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Senegal Geography


Situated on the western bulge of Africa, Senegal has a land area of 196,190 sq km (75,749 sq mi), extending 690 km (429 mi) southeast to northwest, and 406 km (252 mi) northeast to southwest. Comparatively, the area occupied by Senegal is slightly smaller than Great Britain.

It is bordered on the north and northeast by Mauritania, on the east by Mali, on the south by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Its westernmost point is also that of the African mainland. On the northeast the boundary is set by the Senegal River, and on the east by the Falémé River. Senegal surrounds the long, narrow republic of The Gambia on three sides and is joined with it in the Confederation of Senegambia. The total boundary length of Senegal is 3,171 km (1,970 mi), of which 531 km (330 mi) is coastline.

Senegal's capital city, Dakar, is located on the Atlantic coast.

The northern part of the Senegal coast has dunes from Cap Vert to Saint-Louis, but to the south are muddy estuaries. Behind the coast is a sandy plain, which extends north to the floodplain of the Senegal River. The Casamance region in the south, isolated from the rest of Senegal by the Republic of the Gambia, is low but more varied in relief, while to the southeast lie the Tamgué foothills, which rise to a maximum altitude of 581 m (1,906 ft). Much of the northwest of Senegal (known as the Ferlo) is semi-desert, but the centre and most of the south, except for the forest of Casamance, are open savanna country. The major rivers – the Senegal, Saloum, Gambie, and Casamance – flow from east to west.

Temperatures are lowest along the coast and highest inland; rainfall is highest in the south and lowest in the north. The wet season, which lasts from June to October, is shorter in the north and longer in the south, especially near the southwest coast. The average annual rainfall ranges from 34 cm (13 in) at Podor in the extreme north to 155 cm (61 in) at Ziguinchor, in the southwest. At Dakar, the average is 57 cm (22 in); at Tambacounda, in the interior, it is 94 cm (37 in). Temperatures vary according to the season, with the highest temperatures registered in the northeast. At Dakar, during the cool season (December-April), the average daily maximum is 26°C (79°F) and the average minimum 17°C (63°F); during the hot season (May-November), the averages are 30°C (86°F) and 20° C (68°F).


Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania

Geographic coordinates:
14 00 N, 14 00 W

Map references:

total: 196,722 sq km
land: 192,530 sq km
water: 4,192 sq km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Great Britain

Land boundaries:
total: 2,640 km
border countries: The Gambia 740 km, Guinea 330 km, Guinea-Bissau 338 km, Mali 419 km, Mauritania 813 km

531 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

tropical; hot, humid; rainy season (May to November) has strong southeast winds; dry season (December to April) dominated by hot, dry, harmattan wind

generally low, rolling, plains rising to foothills in southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: unnamed elevation southwest of Kedougou 581 m

Natural resources:
fish, phosphates, iron ore

Land use:
arable land: 12.51%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 87.25% (2005)

Irrigated land:
1,200 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
39.4 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.22 cu km/yr (4%/3%/93%)
per capita: 190 cu m/yr (2002)

Natural hazards:
lowlands seasonally flooded; periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:
wildlife populations threatened by poaching; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; overfishing

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:
westernmost country on the African continent; The Gambia is almost an enclave within Senegal





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