Thursday, March 5, 2009

Coste de Guinée

Partie de la Coste de Guinée

Carte de l'Entrée de la Rivière de Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Republic of Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea in the northeast, Liberia in the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of 71,740 km2 (27,699 sq mi)[3] and has a population estimated at 6,296,803[4] The country has a tropical climate, with a diverse environment ranging from savannah to rainforest. Freetown is the capital, seat of government, and largest city. Bo is the second largest city. Other major cities in the country with a population over 100,000 are Kenema, Koidu Town and Makeni. The country is home to Fourah Bay College, the oldest university in West Africa, established in 1827.
Early inhabitants of Sierra Leone included the Sherbro, Temne and Limba, and Tyra peoples, and later the Mende,who knew the country as Romarong, and the Kono who settled in the East of the country. In 1462, it was visited by the Portuguese explorer Pedro da Cintra, who gave it its name Serra de Leão, meaning 'Lion Mountains'. Sierra Leone became an important centre of the transatlantic trade in human beings, until 1792 when Freetown was founded by the Sierra Leone Company as a home for formerly enslaved African Americans. In 1808, Freetown became a British Crown Colony, and in 1896, the interior of the country became a British Protectorate; in 1961, the two combined and gained independence. Over two decades of government neglect of the interior followed by the spilling over of the Liberian conflict into its borders eventually led to the Sierra Leone Civil War, which began in 1991 and was resolved in 2000 after the United Nations led by Nigeria defeated the rebel forces and restored the civilian government elected in 1998 to Freetown. Since then, almost 72,500 former combatants have been disarmed[11] and the country has reestablished a functioning democracy. The Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up in 2002 to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed since 1996.
Sierra Leone is the lowest ranked country on the Human Development Index and seventh lowest on the Human Poverty Index, suffering from endemic corruption and suppression of the press.

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, between the 7th and 10th parallels north of the equator. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The country has a total area of 71,740 square kilometers (27,699 square miles), divided into a land area of 71,620 square kilometers and water of 120 square kilometers. The country has four distinct geographical regions. In eastern Sierra Leone is an interior region of large plateaus interspersed with high mountains, where Mount Bintumani reaches 1,948 meters (6,390 ft), the highest point in the country. The upper part of the drainage basin of the Moa River is located in the south of the region. In the central part of the country is a region of lowland plains, containing forests, bush and farmland,[28] that occupies about 43% of Sierra Leone's land area. Starting in the west, Sierra Leone has some 400 kilometres (250 miles) of coastline, giving it both bountiful marine resources and attractive tourist potential. This is followed by low-lying mangrove swamps, rain-forested plains and farmland. The national capital Freetown sits on a coastal peninsula, situated next to the Sierra Leone Harbor, the world's third largest natural harbour. This prime location historically made Sierra Leone the centre of trade and colonial administration in the region.
The climate is tropical, with two seasons determining the agricultural cycle: the rainy season from May to November, and a dry season from December to May, which includes harmattan, when cool, dry winds blow in off the Sahara Desert and the night-time temperature can be as low as 16 °C (60.8 °F). The average temperature is 26 °C (78.8 °F) and varies from around 26 °C (80 °F) to 36 °C (90 °F) during the year.

Entree de la Riviere de Sestos et vue du Cap Mesurado


Republic of Liberia, is a country on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Atlantic Ocean. As of 2008, the nation is estimated to be home to 3,489,072 people and cover 111,369 square kilometers (43,000 sq mi). Liberia has a hot equatorial climate with most rainfall arriving in summer with harsh harmattan winds in the dry season. Liberia's populated Pepper Coast is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the sparsely populated inland is forested, later opening to a plateau of drier grasslands.
The history of Liberia is unique among African nations, due to its roots as a colony founded by freed slaves from the United States. These freed slaves formed an elite group in Liberian society, and, in 1847, formed a government based on that of the United States, naming their capital city after James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States. This government was overthrown by a military-led coup in 1980, which marked the beginning of a period of instability and civil war that left hundreds of thousands of people dead and devastated the country's economy. Today, Liberia is recovering, and despite its lack of adequate infrastructure and poverty, it has experienced economic growth.

Liberia is situated in West Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the country's southwest. The landscape is characterized by mostly flat to rolling coastal plains that contain mangroves and swamps, which rise to a rolling plateau and low mountains in the northeast. Tropical rainforests cover the hills, while elephant grass and semi-deciduous forests make up the dominant vegetation in the northern sections. The equatorial climate is hot year-round with heavy rainfall from May to October with a short interlude in mid-July to August. During the winter months of November to March dry dust-laden harmattan winds blow inland causing many problems for residents.
Liberia's watershed tends to move in a southwestern pattern towards the sea as new rains move down the forested plateau off the inland mountain range of Guinée Forestière, in Guinea. Cape Mount near the border with Sierra Leone receives the most precipitation in the nation. The country's main northwestern boundary is traversed by the Mano River while its southeast limits are bounded by the Cavalla River. Liberia's three largest rivers are St. Paul exiting near Monrovia, the river St. John at Buchanan and the Cestos River, all of which flow into the Atlantic. The Cavalla is the longest river in the nation at 515 kilometres (320 mi).
Liberia's highest point is Mount Wuteve at 1,380 metres (4,500 ft) above sea level in the northwestern Liberia range of the West Africa Mountains and the Guinea Highlands.[6] However, Mount Nimba near Yekepa, is taller at 1,752 meters (5,748 ft) above sea level but is not wholly within Liberia as Nimba shares a border with Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and is their tallest mountain as well.

Carte du Cours de la Rivière Gambie


Gambia is a country in Western Africa. The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa, bordered to the north, east, and south by Senegal, and has a small coast on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Its borders roughly correspond to the path of the Gambia River, the nation's namesake, which flows through the country's center and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. On 18 February 1965, Gambia was granted independence from the United Kingdom and joined The Commonwealth. Banjul is Gambia's capital, but the largest conurbation is Serrekunda.
The Gambia shares historical roots with many other west African nations in the slave trade, which was key to the establishment of a colony on the Gambia river, first by the Portugese and later by the British. Since gaining independence in 1965, the Gambia has enjoyed relative stability, with the exception of a brief period of military rule in 1994. An agriculturally rich country, its economy is dominated by farming, fishing, and tourism.

The Gambia is a very small and narrow country whose borders mirror the meandering Gambia River. The country is less than 48 km wide at its widest point, with a total area of 11,300 km². Approximately 1,300 km² of the Gambia's area is covered by water. It is almost an enclave of Senegal, with all of the 740 km border zones touching Senegal. The Gambia is the smallest country on the continent of Africa. According to The World Factbook published by the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the total area of the Gambia is slightly less than twice the size of the American state of Delaware. The western side of the country borders the North Atlantic Ocean with 80 km of coastline.
The general climate for the Gambia is tropical. During the period from June until November, there is a period of hot weather and a very rainy season. From November until May, there are cool temperatures and is part of a dry season. The climate in the Gambia is the same found in neighboring Senegal, southern Mali and the northern part of Benin.
Its present boundaries were defined in 1889 after an agreement between the United Kingdom and France. During the negotiations between the French and the British in Paris, the French initially gave the British approximately 200 miles of the Gambia River to control. Starting with the placement of boundary markers in 1891, it took nearly fifteen years after the Paris meetings to determine the final boundary of the Gambia. The resulting series of straight lines and arcs gave the British control of areas that are approximately 10 miles north and south of the Gambia River.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Carte de la Riviere de Kalbar


Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast lies on the Gulf of Guinea, a part of the Atlantic Ocean, in the south. The capital city is Abuja. The three largest and most influential ethnic groups in Nigeria are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
The people of Nigeria have an extensive history, and archaeological evidence shows that human habitation of the area dates back to at least 9000 BCE. The Benue-Cross River area is thought to be the original homeland of the Bantu migrants who spread across most of central and southern Africa in waves between the 1st millennium BCE and the 2nd millennium CE.
The name Nigeria was created from a portmanteau of the words Niger and Area, taken from the River Niger running through Nigeria. This name was coined by the future wife of the Baron Lugard, a British colonial administrator, during the early 20th century.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous country in the world with a population of over 140 million, therefore making it the most populous 'black' country in the world. It is a regional power, is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies, and is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The economy of Nigeria is one of the fastest growing in the world with the International Monetary Fund projecting a growth of 9% in 2008 and 8.3% in 2009.

Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 km² (356,669 mi²),making it the world's 32nd-largest country (after Tanzania). It is comparable in size to Venezuela, and is about twice the size of California. It shares a 4047 km (2515-mile) border with Benin (773 km), Niger (1497 km), Chad (87 km), Cameroon (1690 km), and has a coastline of at least 853 km.
Nigeria has a varied landscape. From the Obudu Hills in the southeast through the beaches in the south, the rainforest, the Lagos estuary and savannah in the middle and southwest of the country and the Sahel to the encroaching Sahara in the extreme north. The highest point in Nigeria is Chappal Waddi at 2,419 m (7,936 ft).
Nigeria's main rivers are the Niger and the Benue which converge and empty into the Niger Delta, the world's largest river deltas.
Nigeria is also an important centre for biodiversity. It is widely believed that the areas surrounding Calabar, Cross River State, contain the world's largest diversity of butterflies. The drill monkey is only found in the wild in Southeast Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon.
Nigeria's most expansive topographical region is that of the valleys of the Niger and Benue River valleys (which merge into each other and form a "y" shape). Plains rise to the north of the valleys. To the southwest of the Niger there is "rugged" highland, and to the southeast of the Benue hills and mountains are found all the way to the border with Cameroon. Coastal plains are found in both the southwest and the southeast.

When dividing Nigeria by climatic regions, three regions, the far south, the far north, and the rest of the country emerge. The far south is defined by its tropical rainforest climate, where annual rainfall is 60 to 80 inches a year. The far north is defined by its almost desert-like climate, where rain is less than 20 inches per year. The rest of the country, everything in between the far south and the far north, is savannah, and rainfall is between 20 and 60 inches per year.
Nigeria is covered by three types of vegetation: forests (where there is significant tree cover), savannah (insignificant tree cover, with grasses and flowers located between trees), and montane land. (The latter is the least common, and is mainly found in the mountains near the Cameroonian border.) Both the forest zone and the savannah zone are divided into three parts.

The forest zone's most southerly portion is defined as salt water swamp, also known as a mangrove swamp due to the large amount of mangroves in the area. North of this is fresh water swamp, containing different vegetation from the salt water swamp, and north of that is rain forest.The savannah zone's three categories are divided into "Guinea savannah," the most common across the country, "Sudan savannah," and "Sahel savannah." Guinea savannah is made up of plains of tall grass which are interrupted by trees; Sudan savannah is similar but with "shorter grasses and shorter trees." Sahel savannah is comprised patches of grass and sand, and is found in the northeast.

Baye de Saldane

Rade de Benguela et Rivière de Cantobelle

Carte du Pais des Hottentots

South Africa

The Republic of South Africa, also known by other official names, is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. The South African coast stretches 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi)[5][6] and borders both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. To the north of South Africa lie Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland, while the Kingdom of Lesotho is an independent enclave surrounded by South African territory.
Modern human beings have inhabited South Africa for more than 100,000 years. A century and a half after the discovery of the Cape Sea Route, the Dutch East India Company founded a refreshment station at what would become Cape Town in 1652. Cape Town became a British colony in 1806. European settlement expanded during the 1820s as the Boers (original Dutch, Flemish, German and French settlers) and the British 1820 Settlers claimed land in the north and east of the country. Conflicts arose among the Xhosa, Zulu and Afrikaner groups. However, the discovery of diamonds and later gold triggered the conflict known as the Anglo-Boer War as the Boers and the British fought for the control of the South African mineral wealth. Although the Boers were defeated, limited independence was given to South Africa in 1910 as a British dominion. Anti-British policies focused on ultimate independence which was achieved in 1961 when South Africa was declared a republic. The leading National Party legislated for a continuation of racial segregation begun under Dutch and British colonial rule, Boer republics, and subsequent South African governments (and which in 1948 became legally institutionalised segregation known as apartheid), despite opposition both in and outside of the country. In 1990 the then president F.W. de Klerk began to dismantle this legislation, and in 1994 the first democratic election was held in South Africa. This election brought Nelson Mandela and the current ruling party, the African National Congress to power, and the country rejoined the Commonwealth of Nations.
South Africa is known for its diversity in cultures, languages, and religious beliefs, and eleven official languages are recognised in its constitution. English is the most commonly spoken language in official and commercial public life, however it is only the fifth most spoken home language. South Africa is ethnically diverse, with the largest Caucasian, Indian, and racially mixed communities in Africa. Although 79.6% of the South African population is Black,[2] this category is neither culturally nor linguistically homogeneous, as people within this classification speak a number of different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. Midyear 2007, the South African population was estimated at 47.9 million.

South Africa is located at the southernmost region of Africa, with a long coastline that stretches more than 2,500 kilometres (1,550 mi) and across two oceans (the South Atlantic and the Indian). At 470,979 sq mi (1,219,912 km²),[27] South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world (after Mali). It is comparable in size to Colombia. Njesuthi in the Drakensberg at 3,408 m (11,424 ft) is the highest peak in South Africa.

South Africa has a generally temperate climate, due in part to it being surrounded by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides, by its location in the climatically milder southern hemisphere and due to the average elevation rising steadily towards the north (towards the equator) and further inland. Due to this varied topography and oceanic influence, a great variety of climatic zones exist.
The climatic zones vary, from the extreme desert of the southern Namib in the farthest northwest to the lush subtropical climate in the east along the Mozambique border and the Indian ocean. From the east, the land quickly rises over a mountainous escarpment towards the interior plateau known as the Highveld. Even though South Africa is classified as semi-arid, there is considerable variation in climate as well as topography.
The interior of South Africa is a vast, rather flat, and sparsely populated scrubland, Karoo, which is drier towards the northwest along the Namib desert. In contrast, the eastern coastline is lush and well-watered, which produces a climate similar to the tropics. The extreme southwest has a climate remarkably similar to that of the Mediterranean with wet winters and hot, dry summers, hosting the famous Fynbos Biome. This area also produces much of the wine in South Africa. This region is also particularly known for its wind, which blows intermittently almost all year. The severity of this wind made passing around the Cape of Good Hope particularly treacherous for sailors, causing many shipwrecks. Further east on the south coast, rainfall is distributed more evenly throughout the year, producing a green landscape. This area is popularly known as the Garden Route.

The Free State is particularly flat due to the fact that it lies centrally on the high plateau. North of the Vaal River, the Highveld becomes better watered and does not experience subtropical extremes of heat. Johannesburg, in the centre of the Highveld, is at 1,740 metres (5,709 ft) and receives an annual rainfall of 760 millimetres (30 in). Winters in this region are cold, although snow is rare.
To the north of Johannesburg, the altitude drops beyond the escarpment of the Highveld, and turns into the lower lying Bushveld, an area of mixed dry forest and an abundance of wildlife. East of the Highveld, beyond the eastern escarpment, the Lowveld stretches towards the Indian ocean. It has particularly high temperatures, and is also the location of extended subtropical agriculture.
The high Drakensberg mountains, which form the south-eastern escarpment of the Highveld, offer limited skiing opportunities in winter. The coldest place in South Africa is Sutherland in the western Roggeveld Mountains, where midwinter temperatures can reach as low as −15 degrees Celsius (5 °F). The deep interior has the hottest temperatures: A temperature of 51.7 °C (125 °F) was recorded in 1948 in the Northern Cape Kalahari near Upington.
South Africa also has one possession, the small sub-Antarctic archipelago of the Prince Edward Islands, consisting of Marion Island (290 km²/112 sq mi) and Prince Edward Island (45 km²/17.3 sq mi) (not to be confused with the Canadian province of the same name).

Ville et Fort de Bonne Esperance

Carte de la Baye de la Table

South Africa is one of only 17 countries worldwide considered megadiverse. It has more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10% of all the known species of plants on Earth, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity. South Africa is the 6th most biodiverse country, after Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, China, and Mexico. The most prevalent biome in South Africa is the grassland, particularly on the Highveld, where the plant cover is dominated by different grasses, low shrubs, and acacia trees, mainly camel-thorn and whitethorn. Vegetation becomes even more sparse towards the northwest due to low rainfall. There are several species of water-storing succulents like aloes and euphorbias in the very hot and dry Namaqualand area. The grass and thorn savannah turns slowly into a bush savannah towards the north-east of the country, with denser growth. There are significant numbers of baobab trees in this area, near the northern end of Kruger National Park.
The Fynbos Biome, which makes up the majority of the area and plant life in the Cape floristic region, one of the six floral kingdoms, is located in a small region of the Western Cape and contains more than 9,000 of those species, making it among the richest regions on earth in terms of floral biodiversity. The majority of the plants are evergreen hard-leaf plants with fine, needle-like leaves, such as the sclerophyllous plants. Another uniquely South African plant is the protea genus of flowering plants. There are around 130 different species of protea in South Africa.
While South Africa has a great wealth of flowering plants, it has few forests. Only 1% of South Africa is forest, almost exclusively in the humid coastal plain along the Indian Ocean in KwaZulu-Natal (see KwaZulu-Cape coastal forest mosaic). There are even smaller reserves of forests that are out of the reach of fire, known as montane forests (see Knysna-Amatole montane forests). Plantations of imported tree species are predominant, particularly the non-native eucalyptus and pine. South Africa has lost a large area of natural habitat in the last four decades, primarily due to overpopulation, sprawling development patterns and deforestation during the nineteenth century. South Africa is one of the worst affected countries in the world when it comes to invasion by alien species with many (e.g. Black Wattle, Port Jackson, Hakea, Lantana and Jacaranda) posing a significant threat to the native biodiversity and the already scarce water resources. The original temperate forest that met the first European settlers to South Africa was exploited ruthlessly until only small patches remained. Currently, South African hardwood trees like Real Yellowwood (Podocarpus latifolius), stinkwood (Ocotea bullata), and South African Black Ironwood (Olea laurifolia) are under government protection.
Numerous mammals are found in the bushveld habitats including lions, leopards, white rhinos, blue wildebeest, kudus, impalas, hyenas, hippopotamus and giraffes. A significant extent of the bushveld habitat exists in the north-east including Kruger National Park and the Mala Mala Reserve, as well as in the far north in the Waterberg Biosphere.
Climate change is expected to bring considerable warming and drying to much of this already semi-arid region, with greater frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, flooding and drought. According to computer generated climate modelling produced by the South African National Biodiversity Institute[32] parts of southern Africa will see an increase in temperature by about one degree Celsius along the coast to more than four degrees Celsius in the already hot hinterland such as the Northern Cape in late spring and summertime by 2050.
The Cape Floral Kingdom has been identified as one of the global biodiversity hotspots since it will be hit very hard by climate change and has such a great diversity of life. Drought, increased intensity and frequency of fire and climbing temperatures are expected to push many of these rare species towards extinction.
South Africa houses many endemic species, among them the critically endangered Riverine Rabbit (Bunolagus monticullaris) in the Karoo.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Carte de l'Isle de Madacascar


Republic of Madagascar is an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. The main island, also called Madagascar, is the fourth-largest island in the world, and is home to 5% of the world's plant and animal species, of which more than 80% are endemic to Madagascar.[citation needed] They include the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa, three bird families and six baobab species.

At 587,041 km² (226,657.8 sq mi), Madagascar is the world's 46th-largest country and the fourth largest island. It is slightly bigger than France, and is one of 11 distinct physiographic provinces of the South African Platform physiographic division.
Towards the east, a steep escarpment leads from the central highlands down into a ribbon of rain forest with a narrow coastal further east. The Canal des Pangalanes is a chain of natural and man-made lakes connected by canals that runs parallel to the east coast for some 460 km (about two-thirds of the island). The descent from the central highlands toward the west is more gradual, with remnants of deciduous forest and savanna-like plains (which in the south and southwest, are quite dry and host spiny desert and baobabs). On the west coast are many protected harbours, but silting is a major problem caused by sediment from the high levels of erosion inland.
Along the crest of this ridge lie the central highlands, a plateau region ranging in altitude from 2,450 to 4,400 ft (750 to 1350m) above sea level. The central highlands are characterised by terraced, rice-growing valleys lying between barren hills. Here, the red laterite soil that covers much of the island has been exposed by erosion, showing clearly why the country is often referred to as the "Red Island".
The island's highest peak, Maromokotro, at 2,876 m (9,436 ft), is found in the Tsaratanana Massif, located in the far north of the country. The Ankaratra Massif is in the central area south of the capital Antananarivo and hosts the third highest mountain on the island, Tsiafajavona, with an altitude of 2,642 m (8,668 ft). Further south is the Andringitra massif which has several peaks over 2400 m (about 8,000 ft) including the second and fourth highest peaks, Pic Imarivolanitra, more widely known as Pic Boby (8,720 ft, 2,658 m), and Pic Bory (8,626 ft, 2,630 m). Other peaks in the massif include Pic Soaindra (8,594 ft, 2,620 m) and Pic Ivangomena (8,385 ft, 2,556 m). This massif also contains the Andringitra Reserve. On very rare occasions, this region experiences snow in winter due to its high altitude.
There are two seasons: a hot, rainy season from November to April, and a cooler, dry season from May to October. South-eastern trade winds predominate, and the island occasionally experiences cyclones.

Carte de l'Ance Dauphine

Carte de la Baye Antongil

Madagascar's long isolation from the neighboring continents has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world; some ecologists refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent".[13] Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world.[14] Madagascar's varied fauna and flora are endangered by human activity, as a third of its native vegetation has disappeared since the 1970s, and only 18% remains intact. It has several national parks.
The eastern, or windward side of the island is home to tropical rainforests, while the western and southern sides, which lie in the rain shadow of the central highlands, are home to tropical dry forests, thorn forests, and deserts and xeric shrublands. Madagascar's dry deciduous rain forest has been preserved generally better than the eastern rainforests or the high central plateau, presumably due to historically low population densities.
Extensive deforestation has taken place in parts of the country, some due to mining operations. Slash-and-burn activity, locally called tavy, has occurred in the eastern and western dry forests as well as on the central high plateau, reducing certain forest habitat and applying pressure to some endangered species. Slash-and-burn is a method sometimes used by shifting cultivators to create short-term yields from marginal soils. When practiced repeatedly without intervening fallow periods, the nutrient-poor soils may be exhausted or eroded to an unproductive state. The resulting increased surface runoff from burned lands has caused significant erosion and resulting high sedimentation to western rivers.
As a part of conservation efforts, the Wildlife Conservation Society has recently opened a Madagascar! exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. The New York Academy of Sciences recently published a Podcast about the Madagascar! exhibit, which details the fauna and flora of Madagascar and what types of projects the WCS is involved with in the country. The Podcast can be listened to here