Geography of Angola

Angola is located on the South Atlantic Coast of West Africa between Namibia and the Republic of the Congo. It also is bordered by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia to the east. The country is divided into an arid coastal strip stretching from Namibia to Luanda; a wet, interior highland; a dry savanna in the interior south and southeast; and rain forest in the north and in Cabinda. The Zambezi River and several tributaries of the Congo River have their sources in Angola. The coastal strip is tempered by the cool Benguela current, resulting in a climate similar to coastal Peru or Baja California. There is a short rainy season lasting from February to April. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild. The interior highlands have a mild climate with a rainy season from November through April followed by a cool dry season from May to October. Elevations generally range from 3,000 to 6,000 feet. The far north and Cabinda enjoy rain throughout much of the year.

Location: Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Geographic coordinates: 12 30 S, 18 30 E

Map references: Africa

Area:

  • total: 1,246,700 km²
  • land: 1,246,700 km²
  • water: 0 km²

Area - comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Capital

  • Luanda (São Paulo de Loanda)

Major Cities

  • Amboim (Porto Amboim)
  • Bailundo (Vila Teixeira da Silva)
  • Benguela (São Felipe de Benguella)
  • Caála (Vila Robert Williams)
  • Calandula (Duque de Bragança)
  • Camacupa (Vila General Machado)
  • Chibia (Vila João de Almeida)
  • Ganda (Vila Mariano Machado)
  • Huambo (Nova Lisboa)
  • Kuito (Silva Porto)
  • Kuvango (Vila da Ponte)
  • Lubango (Sá da Bandeira)
  • Lwena (Vila Luso)
  • Massango (Forte Républica)
  • Mbanza Congo (São Salvador do Congo)
  • Menongue (Serpa Pinto)
  • Namibe (Môçamedes)
  • N'Dalatando (Vila Salazar)
  • N'Giva (Vila Pereira d'Eça)
  • Saurimo (Vila Henrique de Carvalho)
  • Soyo (Santo Antônio do Zaire)
  • Sumbe (Novo Redondo)
  • Tombua (Porto Alexandre)
  • Uíje (Carmona)

Land boundaries: Coastline: 1,600 km

Maritime claims:

  • contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles
  • exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles
  • territorial sea: 12 nautical miles

Climate: semiarid in south and along coast to Luanda; north has cool, dry season (May to October) and hot, rainy season (November to April)

Terrain: narrow coastal plain rises abruptly to vast interior plateau

Elevation extremes:

  • lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
  • highest point: Morro de Moco 2,620 m

Natural resources: petroleum, diamonds, iron ore, phosphates, copper, feldspar, gold, bauxite, uranium

Land use:

  • arable land: 2.41%
  • permanent crops: 0.4%
  • other: 97.19% (1999 est.)

Irrigated land: 750 km² (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: locally heavy rainfall causes periodic flooding on the plateau

Environment - current issues: overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to both international demand for tropical timber and to domestic use as fuel, resulting in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water

Environment - international agreements:

  • party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution
  • signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: the province of Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of the country by the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reference

Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2003 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.

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