The district is marked off from the adjoining areas outside the State by the Western Ghats which run parallel to the sea and constitute an almost continuous mountain wall on the eastern side. The Ghats dominate the topography. The coastline is fringed with low cliffs alternating with stretches of sand.
A few miles to the interior, the scene changes and the sand level rises towards the barrier of the Ghats and transforms into low red laterite hills interspersed with paddy fields and coconut gardens.

Based on physical features, the District falls in to three natural division.
The low land, bordering the sea, the mid land consisting of the undulating
country and the forest, clad high land on the extreme east. There are mainly
four types of soils namely, sandy, sand loam, laterite and hill or forest soil.
The sandy and the sandy loam soils exist as a continuous narrow belt all along
the Western coast about 20 Kms in width.

The land of the district can be categorized in detail as follows.

(a) Steeply slopy hill lands,
(b) Upland plateau,
(c) Deep gorges with steep side slopper and very narrow valleys.
(d) Border valleys bounded by subdued hills,
(e) Coastal plain and marine plain, and
(f) Nearly level lowland plains along the coastal plain.


There are 12 rivers in this district.
The longest is Chandragiri (105 kms) originating from Pattimala in Coorg and
embraces the sea at Thalangara, near Kasargod. The river assumes its name Chandragiri from the