Terrain shapes and bedrock
COUNTRYAAH, Congo is occupied to about 3/4 of a central basin, where
the Congo River with tributaries, including Lomami and
Oubangui, flows. Oubangui is a border river to the north and
northwest. The basin area is a plateau-like surface of about
500 m above sea level. with the lowest point 338 and the
highest 700 m above sea level. It is surrounded on several
sides by higher plateaus, in the northern Oubangui and
Ueleplatoes that separate the Nile and Congo River water
systems. To the south are the Kwango-Kwilu Plateau and the
Katanga Plateau, both of which rise to the east. At the far
west is a coastal plateau with the Mayombé massif and the
Kristallbergen, 1,050 m above sea level, where the river
broke and formed, among other things. Yellalafallen.
In the east, Congo is bounded by a western branch of the
East African Rift System, which forms the highest part of
the country with the Mitumba Mountains, Ruwenzori with
Congo's highest point, Margherita, 5 119 m above sea level.
as well as the volcanic Virung mountains. In the fault basin
itself lies the Albert and Edward lakes, the Kivu,
Tanganyika and Mwerus lakes, the latter on the border with
In the west, Congo reaches the sea with a 40 km long
The central basin area is built up of sedimentary rocks,
mainly sandstone. Large areas on either side of the Congo
River are covered by river deposits. The highland areas
consist of crystalline rocks. Young volcanic rocks occur in
the east in connection with the East African rift system.
The soil here is fertile volcanic soil; The valleys also
contain fertile river sediments. Ground cover is subject to
severe soil erosion.
In the area closest to the equator there is a tropical
rainforest climate, on both sides a tropical savannah
climate. This means that the average temperature for all
months of the year is 24–26 °C except in the mountainous
regions in the east, where the average temperature is 19 °C. The coastal area to the west is also cooler due to the
cold Benguela current.
The annual rainfall in central Congo, where there are two
rainy times at the highest solstice, is about 1,800 mm,
while the areas further from the equator, which has only one
rainy period, get about 1,300 mm.
The flora is very rich and contains over 10,000 known
plant species, of which an estimated 10% are endemic. The
vegetation varies from grasslands to sparse dry forests and
tropical rainforest to afroalpine herb vegetation.
In the savannas in the north there are many species from
the Sudanese flora area, eg. the genera of Isoberliʹnia
In the south there are grasslands with tree species such
as Parinaʹri and Brachysteʹgia.
However, the vegetation is dominated by the extensive
tropical lowland rainforests, which are spreading in the
central parts. In these, some individual species may
dominate, e.g. Gilbertiodeʹndron deweʹvrei,
Brachysteʹgia laureʹntii or Cynomeʹtra alexaʹndri.
Together, the central lowland rainforests make up more than
half of Africa's total area of rainforest.
In the mountains and in the eastern parts of Congo, there
are mountain rainforests with, for example. the genera
Podocaʹrpus, Ocoʹtea, Pruʹnus and
Along the Atlantic coast, there are mangroves with the
genera Rhizoʹphora, Aviceʹnnia,
Conocaʹrpus and Lagunculaʹria.
Wildlife is extremely rich and relatively unaffected
compared to other African countries. There are about 415
species of mammals (of which 28 are endemic), 930 are
species of nesting birds (22 are endemic; a total of 1,100
species have been observed), more than 80 species of
amphibians (of which 53 are endemic) and 400 species of
freshwater fish. The number of herbivorous species is not
exactly known, but there are just over 30 endemic species.
Of the Congo's 30 species of primates can be mentioned
dwarf chimpanzees, chimpanzees, lowland gorillas (good
strains), mountain gorillas and several species of mangabas
and market mats. There are also about 30 species of
antelopes, including eight species of diving antelope. The
forest-living giraffe okapi is endemic in the north and
The most expensive areas are in eastern Congo. In Ituri
in the Northeast, there are more species of monkeys than in
any other African forest area. In the Itombwe Mountains
adjacent to the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika, there are
565 species of birds (species richest in Africa). African
elephant, lowland gorilla and leopard.
In 2010, there were eight national parks in Congo, of
which Salonga is the largest rainforest reserve in the world
and very rich in plant species. Four of the parks and one of
the reserves are listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.