The Democratic Republic of the Congo straddles the equator in the heart of central Africa and shares a border with nine other countries: the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Angola. Congo has access to the Atlantic Ocean on the west through a strip of territory that narrows to 13 miles wide at the coast. Its area includes the greater part of the Congo River Basin and covers 1,465,553 square miles.
The Congo River is 2,900 miles long and is the second largest in the world in terms of area drained, flow, and navigable length. With its tributaries, the river provides Congo with about 9,000 miles of navigable waterways, and its force affords Congo 13% of the world's hydroelectric power potential. With the country's abundance of natural resources--which include: copper, cobalt, zinc, industrial and gem-quality diamonds, manganese, tin, crude oil, and gold--Congo is potentially one of the richest countries in the world. The geographical features of this giant African nation are handsome and varied. The huge Congo Basin, a low-lying, bowl-shaped plateau sloping toward the west, is covered by lush, tropical rain forests. Surrounding the basin are mountainous terraces on the west, plateaus merging into savannas to the south and southeast, and dense grasslands toward the northwest. The high picturesque Ruwenzori Mountains bound the basin to the east.