The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is located in the equatorial region of West-Central Africa, one third of the country lies north of the equator and two-thirds to the south. It is bounded by the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania in the East; Zambia and Angola to the south and the Republic of the Congo and South Atlantic Ocean on the west. With a total area of 2,344,858 km2 the DRC is the third largest country, by area, in Africa (12th worldwide). It has a 37-km stretch of Atlantic coastline and the roughly 9 km-wide mouth of the Congo River which opens into the Gulf of Guinea. DRC is the 18th most populous nation in the world, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous francophone country (source).


The DRC includes the greater part of the Congo River Basin, which covers an area of almost 1m km2; the Congo River also has the second-largest flow and the second-largest catchment of any river in the world (after the Amazon). This Basin is "made up largely of Mesozoic and Quaternary sediments, occupies large areas in the west and centre of the country. Precambrian metamorphosed sediments and Proterozoic platform sediments occur in the eastern part of the country. Dolomites and Neoproterozoic sediments of the Katanga Supergroup (Cahen and Lepersonne 1967) occur in the Shaba Province in the southeast of the country.  Along the Western Rift, in the eastern part of the country are numerous Tertiary to Recent volcanoes, and some carbonatites" (source). Water accounts for 3.3 per cent of the surface area and includes Lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu, Tanganyika and Mweru that lie along the East African Rift and are shared with neighbouring countries. The terrain comprises a vast central basin or low-lying plateau sloping toward the west, covered by tropical rainforest, surrounded by mountains in the west, plains and savanna in the south/southwest, and grasslands in the north. The sources of the Congo are in the highlands and Lakes Tanganyika and Mweru of the East African Rift. High mountains of the Ruwenzori Range (some above 5,000m) are found on the eastern borders with Rwanda and Uganda and include the active shield volcanoes of Nyiragongo and Nyamulagira.