The Kazangulu Ferry crosses the Zambezi River and will take you between the two countries that share the world’s
shortest land border. Which technically goes through a river. Creative Commons licensed photo by Mirko Raner.
While I was at it with border trivia, I started wondering which two countries share the shortest land borders. The 40 island nations of the world naturally have no land borders, so they are not even granted permission to this little competition. Overse territories and enclaves have also been left out (sorry, David Hemingway).

The fastest men on earth can in theory run along the shortest land border in less than 15 seconds. If they do a Jesus copycat and run on water. Or if someone anchors up a floating track. You up for arranging that race, Botswana and Zambia? Although I guess Zimbabwe and Namibia would have to agree to fit in spectators. 

The border is practically speaking a border of four countries, although Namibia and Zimbabwe are in reality separated by those 150 meters in question. The Kazangulu Ferry actually makes it possible to go from Botswana to Zambia or vice versa across the Zambezi River only a short drive upstream from Victoria Falls. 
There are 11 land borders in the world that are shorter than a marathon, 42,195 meters. Number 11 between Algeria and Western Sahara is totally straight. How about that for a desert marathon with the runners not having to turn even once? The challenge is up!
1. Botswana-Zambia: 0.15 kilometers
2. Italy-Vatican: 3.2 kilometers
3. France-Monaco: 4.4 kilometers
4. Egypt-Palestine: 11 kilometers
5. North Korea-Russia: 19 kilometers
6. Croatia-Montenegro: 25 kilometers
7. Austria-Liechtenstein: 34.9 kilometers
8. Armenia-Iran: 35 kilometers
9. Italy-San Marino: 39 kilometers
10. Liechtenstein-Switzerland: 41 kilometers
11. Algeria-Western Sahara: 42 kilometers (there should be a marathon along this border)
Some people claim there is a land border of 0.1 kilometer between Sri Lanka and India on Rama’s Bridge, but I cannot see that this is accurate. Feel free to disagree below.

Should you still wish to add enclaves and such, it’s worth to mention Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera. It is a tiny Spanish enclave that shares an 85 meter long (0.085 kilometers) border with Morocco. Nor should Gibraltar be entirely neglected. It was after all famously twinned with the port town of Goole in Yorkshire back in the days. The British Overseas Territory shares a 1.2 kilometer long border with Spain. 

Source: Wikipedia

17 COMMENTS

  1. Funny you should mention Kazungula. I just heard from @livilodge five minutes ago that they're building a bridge across the Zambezi – which would make the "runable" part even shorter.

  2. China/Macau 0.34 Km
    Turkey/ Azerbaijan 9 km

    Island divisions –

    Sint Maarten(Netherlands)/Saint Martin(France)10.2 km
    Kataja Sweden/Finland 0.19 km

  3. Most of these are well thought out, but you definitely missed Azerbaijan-Turkey at 9 km, as another commenter noted.

  4. There is a border between France and the UK located within the Eurotunnel. Its location is defined in the 1986 Treaty of Canturbery. I don't know the length of this border but I guess it can be estimated by adding the diameters of the 3 tubes of the tunnel: 2 for the traffic of 7.6m and one for security/ventilation of 4.8m). That makes it a 20m border, or 0.02 kilometer.

  5. The Dominican Republic/ Haiti Frontier. The only island with two different countries, different languages, religion, etc.

  6. Sint Maarten, Timor, New Guinea, Ireland, St. Maarten all have two different countries on them.
    Of note is also, Cuba with Guantanamo bay.
    Sakhalin, which used to be divided between Russia and Japan.
    Hans Island, which is disputed. Denmark Maintains it owns the whole island, Canada claims almost exactly half, giving it a landborder that is VERY short. The island is 1/2 of a square mile, far north of the arctic circle, and has no natural resources or people.
    Samoa is divided between Samoa (formerly Western Samoa) and American Samoa, a U.S. territory.
    Diomedes, two islands less than 2 miles apart are split between Russia and the U.S.

    Cyprus has the Republic of Cyprus, and two different British military bases that share a land border. While these territories are the only fully-recognized territorial claims, the northern 37% of Cyprus is a Turkish-backed De Facto country called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It is, for all intents and purposes, a country.
    Borneo has three countries (Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore)
    Mauritius and a French colony are very close together.
    Greenland used to be home to both Norwegian and Danish claims.
    Some islands have internal divisions. Nunavut and the Northwest territories in Canada are such examples.
    There are likely more examples, such as ones on lakes instead of open ocean.

  7. You are are missing a couple borders, or should add a few footnotes.
    Armenia's borders are not limited to what you see on a map. Nagorno-Karabakh is under effective Armenian control, although it is, in the very, very simplest meaning, not formally part of Armenia due to lingering tensions over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Karabakh shares a long border with Iran, knocking armenia off the list.
    It really is effectively part of Armenia. The territory is only accessibly from Armenia, uses the Armenian Dram, and is protected by the regular Armenian army. The first president of Nagorno-Karabakh became prime minister of Armenia the day he left office as president of Karabakh. He later became Armenian president. Of the three Armenian presidents since independence, two were born in Karabakh, and one was born in Syria.

    Cueta, Melilla, and an Penon de Valez de la Gomera are part of metropolitan Spain, and are on the north coast of Africa. They are not overseas territories, you can see Spain from Cueta for pete sake. Penon de Valez de la Gomera shares the shortest land border in the world with Morocco. It is about 75 meters.

    Egypt-Gaza border. Gaza is basically its own mess-up very complicated country for many purposes. It is not part of Egypt or Israel, either by claim or by reality. Egypt shares a very short land border.

    Hans island is an uninhabited knoll in the arctic. It is extremely small. Half of the island is claimed by Canada, the whole island is claimed by Denmark. You should include a footnote of a disputed territory.

    Guantanamo bay.

    India and Bangladesh share a number of very convoluted enclaves. Even though you said no enclaves, Many of these are mind-numbingly small or convoluted.

    While you mentioned no overseas territories, Gibraltar and the sovereign base areas in Cyprus share short land borders. I have been to gibraltar, and I was able to see the entire Spanish-Gibraltan border.

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