Highlands forests ecoregion.
The southern plateau rises northward to the grassy, rugged Adamawa Plateau. This feature stretches from the western mountain area and forms a barrier between the country’s north and south the northern lowland region extends from the edge of the Adamawa to Lake Chad with an average elevation of 300 to 350 meters (984 to 1,148 ft.). Its characteristic vegetation is savanna scrub and grass. This is an arid region with sparse rainfall and high median temperatures.
Cameroon has four patterns of drainage. In the south, the principal rivers are the Ntem, Nyong, Sanaga, and Wouri. These flow southwestward or westward directly into the Gulf of Guinea. The Dja and Kadéï drain southeastward into the Congo River. In northern Cameroon, the Bénoué River runs north and west and empties into the Niger. The Logone flows northward into Lake Chad, which Cameroon shares with three neighboring countries.