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. The country lies between latitudes 2° and 11°N, and longitudes 14° and 28°E.
Much of the country consists of flat or rolling plateau savanna approximately 500 metres (1,640 ft) above sea level. Most of the Northern-half lies within the World Wildlife Fund’s East Sudanian savanna eco-region.
In addition to the Fertit Hills in the northeast of the CAR, there are scattered hills in the southwest regions. In the northwest is the Yade Massif, a granite plateau with an altitude of 348 metres (1,143 ft).
At 622,941 square kilometres (240,519 sq mi), the Central African Republic is the world’s 45th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Ukraine.
Much of the southern border is formed by tributaries of the Congo River; the Mbomou River in the east merges with the Uele River to form the Ubangi River, which also comprises portions of the southern border.
The Sangha River flows through some of the western regions of the country, while the eastern border lies along the edge of the Nile River watershed.
It has been estimated that up to 8% of the country is covered by forest, with the densest parts generally located in the southern regions.
The forests are highly diverse and include commercially important species of Ayous, Sapelli and Sipo. The deforestation rate is about 0.4% per annum, and lumber poaching is commonplace.
In 2008, Central African Republic was the world’s least light pollution affected country.
The Central African Republic is the focal point of the Bangui Magnetic Anomaly, one of the largest magnetic anomalies on Earth.
In the southwest, the Dzanga-Sangha National Park is located in a rain forest area. The country is noted for its population of forest elephants and western lowland gorillas.
In the north, the Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park is well-populated with wildlife, including leopards, lions, cheetahs and rhinos, and the Bamingui-Bangoran National Park is located in the northeast of CAR.
The parks have been seriously affected by the activities of poachers, particularly those from Sudan, over the past two decades.