Position and size: Africa is the second largest continent of the world; stretches for approximately 35° on each side of the Equator, and is crossed by both the tropics.
Periphery: North – Mediterranean Sea, East – Indian Ocean, Red Sea, West Atlantic Ocean, South – Antarctic Ocean.
Physical Features: Africa is a plateau continent having very ancient crystalline rocks.
In the North Western Part: Lie the ranges of Atlas Mountains which belong to the Alpine Mountain System of Southern Europe and are folded mountains.
In the Southern Part : Lie older block mountains, i.e. the Swartzberg and Drakensberg Mountains.
In North: The Tibesti and Ahaggar Mountains of the Sahara make some prominent features.
In East: The Volcanic comes such as Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and Mt. Elogan are located in East Africa. Ethiopia is marked by a series of lakes like Lake Abaya, Lake Rudolf, etc. A large part of the plateau consists of a number of large basins, separated by divides.
Rivers and Drainage :The Nile, The Senegal, The Niger, The Congo, The Orange, The Limpopo, The Zambezi are important rivers
Climate: Africa, climatically can be divided into 7 regions:
Rainy tropical, (ii) Wet and dry Savannah (Low and High), (iii) Tropical Steppe, (iv) Tropical desert, (v) Humid Subtropical, (vi) Mediterranean and (vii) Undifferentiated Highlands.
The cold Canaries and Benguela current along the west coast of Africa have a cooling effect on neighboring coast.
The Warm Mozambique Current tends to warm southern coast.
Africa is the second largest continent on earth, approximately 11.7 million square miles.
Africa straddles the equator and is the only continent to extend from the northern temperate zone to the southern temperate zone.
Africa is the hottest continent on earth.
Africa covers 6 percent of the earth’s total surface and 20.4 percent of the total land area.
Cairo is the continent’s largest city.
Long before humans were around (the early Mesozoic Era) Africa was joined to the other continents in a massive continent called Pangaea. Over millions of years this huge continent broke apart shaping the world landscape as we know it today.
It is widely believed the African continent got its name from the ancient Romans. Upon defeating the ancient northern African city of Carthage, the Romans founded a province there they named Africa; named after the African tribe that inhabited the area.
Dallol in Northern Ethiopia has the world’s hottest average temperature. The average temperature in this locality is 93 degrees Fahrenheit (33.89 degrees Celsius).
Winds: Great part of Africa lies in the north east and south east Trade wind belts.
(i) Somali desert of Somalia
(ii) Dankali desert of northern Ethiopia, Namibia and Kalahari.
Note: Coarse grasses and scrubs are the only vegetation of this climate.
Africa – Animals
Africa is full of dangerous animals that account for thousands of human deaths per year. Mosquitos which can transmit numerous dangerous diseases such as malaria kill the most people. Other deadly animals include the hippopotamus, the deadliest mammal, and the Puff Adder, the most dangerous snake.
The world’s largest land animal is the African elephant.
The world’s tallest animal, the giraffe, lives in Africa.
The fastest land animal in the world, the cheetah, lives in Africa.
Africa is home to the world’s largest reptile, the Nile crocodile.
The gorilla, which can be found in the continents jungles, is the world’s largest primate.
The world’s largest frog, the goliath frog (also called the goliath bullfrog) lives in Africa. They can be found in the central African countries of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. They can grow to lengths of over 1 foot (30.5 centimeters).
Twenty five percent of the earth’s bird species live in Africa.
People of Africa
The African continent has the second largest population in the world, at about one billion people.
Well over one thousand languages are spoken by the people of Africa. Some estimates put this number closer to two thousand.
The largest religion in Africa is Islam, followed by Christianity.
The African population is approximately 14.72% of the world’s population .
The oldest human remains ever discovered were found in Ethiopia. They are approximately 200,000 years old.
Arabs, Berbers, Tuareg of desert : North Africa
The Pigmies : Congo Basin
The Bushman : Kalahari Desert
The Hottentots : South Africa
The Ovambo tribes : South West Africa
The Herero : South West Africa
Some important information about Africa
Major Safari Centre :Kenya
Rich Mineral district of Zaire : Katanga
Country that is Christian and Muslim : Ethiopia
Large lake in Sahara: Chad
Highest Mountain of Africa:Kilimanjaro
Country having highest percentage of nomadic herders : Somalia
The coasts of North west Africa and South West Africa (cape Town) has Mediterranean type of climate
River Congo crosses the equator twice
Island noted for spice exports : Zanzibar
South Africa is the leading producer of diamond and gold
Congo has the greatest hydroelectric potential in the world.
Common lingua franca across Eastern Africa : Swahili
Ghana was formerly known as ‘Gold Coast’ (British colony).
Nigeria is known as ‘Land of Palm Oil’.
Lake Tanganyika: A rift Valley Lake, world’s deepest lake (Kenya).
Most populated country of Africa is Nigeria. ‘Esparto Grass’ found in North Africa is used for paper making.
The Aswan Dam is situated on River Nile.
‘Port Said’ is the Northern Entrance to Suez Canal.
People of Katanga (Zaire) are known as Kasai Baluba.
Egypt is junction of the two continents, Asia and Africa.
To the west of Uganda, are the snow covered mountains of the ‘Ruwenzari Range’ known as ‘The Mountains of the Moon.’
Zanzibar and Pemba islands are well known for cloves.
Tanzania is well known for the ‘Sisal hemp’.
Coffee is produced by the progressive ‘Chagga’ Tribes on the fertile slope of
Kariba Dam famous for Hydro Electric Power is on River Zambezi.
Mozambique has the widest coastal plain in Africa.
Mozambique Channel separates Madagascar from Africa.
Cairo, the capital of Egypt, stands at the tip of the Nile deltas.
The whole savannah belt forms the actual Sudan, a word meaning ‘the land of the Blacks’, so called because of its Negro population.
River Nile is the longest river of Africa, emerging from Lake Victoria and draining into the Mediterranean Sea. A high class Arabian Coffee is produced in Ethiopia.
South Africa is the leading producer of maize in Africa, followed by Egypt.
Cotton is a leading export item from Uganda.
The longest river in the world, the Nile (4,132 miles), is located in Africa.
Africa has the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, which is almost the size of the United States.
Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in Africa; it is 355 feet high and one mile wide.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain on the continent. It towers over 19,300 feet, which is so tall that glaciers can be found at its summit even though the mountain is near the equator.
Madagascar is the largest island in Africa and the fourth largest island in the world. It is in the Indian Ocean off the East coast of Africa.
A plateau called Witwatersrand in South Africa has produced half of the gold ever mined on Earth.