Angola is situated in west-central Africa and lies between five and eighteen degrees south latitude and between twelve and twenty-four degrees longitude east of Greenwich (see Map 1.1.). The country covers an area of 1,246,700 square kilometers and is the second-largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, rivaled only by Zaïre. Angola equals the size of France, Great Britain, and Spain combined. Mainland Angola shares borders with Zaïre to the north, Zambia to the east, and Namibia to the south; it is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. It is roughly square in shape, running 1,277 kilometers from the northern to the southern border and 1,236 kilometers from east to west. The Cabinda enclave is separated from the mainland by the estuary of the Zaïre River and shares borders with Zaïre and Congo.
Two-thirds of Angola is plateau, with an average elevation of 1,050-1,350 meters above sea level. The highest mountain in the country is Mount Maco1 in Huambo Province, which rises to 2,620 meters. Other major mountains are Mount Mepo in Benguela Province (2,583 meters) and Mount Vavéle in Cuanza Sul Province (2,479 meters). The coastal plain on the Atlantic Ocean is separated from the plateau by a subplateau zone, which varies in breadth from around 460 kilometers in the north to approximately thirty kilometers in the center and south. The most dramatic transition from the subplateau to the main plateau is found in the South, with escarpments of up to 1,000 meters. Finally, there is the coastal lowland extending along the entire coast, which at its widest point is only some 160 kilometers.
Except for the northwestern section of the plateau and parts of the Cabinda enclave, which have areas covered by jungle or rain forest, most of the plateau is