Geography of Benin

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Geography of Benin
Map of Benin OMC.png

Benin in its region.svg
Continent Africa
Region West Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Coordinates 9°30′N2°15′E / 9.500°N 2.250°E / 9.500; 2.250
Area Ranked 102nd
  Total112,622 km2 (43,484 sq mi)
  Land98.2%
  Water1.8%
Coastline121 km (75 mi)
Borders Total land borders:
2,123 km (1,319 mi)
Burkina Faso 386 km (240 mi),
Niger 277 km (172 mi),
Nigeria 809 km (503 mi),
Togo 651 km (405 mi)
Highest point Mont Sokbaro 658 m (2,159 ft)
Lowest point Atlantic Ocean sea level
Terrainflat to undulating plain; some hills and mountains
Natural resourcesoil, limestone, marble, timber
Environmental issues deforestation, desertification
Enlargeable, detailed map of Benin Benin2021OSM.png
Enlargeable, detailed map of Benin

Benin, a narrow, key-shaped, north-south strip of land in West Africa, lies between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. Its altitude ranges from 6°30 N to 12°30 N and its longitude from 1° E to 3°40 E. It is bounded by Togo to the west, Burkina Faso and Niger to the north, Nigeria to the east, and the Bight of Benin to the south.

Contents

With an area of 112,622 km2 (43,484 sq mi), it is slightly bigger than the nation of Bulgaria. It extends from the Niger River in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the south, a distance of 700 km (435 mi). Although the coastline measures 121 km (75 mi), the country measures about 325 km (202 mi) at its widest point.

It is one of the smaller countries in West Africa, about one eighth the size of Nigeria, its neighbor to the east. It is, however, twice as large as Togo, its neighbor to the west. A relief map of Benin shows that it has little variation in elevation, averaging 200 m (656 ft) in elevation.

Biogeography

Topography of Benin Benin Topography.png
Topography of Benin

The country can be divided into four main areas from the south to the north. The low-lying, sandy, coastal plain, which has a highest elevation of 10 m (33 ft) is, at most, 10 km (6 mi) wide. It is marshy and dotted with lakes and lagoons connected to the ocean. The plateaus of southern Benin, with an altitude ranging between 20 and 200 m (66 and 656 ft), are split by valleys running north to south along the Couffo, Zou, and Oueme Rivers, an area that has been categorised by the World Wildlife Fund as part of the Guinean forest-savanna mosaic ecoregion. Then an area of flat lands dotted with rocky hills whose altitude seldom reaches 400 m (1,312 ft) extends around Nikki and Savé. Finally, the Atacora mountain range extends along the northwest border and into Togo with the highest point, Mont Sokbaro, at 658 m (2,159 ft).

Benin has fields lying fallow, mangroves, and remnants of large sacred forests. In the rest of the country, the savanna is covered with thorny scrubs and dotted with huge baobab trees. Some forests line the banks of rivers. In the north and the northwest of Benin the Reserve du W du Niger and Pendjari National Park attract tourists eager to see elephants, lions, antelopes, hippos and monkeys. The country formerly offered habitat for the endangered painted hunting dog, Lycaon pictus, [1] although this canid is considered to have been extirpated from Benin due to human population expansion. Woodlands comprise approximately 31 percent of Benin's land area. [2]

Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Nigeria and Togo

Geographic coordinates: 9°30′N2°15′E / 9.500°N 2.250°E / 9.500; 2.250

Continent: Africa

Area:
total: 112 622 km2
country comparison to the world: 102
land: 110 622 km2
water: 2 000 km2

Area comparative

Land boundaries:
total: 2 123 km
border countries: Burkina Faso 386 km, Niger 277 km, Nigeria 809 km, Togo 651 km

Coastline: 121 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 200 nautical miles (370.4 km)

Climate: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north

Terrain: mostly flat to undulating plain; some hills and low mountains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Sokbaro 658 m

Natural resources: small offshore oil deposits, limestone, marble, timber

Land use:
arable land: 23.94%
permanent crops: 3.99%
other: 72.06% (2012)

Irrigated land: 230.4 km2 (2012)

'Total renewable water resources: 26.39 km3 (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.13 km³/a (32%/23%/45%)
per capita: 18.74 m³/a (2001)

Natural hazards: hot, dry, dusty harmattan wind may affect north in December to March

Environment - current issues: inadequate supplies of potable water; poaching threatens wildlife populations; deforestation; desertification

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling


Sandbanks create difficult access to a coast with no natural harbors, river mouths, or islands.

Climate

Benin map of Koppen climate classification zones Benin map of Koppen climate classification.svg
Benin map of Köppen climate classification zones
man transporting a tree trunk during rainy season (October 2018) DEGAN Gabin ( the tasks of man).jpg
man transporting a tree trunk during rainy season (October 2018)

Benin's climate is hot and humid. Annual rainfall in the coastal area averages 1,360 mm (53.5 in), not particularly high for coastal West Africa. Benin has two rainy and two dry seasons. The principal rainy season is from April to late July, with a shorter less intense rainy period from late September to November. The main dry season is from December to April, with a short cooler dry season from late July to early September. Temperatures and humidity are high along the tropical coast. In Cotonou, the average maximum temperature is 31 °C (87.8 °F); the minimum is 24 °C (75.2 °F). Variations in temperature increase when moving north through a savanna and plateau toward the Sahel. A dry wind from the Sahara called the harmattan blows from December to March. Grass dries up, the vegetation turns reddish brown, and a veil of fine dust hangs over the country, causing the skies to be overcast. It is also the season when farmers burn brush in the fields.

Extreme points

This is a list of the extreme points of Benin, the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location.

Related Research Articles

Benin Country in West Africa

Benin, officially the Republic of Benin and formerly known as Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burkina Faso to the north-west, and Niger to the north-east. The majority of its population lives on the small southern coastline of the Bight of Benin, part of the Gulf of Guinea in the northernmost tropical portion of the Atlantic Ocean. The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital. Benin covers an area of 114,763 square kilometres (44,310 sq mi) and its population in 2018 was estimated to be approximately 11.49 million. Benin is a tropical nation, highly dependent on agriculture, and is a large exporter of palm oil and cotton. Substantial employment and income arise from subsistence farming.

Geography of Burkina Faso Landlocked Sahel country that shares borders with six nations

Burkina Faso is a landlocked Sahel country that shares borders with six nations. It lies between the Sahara desert and the Gulf of Guinea, south of the loop of the Niger River, mostly between latitudes 9° and 15°N, and longitudes 6°W and 3°E. The land is green in the south, with forests and fruit trees, and semi-arid in the north. Most of central Burkina Faso lies on a savanna plateau, 198–305 metres (650–1,001 ft) above sea level, with fields, brush, and scattered trees. Burkina Faso's game preserves – the most important of which are Arly, Nazinga, and W National Park—contain lions, elephants, hippopotamus, monkeys, common warthogs, and antelopes. Previously the endangered painted hunting dog, Lycaon pictus occurred in Burkina Faso, but, although the last sightings were made in Arli National Park, the species is considered extirpated from Burkina Faso.

Geography of Chad African country

Chad is one of the 47 landlocked countries in the world and is located in North Central Africa, measuring 1,284,000 square kilometers (495,755 sq mi), nearly twice the size of France and slightly more than three times the size of California. Most of its ethnically and linguistically diverse population lives in the south, with densities ranging from 54 persons per square kilometer in the Logone River basin to 0.1 persons in the northern B.E.T. (Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti) desert region, which itself is larger than France. The capital city of N'Djaména, situated at the confluence of the Chari and Logone Rivers, is cosmopolitan in nature, with a current population in excess of 700,000 people.

Geography of Cameroon

At 475,440 km2 (183,570 sq mi), Cameroon is the world's 53rd largest country. It is slightly larger than the nation of Sweden and the US state of California. It is comparable in size to Papua New Guinea. Cameroon's landmass is 472,710 km2 (182,510 sq mi), with 2,730 km2 (1,050 sq mi) of water.

Geography of the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is a landlocked nation within the interior of the African continent. It is bordered by Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo. Much of the country consists of flat, or rolling plateau savanna, about 1,640 feet (500 m) above sea level. In the northeast are the Fertit Hills, and there are scattered hills in the southwestern part of the country. To the northwest is the Karre Mountains, a granite plateau with an altitude of 3,750 feet (1,143 m).

Geography of Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is a sub-Saharan nation in southern West Africa located at 8 00°N, 5 00°W. The country is approximately square in shape. Its southern border is a 515 km (320 mi) coastline on the Gulf of Guinea on the north Atlantic Ocean. On the other three sides it borders five other African nations for a total of 3,458 km (2,149 mi): Liberia to the southwest for 778 km (483 mi), Guinea to the northwest for 816 km (507 mi), Mali to the north-northwest for 599 km (372 mi), Burkina Faso to the north-northeast for 545 km (339 mi), and Ghana to the east for 720 km (447 mi).

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the largest country of sub-Saharan Africa, occupying some 2,344,858 square kilometres (905,355 sq mi). Most of the country lies within the vast hollow of the Congo River basin. The vast, low-lying central area is a plateau-shaped basin sloping toward the west, covered by tropical rainforest and criss-crossed by rivers. The forest center is surrounded by mountainous terraces in the west, plateaus merging into savannas in the south and southwest. Dense grasslands extend beyond the Congo River in the north. High mountains of the Ruwenzori Range are found on the eastern borders with Rwanda and Uganda.

Geography of Ghana

Ghana is a West African country in Africa, along the Gulf of Guinea, just a few degrees north of the equator.

Geography of Guinea

Guinea is a country on the coast of West Africa and is bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Geography of Guinea-Bissau

The geography of Guinea-Bissau is that of low coastal plains bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The country borders Senegal in the north and Guinea in the southeast.

Geography of Niger

Niger is a landlocked nation in West Africa located along the border between the Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions. Its geographic coordinates are longitude 16°N and latitude 8°E. Its area is 1.267 million square kilometers, of which 1 266 700 km2 is land and 300 km2 water, making Niger slightly less than twice the size of France.

Geography of Nigeria

Nigeria is a country in West Africa. Nigeria shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea in the south and it borders Lake Chad to the northeast. Noted geographical features in Nigeria include the Adamawa Plateau, Mambilla Plateau, Jos Plateau, Obudu Plateau, the Niger River, Benue River, and Niger Delta.

Geography of Togo

Togo is a small Sub-Saharan state, comprising a long strip of land in West Africa. Togo's geographic coordinates are a latitude of 8° north and a longitude of 1°10′ east. It is bordered by three countries: Benin to the east, with 644 km (400 mi) of border; Burkina Faso to the north, with 126 km (78 mi) of border; and Ghana, with 877 km (545 mi) of border. To the south Togo has 56 km (35 mi) of coastline along the Bight of Benin of the Gulf of Guinea in the North Atlantic Ocean. Togo stretches 579 km (360 mi) north from the Gulf and is only 160 km (99 mi) wide at the broadest point. In total, Togo has an area of 56,785 km2 (21,925 sq mi), of which 54,385 km2 (20,998 sq mi) is land and 2,400 km2 (927 sq mi) is water.

Geography of Mali

Mali is a landlocked nation in West Africa, located southwest of Algeria, extending south-west from the southern Sahara Desert through the Sahel to the Sudanian savanna zone. Mali's size is 1,240,192 square kilometers.

Yorubaland Cultural region of the Yoruba people in West Africa

Yorubaland is the homeland and cultural region of the Yoruba people in West Africa. It spans the modern-day countries of Nigeria, Togo and Benin, and covers a total land area of 142,114 km2 or about 60% of the land area of Ghana. Of this, 106,016 km2 (74.6%) lies within Nigeria, 18.9% in Benin, and the remaining 6.5% is in Togo. Prior to today, a portion of this was known as Yoruba country. The geocultural space contains an estimated 55 million people, the overwhelming majority of this population being ethnic Yorubas.

The Lower Guinean forests is region of coastal tropical moist broadleaf forest in West Africa, extending along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Guinea from eastern Benin through Nigeria and Cameroon.

Guinean forest–savanna mosaic

The Guinean forest-savanna mosaic is an ecoregion of West Africa, a band of interlaced forest, savanna, and grassland running east to west and dividing the tropical moist forests near the coast from the West Sudanian savanna of the interior.

Togo Mountains Mountain range in Africa

The Togo Mountains is a mountain range which stretches across the central region of the West African country of Togo and across the eastern and western borders of that country into Ghana and Benin. In Ghana, the range is also known as the Akwapim Hills, and in Benin it is also known as the Atakora Mountains. Part of the range is associated with the country of Niger, where the W National Park is found. The African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, was historically found in this region but may now be extirpated from this locale.

Wildlife of Nigeria

The wildlife of Nigeria consists of the flora and fauna of this country in West Africa. Nigeria has a wide variety of different habitats, ranging from mangrove swamps and tropical rainforest to savanna with scattered clumps of trees. About 290 species of mammal and 940 species of bird have been recorded in the country.

Mont Sokbaro

Mont Sokbaro is a hill that is mostly cited as the highest point of Benin, with an elevation of 658 metres (2,159 ft). This designation is contested, as SRTM readings at coordinates 10°17′22″N1°32′38″E give an elevation of 672 metres (2,205 ft). This is a location 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) southeast of Kotoponga.

References

Line notes

  1. C. Michael Hogan. 2009
  2. Rebecca Kormos and Christophe Boesch. 2003