Cameroon is located in west-central Africa bordering the Bight of Biafra (part of the South Atlantic), between Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria and is sometimes referred to as the hinge of Africa. It is bordered by the Central African Republic and Chad to the east, by the Republic of the Congo to the southeast, by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to the south and by Nigeria to the west. Cameroon covers a total area of 475,440km2 of which water comprises only 2,730km2. Cameroon has been described as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all the physiographic features, major climates and vegetation of the continent. It can be divided into five geographic zones: the densely forested coastal plain inland from the Gulf of Guinea, the South Cameroon Plateau (457-610m), rising from the coastal plain and dominated by tropical rain forest, the western mountainous region that includes the Bamenda, Bamiléké, and Mambilla highlands and extends from Mount Cameroon almost to Lake Chad at the northern tip, the Adamaoua highlands with an average elevation of 1036m forming a central topographic barrier and northern savannah plains that extend from the edge of the Adamaoua to Lake Chad. Mount Cameroon is an active volcano and at 4095m is the highest mountain in Sub-Saharan West Africa. The country has four patterns of drainage. In the south the rivers flow directly into the Gulf of Guinea except for the Dja and Kadeï, which drain into the Congo River. In north the Benue River eventually joins the Niger, while the Logone River flows northward into Lake Chad. Only part of Lake Chad lies within Cameroon; the rest belongs to Chad, Nigeria, and Niger.


The geology of Cameroon is dominated by Precambrian basement sequences, the majority are gneisses and migmatites of  Neoproterozoic age overlain by Pan-African metasedimentary units. Older Archean gneisses, granites and charnockites are exposed in the south of the country along the border regions with Gabon and the Republic of Congo whilst Meso- Neoproterozoic gneisses, granites and metasediments occur in the central and southeastern regions. Sedimentary rocks of Cretaceous age and continental aspect occupy the north of the country and marine strata are found in the coastal region. A belt of young volcanic extrusives, the Cameroon Line, cross Cameroon in a northeasterly direction probably following a major ancient structural zone.