Located on the west coast of Africa, Liberia is bordered by Guinea in the north, Ivory Coast to the east, Sierra Leone on the northwest and the Atlantic Ocean to the south and southwest.
There are three distinct geographical belts lying parallel to the coast. The low coastal belt is about 50 miles wide, with tidal creeks, shallow lagoons and mangrove marshes. The land then rises abruptly, forming a great belt of high forest with elevations of 600 to 1,000 feet. Inland is a plateau 1,500 to 2,000 feet above sea level, where the forest is dense. The Nimba Mountains, near the Guinea border, rise to 4,200 feet, and the Waulo Mountains to 4,500 feet. Of the six principal rivers, all of which are at right angles to the coast, and flow into the Atlantic Ocean, only the Cavally, which separates Liberia from the Ivory Coast, is navigable for more than a few miles. Sandbars obstruct the mouths of all rivers, making entrance hazardous.