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Burundi - Geography

Burundi is a landlocked nation covering 10,74C) square miles, located between 2V/0 and ,14 south of the equator in east-central Africa, 700 miles from the Indian Ocean, It lies between 29 and 31 east, bordering Rwanda to the north, TanIwzania to the east and south, and the Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) to the west.

The geologic base of the country is an irregularly shaped area of the Great East African Plateau. Much of the countryside is covered by savanna grasslands and small farms extending over rolling hills, but there are also areas of both swamps and mountains. The divide between two of Africa's great watersheds, the Congo and Nila Basing, extends from north to south through western Burundi at an average elevation of 8,000 feet.

On the western slopes of this Congo-Nile ridgeline, the land slopes abruptly into the Great East African Rift Valley, where the Rusizi Plain and Lake Tanganyika mark the western border of the country. The eastern slopes are more moderate, with rolling hills extending across the central uplands, at gradually reduced altitudes, to tie dry lplains and small plateaus of the eastorn an d solithern border regions.

Except for the eastern and western border areas, Burrudi lies at fairly high altitudes. The extremes of the tropical savanna climate are moderated because most of the land is at least 3,000 feet above sea level; much cf the central plateau has an average altitude of 5,000 to 6,500 feet and the average for the cntire country is about 5,300 feet.

The heaviest concentrations of people are located in the central uplands, which are from 5,000 to 7,500 feet in elevation. Trade winds from the Indian Ocean tend to hold temperatures down, providing these plateaus and rolling hills with a climate that is more comfortable and healthful for huninan beings than the higher altitudes of the Congo-Nile Divide in the west or the lower altitudes of tie Rift Valley or along the eastern and southern borders. The low areas are less desirable because of heat, inadequate and erratic rainfall, and tropical diseases affecting people, livestock, or both.

Most Burundi live by subsistence agriculture. A small minority of the people derive a part of their income from occupations such as mining, trade, production of cash crops, or labor on commercial plantatit-is. Even among this group or among the relatively few who are nominally town dwellers, many families produce part of their food by subsistence farming. Rural families prefer to live on or near the hilltops, above the humidity, floods, and insects that affect the valleys. Many families work several scattered small tracts of land, each at different elevations, to reduce the risk of crop loss. Soils in the farming and grazing areas, about 65 percent of the total land area, remain moderately productive, despite intensive farming and damage from erosion.

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Page last modified: 30-05-2015 21:11:28 ZULU