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 Geography of Rwanda

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kosovohp



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PostSubject: Geography of Rwanda   Fri Nov 12, 2010 9:20 am

At 26,338 square kilometres (10,169 sq mi), Rwanda is the world's 148th-largest country.[85] It is comparable in size to Haiti and the U.S. State of Maryland, and a little larger than Wales.[54][86] The country is located in Central and East Africa, and neighbours the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Uganda to the north; Tanzania to the east; and Burundi to the south.[54] It lies a few degrees south of the Equator and is landlocked.[87] The capital, Kigali, is located near the centre of Rwanda.[88]

The watershed between the major Congo and Nile drainage basins runs from north to south through Rwanda, with around 80% of the country's area draining into the Nile and 20% into the Congo, via the Ruzizi River and Lake Tanganyika.[89] The country's longest river is the Nyabarongo, which rises in the south-west, flows north, east and south-east before merging with the Ruvubu to form the Kagera; the Kagera then flows due north along the eastern border with Tanzania. The Nyabarongo-Kagera eventually drains into Lake Victoria, and its source in Nyungwe Forest is a contender for the overall source of the Nile.[90] Rwanda has many lakes, the largest being Lake Kivu. This lake occupies the floor of the Rift Valley along most of the length of Rwanda's western border, and with a maximum depth of 480 metres (1,575 ft) is one of the twenty deepest lakes in the world.[91] Other sizeable lakes include Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi, Rweru and Ihema, the last being the largest of a string of lakes in the eastern plains of Akagera National Park.[92]

Mountains dominate central and western Rwanda, with the Albertine branch of the Great Rift Valley running from north to south along the country's western border.[93] The highest peaks are found in the Virunga Mountains volcano chain in the north-west; this includes Mount Karisimbi, Rwanda's highest point at 4,507 metres (14,787 ft).[94] This western section of the country, which lies within the Albertine Rift montane forests ecoregion,[95] has an average elevation of 1,500 metres (4,921 ft) to 2,500 metres (8,202 ft).[4] The centre of the country is predominantly rolling hills, while the eastern border region consists of savanna, plains and swamps.[4]

Rwanda has a temperate tropical highland climate, with lower temperatures than is typical for equatorial countries due to the high altitude.[87] Rubona, in the centre of the country, has a typical daily temperature range between 14 °C (57 °F) and 25 °C (77 °F) with little variation through the year.[96] There are some temperature variations across the country, with the mountainous west being generally cooler than the lower lying east.[97] There are two rainy seasons in the year; the first runs from February to June and the second from September to December. These are separated by two dry seasons: the major one from June to September, during which there is often no rain at all, and a shorter and less reliable one from December to February.[98] Rainfall also varies geographically, with twice as much average annual precipitation in the west as in the east

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