African tripoints
Text by Michael Donner
Edited by Jesper Nielsen
active members of BoundaryPoint discussion group

Algeria-Mauritania-Western Sahara
Algeria-Morocco-Western Sahara
Angola (Cabinda)-Congo-Democratic Republic of Congo
Angola-DR Congo-Zambia

Benin-Burkina Faso-Niger
Benin-Burkina Faso-Togo
Botswana-Namibia-South Africa
Botswana-South Africa-Zimbabwe
Botswana-Zambia-Zimbabwe (and maybe Namibia)
Burkina Faso-Ghana-Ivory Coast
Burkina Faso-Ghana-Togo
Burkina Faso-Ivory Coast-Mali
Burkina Faso-Mali-Niger
Burundi-DR Congo-Rwanda
Burundi-DR Congo-Tanzania

Cameroon-Central African Republic-Chad
Cameroon-Central African Republic-Congo 
Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Gabon 
Central African Republic-Chad-Sudan 
Central-African Republic-Congo-DR Congo 
Central-African Republic-DR Congo-Sudan 

DR Congo-Rwanda-Uganda 
DR Congo-Sudan-Uganda 
DR Congo-Tanzania-Zambia 


Guinea-Guinea Bissau-Senegal 
Guinea-Ivory Coast-Liberia 
Guinea-Ivory Coast-Mali 
Guinea-Liberia-Sierra Leone 


Mozambique-South Africa-Swaziland(N) 
Mozambique-South Africa-Swaziland(S) 
Mozambique-South Africa-Zimbabwe 



no evidence of a definitive tripoint monument
but ordinary ground marking is perhaps impracticable in the prevailing
conditions  which may involve shifting dunes

geoposition was in some doubt as of 1979 pub date

n lat 23deg 30min 54sec0
e lon 11deg 59min 54sec6
per u s dept of state 1970

point was established by franco italian exchange of notes 12 sept 1919
on a ridge line in or near a locality known as garet derouet el djemel
at map reference point 1010

map evidence indicates a delimitation of the  algeria libya  boundary in
clear terms
but there is no mention of any demarcation in this remote sector

likewise the  algeria niger  & the  libya niger  boundaries were defined
without much detail in 1909
& are apparently not in dispute as a matter of principle
but also remained undemarcated as of 1979


in several places brownlie says
  & gideon incidentally agrees
the definitive tripoint marker is situated at boundary mark 220
  of the 1911 franco turkish demarcation
on a rocky gara near fort saint in southernmost tunisia

this mark lies 1600m west of mark 219
  now on the libya tunisia boundary
& 2100m east of mark 221
  on a rocky hill now on the algeria libya boundary

but elsewhere brownlie says
  following the u s dept of state 1972
the tripoint lies at an unspecified point between marks 220 & 221
in very roughly n lat 30d 13m 30s & e long 9d 33m 30s

note that these 2 versions could differ by as much as 2km

the discrepancy evidently arose because there were 2 slightly different
official maps of the provisional undetermined boundary between algeria &
tunisia dating from the french colonial period when this line was purely

until the matter is settled
tripoint seekers may be well advised to touch mark 220 & then proceed due
west to mark 221 so as to cover all eventualities

since both marks are on elevations they may prove to be intervisible
which could also be a help
but not as much help as finding the original french colonial maps

Algeria-Mauritania-Western Sahara

this one is especially problematic

there are some indications that pillar 40 of the 1956 franco spanish
boundary commission may serve as the definitive tripoint marker

but such an identification is not clearly made by brownlie
& moreover the tripoint position is shown variously on different maps

the conventional location based on colonial administrative practice is
w long 8d 40m  precisely  &
n lat 27d 17m 40s approximately
per french maps & the u s dept of state 1970

the tripoint is situated where a definite meridional boundary is met by a
somewhat ill defined oblique one

the oblique algeria mauritania boundary was undemarcated as of 1979

the meridional algeria western sahara boundary was marked by only 2 pillars
  numbers 40 & 41 of the above commission
each presumably tho not necessarily a terminus & tripoint

& the mauritania western sahara boundary continues along the same meridian
to its first turn point at pillar 39 of the same commission

thus it is likely but not a certainty that only the 3 critical points on
the meridional line are marked by pillars
with no other pillars in between

to compound the difficulty
the sovereignty & territorial integrity of western sahara are in dispute

if the claims of morocco are sustained
western sahara will not exist as an independent country
& this tripoint will belong to morocco instead
but the tripoint of morocco with algeria & western sahara will disappear


tripoint is not exactly fixed owing to a lack of demarcation of all 3
convergent boundaries
& is a matter of some doubt
tho it is marked on maps

it was generally established in the early 20th century by french colonial

a 1944 colonial publication gave geocoordinates of
n lat 19d 12m
e long 4d 16m

but the u s dept of state in 1975 gave
n lat 19d 08m 30s
e long 4d 14m 30s

this represents a difference of about 10km


there was evidently no definitive tripoint marker as of 1979
  nor were any of the 3 convergent boundaries demarcated
but the tripoint is indicated clearly on various maps
& no doubt exists as to its general location
n lat 25 degrees exactly
  as established by a 1963 treaty between mali & mauritania
& w long 4deg 50min approximately
as reported by u s dept of state 1970
  or where nlat25 meets the undemarcated oblique sw boundary of algeria
    established by a 1905 french colonial administrative decree

but he adds
it is clear that algeria is not bound by such third party determination as
the 1963 treaty unless by her conduct she has accepted it

however no contention on the point has been reported

Algeria-Morocco-Western Sahara

this one is problematic too

there are some clues that pillar 41 of the 1956 franco spanish boundary
commission may serve as the definitive tripoint marker

but no such explicit identification is made by brownlie

the conventional tripoint location
based on colonial administrative definition
n lat 27d 40m
w long 8d 40m

but of the 3 boundaries convergent there only the one separating algeria &
western sahara has been demarcated
& this is believed to terminate at pillar 41
which may therefore occupy the above geoposition

to add to the uncertainty
if the moroccan claim to western sahara is sustained
this tripoint will disappear entirely

Angola (Cabinda)-Congo-Democratic Republic of Congo

this is the cabinda exclave tripoint

it lies at a natural line intersection
where the chiloango river thalweg runs past the ridge of heights that mark
the cabinda congo boundary on the right bank of the river

pillar j of the angola congo series is located on a hill about 1 half mile
southwest of the tripoint
& it would appear to be the only witness mark

presumably the ridge line can be followed from the pillar down to & across
the river

the river divides the congo democratic republic from congo above the
tripoint & from cabinda below it

no geocoords are given for the tripoint
but the maps indicate it is approximately in
s lat 4d 39m &
e long 13d 6m

Angola-DR Congo-Zambia

incredibly the tripoint position is left in some doubt despite the fact
that all 3 of the convergent boundaries are demarcated
& despite the additional fact that 2 of the 3 follow a recognizable watershed

an anglo portuguese protocol of 1915 demarcated the eventual angola zambia
boundary southward from an initial point known as pillar 1
located at
s lat 10d 53m 18s3 &
e long 23d 59m 58s3 approx
per u s dept of state 1974
but there is no evidence that this point was ever explicitly accepted by
belgium or the congo democratic republic as the tripoint

nonetheless a 1915 belgo portuguese alignment
which would become the boundary between angola & the congo democratic republic
runs westwards along the congo zambezi watershed from an initial point also
known as pillar 1
probably yet not necessarily the same pillar 1 as in the above sequence
  for this identification is never explicitly made

& the unratified anglo belgian protocol of 1934 concerning the demarcation
of the boundary that separates the congo democratic republic from zambia
today indicated the tripoint is marked by a terminal pillar 46 in a series
also running from east to west along the congo zambezi watershed

it is unclear whether this pillar 46 is the same as pillar number 1
  or as either pillar number 1
& probably only a search of the area will settle this


definitive tripoint since 1964 is marked by a 1931 provisional beacon
designated either as number 9 in the westward series demarcating the
namibia zambia boundary
or else as number 32 in a southeastward series demarcating the lower angola
zambia boundary
but these are just 2 different names for 1 & the same object

its geoposition is
s lat 17d 38m 10s600 &
e long 23d 25m 47s604
just where the tree line above the left bank of the cuando river flood
plain crosses into the caprivi strip

the beacon consists of an iron auger driven 140cm into the ground
& directly over this on a cement concrete base is placed a cement concrete
block 46cm in both height & diameter

Benin-Burkina Faso-Niger

tripoint was not precisely fixed as of 1979
but is situated in the mekrou river at about
n lat 11d 54m 15s &
e long 2d 25m 10s

it was formerly a vague french colonial administrative trijunction in a
remote wilderness area

no official instrument describes its situation very clearly
tho it is depicted on maps at the end of a straight line sector of the
niger burkina faso boundary
nor is there even any indication whether the tripoint falls along the
thalweg or median line of the river

Benin-Burkina Faso-Togo

tripoint is probably unmarked on the ground
tho it lies at a junction of 3 straight line boundaries
at point 109 of the 1912 franco german delimitation
in n lat 11d 00m & approx e long 00d 55m


tripoint is fixed on median line of river niger
per 1906 anglo french agreement
about 3km north of a cairn at the madekale tuandi lolo road junction

at that time the anglo french boundary was moved about 20km down river
to compensate france for renouncing her fishing rights in newfoundland

w long 3d 45m
n lat 11d 45m
by very rough guess

Botswana-Namibia-South Africa

tripoint is where left bank of nossob river crosses e long 20d exactly
as demarcated between 1898 & 1903 by anglo german commission
& is at about s lat 24d 40m by my estimate


the following analysis is actually a slight simplification of brownlie
since there is much too much detail to repeat

it is unresolved whether the easternmost point of namibia forms only an
ordinary tripoint with corners of botswana & zambia
or whether it actually combines to form a quadripoint with the westernmost
point of zimbabwe also

& upon the resolution of this question hinges the further question of
whether botswana & zambia even share a common boundary at all or meet only
at the single common point

there is by contrast no possibility at all that namibia & zimbabwe share a
common border

but to add to the problem & confusion
there also exist 5 possible configurations of the overall conjunction as
well as various combinations of these

happily tho
the maximum possible difference amongst all the various probabilities
appears to be a matter of no more than a few hundred meters
& the entire area of uncertainty is apparently confined well within the
river confluence

nevertheless the hard truth for this particular tripoint appears to be that
its position can only be clearly stated at the present time if it is
considered not to exist per se but only in association with the zimbabwe
which point alone has the virtue of being positively fixed
namely at the thalweg junction of the zambezi & chobe rivers

but brownlie states
the quadripoint thesis as such would have to satisfy a high standard of proof
since it involves a considerable amount of coincidence among independent

in particular it involves an unwarranted assumption that a certain road
center line exactly coincides with the thalweg junction

& he emphasizes that there is no evidence that those devising the various
alignments ever had a quadripoint in view

his 10 pages on the quadripoint issue are posted beginning at
changing url to

the general vicinity for all this commotion is in
s lat 18d & e long 25d

depending on river turbulence &or other unknowns
tripoint &or quadripoint search should concentrate first on the definitive
zimbabwe corner at the visible thalweg junction
& then ascend westward to the bankhead between the rivers while sweeping
the greatest possible area of potential tripoint positions

would love to see a good map of this area tho

see also
botswana zambia zimbabwe

Botswana-South Africa-Zimbabwe

tripoint situated at confluence of rivers shashi & limpopo
but there is no agreement on its precise location

by my very rough guess
s lat 22d 30m
e long 29d 15m

Botswana-Zambia-Zimbabwe (and maybe Namibia)

the basic tripoint is fixed at the thalweg junction of the chobe & zambezi
& it also represents both the westernmost point of zimbabwe & the
northernmost point of botswana

  tho not quite the southernmost point of zambia

because of uncertainty dating back to colonial times
it is possible that the 3 countries already definitely convergent at this
point may also be joined there by an extreme rendition of the easternmost
point in namibia as well

for details of which see also
botswana namibia zambia

Burkina Faso-Ghana-Ivory Coast

tripoint on thalweg of black volta
at approx n lat 9d 29m 30s
& very approx w long 2d 40m

no witness mark
map evidence only

Burkina Faso-Ghana-Togo

the tripoint is defined as pillar 148 of the 1930 anglo french demarcation
& is situated on the river kulutamsi
at approx
n lat 11d 08m 13s
w long 0d 08m 09s

the demarcation was in process of being renewed in the 1970s

Burkina Faso-Ivory Coast-Mali

tripoint is at confluence of rivers bani & leraba
but whether at thalweg or median line junction is in doubt
as there is no documentation or agreement
but only old colonial maps

also rivers of the region have wayward tendencies due to seasonal variations
& indecisiveness caused by bad drainage

at very approx
n lat 10d 30m
w long 5d 00m

Burkina Faso-Mali-Niger

tripoint not fixed with certainty tho it is indicated hypothetically &
approximately on various maps

at about
n lat 14d 59m 30s
e long 0d 13m 30s

Burundi-DR Congo-Rwanda

tripoint expressly fixed by 1949 ordonnance at confluence of rivers luhwa &

presumed by u s state dept to be at thalweg junction
very roughly
s lat 2d 45m
e long 29d

Burundi-DR Congo-Tanzania

on median line of lake tanganyika
which however has not been determined precisely

at approx
s lat 4d 27m
& very roughly
e long 29d 30m


tripoint at thalweg junction of rivers mwibu & kagera

very roughly
s lat 2d 30m
e long 30d 30m

Cameroon-Central African Republic-Chad

tripoint is either on the thalweg of the mbere river or its median line
just downstream from the village of mbere in central african republic
at approx
n lat 7d 31m 40s
e long 15d 29m 40s
but this is based on map evidence only
since none of the 3 convergent boundaries was demarcated as of 1979

Cameroon-Central African Republic-Congo

tripoint is located in the river sangha presumably at the thalweg
just upstream from the village of bomassa congo
possibly involving a flood zone &or other local complication
based on an inconsistent french colonial administrative trijunction
at approx
n lat 2d 13m 20s
e long 16d 11m 30s
but this is also based on map evidence only
since none of the 3 convergent boundaries was demarcated here either


tripoint requires more precise determination
but has been fixed in southwestern lake chad since 1931 anglo french exchange
at n lat 13d 05m without qualification
yet for some reason only approximately at e long 14d 05m
possibly indicating a clerical oversight


tripoint is located in the intersection of the river ayina
with north latitude 2d 10m 20s
in very roughly e long 13d 15m
at the western terminus of the demarcated cameroun congo boundary
the state of whose markers however was unknown

Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Gabon

tripoint is located at
n lat 2d 10m 20s &
e long 11d 20m
where the demarcated cameroon equatorial guinea boundary meets the
demarcated equatorial guinea gabon boundary
at or near the confluence of the rivers kye & mvezeu on the cameroon gabon

Central African Republic-Chad-Sudan

tripoint was a matter of some uncertainty
owing to an imprecise description in a 1909 french administrative decree
but french official maps placed it
1km east of the mare de tizi
at the point where a small westward flowing stream crosses the undemarcated
boundary between the former anglo egyptian sudan & french equatorial africa
or at approx n lat 10d 57m & e long 22d 52m 30s
& maps by brownlie show this watercourse may be named aouk or nzili
or the pool of nzili

Central-African Republic-Congo-DR Congo

based on french administrative division
tripoint is presumptively on thalweg of ubangi river
based on maps by brownlie
also specifically at its confluence with the gouga river
just above the village of mboulou congo
& very roughly at
n lat 3d 30m
e long 18d 45m

Central-African Republic-DR Congo-Sudan

a candidate for global maxipoint
this tripoint is indicated by a huge heap of stones
on the ill defined congo nile watershed
but actually on a flat & featureless plain at
n lat 5d 01m 10s
e long 27d 26m 37s
where their 3 otherwise undemarcated boundaries meet


this unmarked tripoint is located near
or perhaps precisely at integral geocoordinates
n lat 23 & e long 15
possibly in shifting dunes or pebbles
so orthodox demarcation might have been futile anyway
with all 3 convergent boundaries well marked on maps
& reasonably clear in practice


tripoint fixed by colonial convention at
n lat 19d 30m &
e long 24
is indicated by a heap of stones
at junction of 3 otherwise undemarcated boundaries


tripoint is in northern lake chad
at n lat  either 13d 42m 29s  or approx 13d 42m 53s &
e long approx  either 13d 38m or 13d 38m 20s
  depending in both cases upon which page you believe
with the former latitude having been fixed by reference to the location of
an iron telegraph pole on a cemented base situated on the right side of the
mouth of the changeable river komadugu yobe about 1km south of the center
of the village of bosso niger
& the latter latitude arising from an unclear reference either to the
thalweg end or else to beacon number 148 located in the bush on the left
bank of the river either at its mouth or 30km upstream
& the longitude having been fixed 35km east of the center of bosso
but the net effect of all this cumulative uncertainty is that the tripoint
might fall anywhere within an area of several dozen hectares

DR Congo-Rwanda-Uganda

tripoint is the highest summit of mt sabinio or ssabinjo
at very roughly
s lat 1d 20m &
e long 29d 40m

DR Congo-Sudan-Uganda

unmarked tripoint at approx
n lat 3d 27m 40s &
e long 30d 50m 30s
was located imprecisely in 1914 british colonial order
& is described in the uganda constitution of 1967 as
a point about 300m south of the source of the river kaia

DR Congo-Tanzania-Zambia

indeterminate tripoint probably on the median line of lake tanganyika
northeast of an unknown cape at the north end of cameron bay
probably erroneously named cape akalunga
where it is met by an indeterminate congo democratic republic & zambia
boundary proceeding straight from the north end of lake mweru
or in other words at about
s lat 8d 13m or 8d 15m &
e long 30d 40m very roughly
a position actually in between capes kipimbi & pungu


tripoint is evidently at or near primary monument 92 of the 1954 djibouti
ethiopia demarcation
at n lat 12d 31m 31s552 &
e long 42d 27m 42s340
but the identification is not explicitly made by brownlie


tripoint is at primary monument or pillar number 1 aka madaha djallelo
of 1953 franco ethiopian commission
in very roughly
n lat 11d &
e long 43d 57m


tripoint was fixed by 1925 italo egyptian treaty at
n lat 22 & e long 25 tho a typo by brownlie says 24e
& it is shown by his maps perhaps 5km nw of jebel uweinat
but it was evidently still unmarked in 1979
despite some demarcation nearby of the libya sudan boundary


later than brownlie & hence not mentioned as such by him
but it can be deduced that this tripoint falls where the river setit
crosses the established ethiopia sudan boundary
opposite the mouth of the khor royan
& just northeast of the village of umbrega sudan
at very roughly
n lat 14d 15m &
e long 36d 25m
based on his maps
or possibly e long 36d 37m according to a 1901 anglo italian agreement
while notes of a 1903 eritrea sudan commission also indicate that the
boundary started from a point marked by an iron post on the right bank of
the setit immediately opposite the mouth of the khor royan
despite the fact that the royan actually enters from the right bank


tripoint is on the thalweg of the daua river
according to one description
about 450m upstream from malca rie
& according to another
opposite pillar 1 of the kenya somalia boundary
which stands on the right bank
about 650m nw of the police post on the mandera dolo gedo road
at n lat 3d 58m 57s92 &
e long 41d 54m 36s43


the precise location of the tripoint remains to be determined
but it is probably at or near a rectangular pyramid called pillar d23
marking the terminus of the ethiopia kenya boundary survey
& situated on the shore of the former sanderson gulf of nw lake rudolf
about 200m south of the southeastern end of a rocky ridge called okolon
&or  depending on texts
due east of the northernmost point of the northernmost crest of the long
spur running north from mt lubur
& just northeast of the village of namuruputh kenya
at very roughly
n lat 4d 30m &
e long 35d 55m

Guinea-Guinea Bissau-Senegal

tripoint is marked by pillar 58 of the guinea guinea bissau survey
standing at approx
w long 13d 42m 30s &
n lat 12d 40m 30s
tho the convergent senegal boundary with guinea bissau was previously fixed
by convention at n lat 12d 40m

Guinea-Ivory Coast-Liberia

tripoint is not precisely fixed
but is located somewhere on mt nuon in the nimba mts
evidently at or near the source of the river nuon
& just northeast of the village of nimba liberia
at very roughly
n lat 7d 35m &
w long 8d 25m

Guinea-Ivory Coast-Mali

the tripoint has not been fixed on the ground
but is located on various maps
at approx
n lat 10d 24m &
w long 7d 42m

Guinea-Liberia-Sierra Leone

on the left or south bank of the river makona or moa
at the junction of the dundugbia stream bed median line
witnessed or actually marked by cairn or pillar 1 of the 1911 anglo
liberian survey
  which stands in the center of the dundugbia 3 meters from confluence
if not also by a broad arrow marking on a tree in sierra leone 6m to the west
& by a star marking on a tree in liberia 10m to the east
at very roughly
n lat 8d 30m &
w long 10d 20m


unmarked tripoint is on the balin ko or upper faleme river
whether on the median line or thalweg or right bank is unclear
& along the crest of the konkoniouma mts
at very roughly
n lat 12d 25m &
w long 11d 20m


undemarcated tripoint described simply as
north of mt zulia
or approx 31 & a half miles on a bearing of 44d 45m from triangulation
point 9y1 on the summit of jebel urongo
or again as
the southernmost point at the bottom of jebel harogo
at very roughly
n lat 4d 15m &
e long 34d


tripoint is in lake victoria
at s lat 1d &
approx e long 33d 56m


disputed tripoint is either at the median line of the mouth of the txuinde
on the east shore of lake nyasa
in about e long 34d 55m
or at the median line of lake nyasa due west of the txuinde median line
in about e long 34d 40m
but in either case at s lat 11d 34m 30s


marked but still provisional tripoint is apparently
either beacon 1 of the 1899 anglo portuguese survey
precise geoposition unknown
probably on the peak chorasanu
& definitely along the crest of the zambezi nyasa watershed
aka the dzalanyama range
or else it is a cement masonry pillar named beacon 38 of the 1904 anglo
portuguese survey
situated just southeast of the former beacon
at precisely s lat 14
yet only approx e long 33d 14m 32s
but this is a very complex & difficult tripoint to pin down
with brownlie offering 97 pages on the malawi mozambique boundary alone
& including several mutually conflicting data about the tripoint itself


tripoint marked by pillar 2 of the 1898 demarcation
at nankungulu hill evidently on the nyasa zambezi watershed
or s lat 9d 22m &
e long 33
but possibly replaced or rebuilt in 1935
& there is an unexplained reference also to a certain pillar 582


tripoint lies evidently at or near confluence of rivers senegal & faleme
probably on north bank of senegal
but possibly on its thalweg or median line
at very roughly
n lat 14d 45m &
w long 12d 15m

Mozambique-South Africa-Swaziland(N)

mpundweni or mponduine beacon
aka pillar 1 or i
on crest of lebombo mts
X = 31.975708 31degrees, 58 minutes, 32.55 seconds
Y = -25.952045 -25degrees, 57 minutes, 07.36 seconds
Height = 0.008337

Mozambique-South Africa-Swaziland(S)

the tripoint is on the crest of the lebombo mts
in very roughly
s lat 26d 50m &
e long 32d
probably on the median line or thalweg of the great usutu aka maputo river
but the exact relationship of the tripoint to the river is uncertain

Mozambique-South Africa-Zimbabwe

this tripoint is hard to determine with confidence
but it may lie at the junction of the fafuri & limpopo rivers
near beacon xiv of a 1927 portuguese south african survey
standing 200 meters from the bank & 321 meters from the confluence
in rather thick scrub & reeds on sandy ground
which however is under water when the rivers are in flood
or else the tripoint lies at the junction of the limpopo thalweg & the
prolongation of a final straight line sector of the mozambique zimbabwe
boundary marked nearby by pillar 1
according to a later anglo portuguese treaty & survey
if indeed these 2 descriptions are not merely different ways of defining
the same point
all together in any case situated at very roughly
s lat 22d 20m &
e long 31d 20m


tripoint is the thalweg junction of the zambezi & loangwa
at very roughly s lat 15d 35m &
approx e long 30d 25m 30s


tripoint is the thalweg junction of the kagera & kakitumba
at very roughly
s lat 1d 05m &
e long 30d 20m