Countries on the Equator

December 22, 2023

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The equator and other geographical lines on a map

Although it stretches around the middle of the Earth, the equator passes through just 13 countries. These countries on the equator, generally have a tropical climate characterized by hot and humid weather.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the countries that lie on the equator line. We’ll cover their climates, land areas, and popular tourist hot spots. Let’s jump into it!

What is the equator?

The equator is at zero degrees latitude and lies halfway between the north and south poles. It runs around the middle of the Earth, although there’s no visible line. The imaginary line divides the planet into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Earth’s widest point is at the equator, with a circumference of 40,075 kilometers (24,901 miles). The planet’s diameter at the equator is 2,756 kilometers (7,926 miles).

Equatorial regions usually experience hot climates throughout the year, with little seasonal variation. Most countries in this region divide the year into wet and dry seasons. The so-called wet season (when the countries experience a lot of rain) tends to last for most of the year. The rainy, warm climate creates tropical rainforests. Many of the world’s largest forests, such as the expansive Amazon rainforest in South America and the Congo rainforest of Central Africa, are found in equatorial regions.

The sun passes over the equator twice a year, at the spring and autumn equinoxes. The spring equinox marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Meanwhile, the autumn equinox is the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

Countries that lie on the equator

The equator passes through 11 countries. Starting at the Prime Meridian, the equator passes through:

  • São Tomé and Principe
  • Gabon
  • Republic of the Congo
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Uganda
  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • Indonesia
  • Ecuador
  • Colombia
  • Brazil

São Tomé and Principe

Ilheu das Rolas island in Sao Tome
Aerial view of the tropical Ilheu das Rolas island in São Tome

The equator passes through São Tomé and Principe, an African island nation. It runs through the Pestana Equador resort on the Ilhéu das Rolas islet (small island).

São Tomé and Principe has a population of just over 200,000. The island country is the second-smallest and second-least populous African sovereign state. It has one long rainy season that typically lasts nine months (September to May) and annually produces an average of 900mm of rain. São Tomé and Principe have a tropical climate, with average annual temperatures of 27°C (80°F).

The island country has a mix of African and Portuguese influences. The island has relatively low tourist numbers and is often dubbed ‘Africa’s Galápagos’ due to the variety of endemic plant and animal species.

Gabon

Rainforest and lakes in gabon
Dense rainforest in Gabon

Located on the Atlantic coast of West Central Africa, Gabon is home to a population of roughly 2.5 million people. The equator passes south of Libreville, the capital city of Gabon, and just 6.6 miles north of the small town of Booue.

Gabon has a typical equatorial climate with hot temperatures and high humidity throughout the year. The wet season is typically between October and May, when rainfall averages 150mm – 200mm, but precipitation can be more than double this figure depending on where you are in the country.

Gabon is one of the most densely forested countries in the world, with over 85% of its surface area covered by rainforest.

Republic of the Congo

Odzala National Park in the Republic of Congo
Odzala National Park, Republic of Congo

The Republic of Congo is located in the west of Central Africa and has a population of around six million people. The equator passes near Makoua, which is indicated by a marker around 25 km (16 mi) south of the town.

The country has a tropical climate, with the wet season lasting from March to June and the dry season through the rest of the year. Rivers throughout the country are prone to flooding in the wet season.

The Congo Rainforest, the second-largest forest in the world, partially covers the Republic of Congo. The rainforest basin is home to around 150 ethnic groups and approximately 10,000 species of tropical plants. There are also a number of endangered animals, such as forest elephants, chimpanzees, and mountain gorillas.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Mount Mikeno in Nord Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo
Mount Mikeno in Nord Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo

The equator passes 9 km (5.6 mi) south of Butembo in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One-third of the country lies in the Northern Hemisphere, and two-thirds lie in the Southern Hemisphere.

Due to the country’s proximity to the equator, it experiences high precipitation. The Democratic Republic of Congo also has the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. Kinshasa, the country’s capital, has a long rainy season from October to May. The city barely has any rain outside of these months. The country as a whole is usually cloudy and extremely humid.

After Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the second-largest country in Africa by land area. The country has a population of around 108 million, making it Africa’s third-largest country. Due to recent civil and political unrest, the country receives little tourism.

Uganda

View across Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda
Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

The equator runs through Uganda, a landlocked country in East Africa. The country’s most popular equator crossing is 32 km (20 mi) south of central Kampala, Uganda’s largest city and capital. The spot is marked by a sculpture that indicates the divide between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Uganda has a typical equatorial climate. The country has two rainy seasons each year: March to May and September to December. However, the northern region is outside the tropical belt and generally experiences one rainy season from March to October. Uganda experiences moderate temperatures throughout the year, around 22.8°C (73°F).

Tourists mainly visit Uganda for its wildlife and landscape, from the white-capped Rwenzori mountains to the great grassy savannas. Many visitors enjoy safaris in the country’s national parks and game reserves. Uganda has ten national parks and 12

Along with tree-climbing lions, chimpanzees, and elephants, the equator mark is a major attraction to the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The national park spans the equator line and has a sculpture that marks the point where it crosses latitude zero.

Kenya

Sunset over Kisumu Country, Kenya
Sunset over Kisumu Country, Kenya

Kenya’s portion of the equator runs 6 km (3.7 miles) north of central Kisumu, the third-largest city in the country. The equator also runs through the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya.

The climate along Kenya’s coast is tropical and has higher rainfall and temperatures than inland. Kenya’s climate becomes more arid the further inland you travel. This means there is little rain and vegetation.

Despite Kenya’s equatorial position, the country’s climate shares more similarities with the Southern Hemisphere than the Northern. The warmest months are usually from December to March, and the coolest months are from June to August. However, on the country’s highest mountains (Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, and Mount Elgon), the climate is very cold for most of the year, and the mountains often have snow.

Photo safaris are the main tourist attractions in Kenya. The country has 24 national parks and 15 national reserves, many of which are home to the Big 5 (African elephants, lions, leopards, Cape buffalos, and rhinoceros).

Somalia

Liido beach in Mogadishu, Somalia
Liido beach in Mogadishu

Somalia is the final African country on the equator, located in the Horn of Africa. The equator runs south of Jamame, a town in the southern lower Juba region of the country. There isn’t much seasonal variation in Somalia due to the country’s proximity to the equator. The country has an average mean temperature of around 30°С (86°F).

Somalia has arid deserts in the northeastern and central areas, with semiarid grassland plains in the northwest and southern regions. The country also has a tropical savanna climate in the south. Northeastern and southeastern areas in Somalia receive considerably more rain than the northeast.

The country has the longest coastline in Africa, with a length of over 3,333 km (2,071 mi). Somalia is separated from the Seychelles (the smallest country in Africa) by the Somali Sea.

The US government advises against travel to Somalia due to the high level of crime, terrorism and civil unrest. Medical facilities also have a limited capacity, and many rural areas don’t have access to medical assistance.

Indonesia

Equator Monument in Indonesia
The Equator Monument in North Pontianak, Indonesia

Moving along to Southeast Asia, the equator next runs through Indonesia. The island nation consists of 17,000 islands, of which the island of Java is the most populated.

The Equator Monument is located in the city of Pontianak, on the island of Borneo. This monument marks the equatorial divide between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The country’s first monument was built in 1928 before being completely rebuilt ten years later. It features four ironwood poles and a signpost on top. Twice a year (at the spring and autumn equinoxes), the sun casts no shadow on the monument. Locals and visitors commemorate the moment by gathering at the Equator Monument.

Due to its position on the equator line, the island nation of Indonesia enjoys even weather throughout the year. Indonesia has wet and dry seasons: the dry season tends to fall between May and October, while the wet season is from November through to April.

Bali, a province in Indonesia, is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning beaches, scenic rice fields, and delicious cuisine. Komodo National Park, on the Lesser Sunda Islands, is also a popular tourist spot, largely thanks to its famous Komodo dragons (the world’s largest lizard species).

Ecuador

Isabela in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
View from the island of Fernandina towards the island of Isabela in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Although the equator runs through hundreds of locations around the world, only one place is named after it. Ecuador means ‘equator’ in Spanish and is a shortened version of the country’s full title, República del Ecuador, which translates to ‘Republic of the Equator’.

Ecuador is the westernmost country that lies on the equator. The equator runs through Isabela Island in the Galápagos Islands, which belong to the Republic of Ecuador. Two volcanoes on Isabela Island (Volcan Ecuador and Volcan Wolf) lie directly on the equator line. Volcan Wolf is also the highest point on the island, with an elevation of 1,707 m (5,600 ft).

The equator also runs 24 km (15 mi) north of central Quito (the capital of Ecuador) and through the pre-Columbian ruins of Catequilla in the Pomasqui Valley.

The country’s Galápagos Islands are a major tourist attraction thanks to the diverse and endemic wildlife found on them. Ecuador’s amazing volcanoes, mountains, and picturesque monasteries are also big draws for tourists.

Each region in Ecuador has a different climate. The Galápagos Islands have a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 29°С (84°F) during the warm season from December to May. The cooler months are June to November, when the highest average temperature drops to 25.7°C (78°F). The climate in the Sierra (the central belt of Ecuador) doesn’t have much seasonal variation.

Colombia

Cocora Valley in Colombia
Cocora Valley, part of the Los Nevados National Natural Park

The equator passes 4.3 km (2.7 miles) north of Colombia’s border with Peru. As a result, Colombia has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation. The country has five natural regions with different climates: tropical rainforests, savannas, steppes, deserts, and mountain climates.

Colombia is one of the most humid countries in the world. January is the least humid month with 64.2% relative humidity, while November is the most humid month with 73.8% humidity. It’s the only South American country with coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, contributing to Colombia’s hot and humid tropical weather.

Tourists are generally advised against visiting Colombia due to the high level of crime and terrorism. US citizens are advised not to travel to Arauca, Cauca, Norte de Santander, and the Venezuela Border.

Brazil

A statue of thee equator line of Brazil
Point Zero on the equator in Macapá, the Capital city of Amapá State, Brazil

Brazil is the largest country in South and Latin America and the fifth largest in the world (in terms of land area). The equator runs through the Brazillian states of Amazonas, Roraima, Pará, and Amapá. It runs just outside of the city center of the state capital, Macapá.

The equator passes through the Marco Zero monument in downtown São Paulo. The monument was installed in 1934 and has been marked for historic preservation since 2007. It also marks the center of the city and is the official spot where roads, highways, rail lines, and telephone lines are marked.

Brazil has a tropical climate in the north, which changes to a temperate climate in the regions south of the Tropic of Capricorn. The Tropic of Capricorn is 23.4394 degrees south of the Equator and is the most southerly point where the sun appears directly overhead at noon.

The country is world-famous for its colorful carnivals, diverse wildlife, and long golden beaches. Some of the most famous tourist attractions include the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio and the Amazon River (the second-longest river in the world).

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