A map of Western Africa typically includes the 18 countries that make up this region along with its major cities, capitals and international boundaries. A few countries that are part of West Africa and are typically shown on such maps are Benin, Guinea, Ghana, Cape Verde, Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Niger and Nigeria. Some maps also show the main rivers in this area including the Niger, Senegal and Volta rivers, notes MSU.edu.
Most maps of West Africa show the capital cities denoted by a star and major cities by a circle. For example, on the map provided by the NationsOnline.org, the capitals of Senegal, Niger, Mali and Nigeria are Dakar, Niamey, Bamako and Lagos, respectively. This map also gives the largest cities in these different nations. In Benin, the most populous cities are Cotonou, Djougou, Porto-Novo and Parakou; however, Porto-Novo is the capital of this country. On most maps, lines depict the international boundaries between different nations.
There are also other types of maps for West Africa, including physical environment and population density maps. The West Africa region has a variety of different environments ranging from rainforest to desert regions. Maps may also show savanna grasslands, deciduous forests and steppes. Different colors are used to represent these different regions on a physical environment map.