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Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa, between the 7th and 10th parallels north of the equator. Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea to the north and northeast, Liberia to the south and southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
In the central part of the country is a region of lowland plains, containing forests, bush and farmland, that occupies about 43% of Sierra Leone's land area. Starting in the west, Sierra Leone has some 400 km (249 mi) of coastline, giving it both bountiful marine resources and attractive tourist potential. This is followed by low-lying mangrove swamps, rain-forested plains and farmland. The national capital Freetown sits on a coastal peninsula, situated next to the Sierra Leone Harbor, the world's third largest natural harbour.
The climate is tropical, with two seasons determining the agricultural cycle: the rainy season from May to November, and a dry season from December to May, which includes harmattan, when cool, dry winds blow in off the Sahara Desert and the night-time temperature can be as low as 16 °C (60.8 °F). The average temperature is 26 °C (78.8 °F) and varies from around 26 °C (78.8 °F) to 36 °C (96.8 °F) during the year.
Agriculture is a primary occupation in Sierra Leone, employing two-thirds of the labour force and accounting for 50% of GDP. Most Sierra Leoneans live on small, scattered farms.
Cocoa is grown in the Kenema and Kailahun districts of the Eastern Province and in the Pujehun District of the Southern Province, mainly on smallholdings of about 0.4–1.2 hectares. The Ministry of Trade and Industry estimates that some 42 000 hectares are dedicated to cocoa.
Mineral resources are fairly well distributed and include diamonds, chromite, and reserves of rutile (titanium dioxide) that are among the world’s largest. There are iron ore reserves, but these are no longer commercially mined. Other minerals include bauxite, columbite (a black mineral of iron, manganese, and niobium), gold, and platinum, largely in the southern plateau region.