Angola is mainly located on the Kalahari Plateau. To the north is a transition area between the southern plateau and the Congo Basin.
Along the Atlantic stretches a narrow coastal plain which is partly composed of younger sedimentary rocks with oil-bearing layers. The width of the coastal plain is 70-150 kilometers. The coastal zone also includes the small enclave Cabinda north of the estuary of the Congo.
Within the coastal plain, a wide bedrock plateau rises with clear terraces. These terraces are most marked by the fall of the highlands towards the coast. In some places the plateau country has the character of mountains, which is most pronounced in Serra de Chela in the southwest. A ridge extends in the south-northeast direction and forms a marked water barrier. Serra Môco is the highest point at 2620 meters above sea level. To the east of the mountains lies the high-lying Bíe Plateau at 1500–1800 meters above sea level.
Half of the country’s numerous rivers have runoff to the Congo River, while the others drain towards Zambezi. Only a few flows to the Atlantic, including Cuanza (Kwanza), which is the country’s longest river at 965 kilometers, and Kunene, which forms a border with Namibia in the south. Cubango flows into Okavango, Cuango is a bee to Zambezi and flows into the Indian Ocean. In the eastern part of the Bíe plateau, Kwango and Kasai, among others, are both bees to Congo.
The southeastern part of Angola makes a smooth transition towards Kalahari. The plateaus are low, 500-700 meters, and the terrain is relatively flat.
Geography and environment
Angola has a coverage of 1.2 million square kilometers and is one of the largest countries in Africa. The size gives the country a very varied geography. In the north there are both rainforest and savannah landscapes, in the southern desert. Much of the country is characterized by relatively flat savannas, but there are also large areas with mountains and ridge landscapes. A high plateau covers most of central inland. The northeastern part of the country is part of the Congo Basin. In the northwest, especially in Cabinda, there is tropical rainforest.
The long coast is very rich in fish and seafood. The temperate highlands have provided good conditions for both agriculture and animal husbandry. Many years of civil war, on the other hand, have made wild animals rare. Previously, this area was dominated by large herds of antelopes, warthogs, giraffes and other savannas. Since the civil war ended in 2002, several species have been reintroduced, including elephants.
Angola’s national animal is the great sable antelope Hippotragus niger variani. The species has the longest horn of the animal kingdom, but is almost extinct and is likely to be found only in a few hundreds of individuals in Malanje province.