Planning to visit the center point of Africa? Not an easy task, wherever it is

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Where is the center of Africa? Before the question can be answered, a method how to define the center has to be selected, and secondly, define what actually are the borders of the continent. Both issues may be widely debatable. This blog post provides examples of possible center points of Africa, using few simple methods. In this case only continental Africa has been selected as the borders of the continent, so islands are not counted in.

A map showing proposed central points Africa, as well as geographic extremes of the continent. Explanation to numbered center points:            1. Pole of inaccessibility;   2. intersection of lines connecting extremes of continental Africa;   3. center of a box enclosing continental Africa;   4. Central continental point along the equator

The first point (coordinates: LAT 5.65°, LON 26.17°) defines the pole of inaccessibility, that is the farthest point from the coast. According to Wikipedia, the point is in Central African Republic, near the tripoint of its borders with South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. The pole of inaccessibility is located in uninhabited forest, some 45 kilometres from nearest towns, Obo and Mboki, located southeast and southwest of the center point, respectively.

The second point (coords: LAT 12.833° LON 13.224°) plots where two lines connecting geographical extremes of continental Africa intersect each other. The intersection point is located in northeastern Nigeria, not far from the border tripoint with Chad and Central African Republic. The area appears to be semi-desert with sparse small villages. The town of Gidimbari is located just 10 kilometres north of the point. This part of Nigeria is tightly controlled by Boko Haram.

The third point (coords: LAT 1.261°, LON 16.942°) is determined by the middle point of a box bounding continental Africa. The sides of the box have coordinates of extreme points, for example the NE corner of the box gets it coordinates from northern and eastern extremes. This center point is within Republic of Congo, middle of a forest. There are some roads nearby, possibly for forestry purposes, but no close villages based of Google Earth. The site is 60 kilometres west of town/village called Epena.

The fourth point (coords: LAT 0.000000°, LON 26.121°) does not as such attempt to define the center of the continent, but rather the central continental point along equator. By coincidence the equator is close the halfway between northern and southern apexes of the continent. The centre point is in the Democratic Republic of Congo, again middle of uninhabited jungle. The point is about 115 kilometres southeast from the town of Kisangani. The nearest settlement of any size appears to be Babogombe, 60 km west of the point.

Extreme points of Africa are easy to visit, apart from the easternmost point that is located in Somalia. The three others are fairly popular tourist/beach destinations.

But visiting any of the proposed “center of the continent” points would require huge degree of determination and really adventurous mind. Not only these places have remote locations, but are also in some of the least secure countries of the continent. But whoever takes the challenge, I wish them good luck!

One thought on “Planning to visit the center point of Africa? Not an easy task, wherever it is

    barrysesnanwriting said:
    March 15, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Just spent nearly a week ‘near’ number 1 in the town of Yambio. Before the most recent 2016 rampage by rebels then government troops , getting to point no 1 would have been easy from here; now it is refugees who flock to the area which is also plagued by the remnants of the LRA, and various armies and militias looting the forest and the minerals.


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