Africa Facts

  • Africa is the world’s second largest continent. It stretches from the Mediterranean in the north to the Cape of Good Hope in the south. It has a total area of 30,131,536 sq km.
  • Africa is the world’s warmest continent, lying almost entirely within the tropics or subtropics.
  • Temperatures in the Sahara Desert are the highest on Earth, often soaring over 50°C.
  • The Sahara in the north of Africa, and the Kalahari in the south, are the world’s largest deserts. Most of the continent in between is savannah (grassland) and bush. In the west and centre are lush rainforests.
  • Africa is a vast, warm, fairly flat continent covered in savannah, desert and tropical forest.
  • In the savannah (grassland) trees and bushes are scarce and new grass only grows when the rainy season comes.
  • Much of Africa consists of vast plains and plateaux, broken in places by mountains such as the Atlas range in the northwest and the Ruwenzori in the centre.
  • The Great Rift Valley runs 7200 km from the Red Sea. It is a huge gash in the Earth’s surface opened up by the pulling apart of two giant tectonic plates.
  • Africa’s largest lake is Victoria, 69,484 sq km.Africa’s highest mountain is Kilimanjaro, 5895 m high.
  • The world’s biggest sand dune is 430 m high — Erg Tifernine in Algeria.
  • The river Nile is the world’s longest river, measuring 6738 km long.
  • Africa has been inhabited longer than any other continent. The earliest human fossils were found here.
  • In the north in countries such as Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, people are mainly Arabic.
  • The Berber people were the first people to live in northwest Africa, with a culture dating back to at least 2400Bc. Their culture survives in remote villages in the Atlas mountains of Algeria and Morocco.
  • Tuaregs are camel-herding nomads who live in the Sahara desert, but much of their traditional grazing land has been taken over by permanent farms.
  • South of the Sahara most people are black Africans.
  • There are more than 3000 ethnic groups of black Africans
  • Over 1000 different languages are spoken in Africa. World geography
  • Most people in southern Africa speak English or one of 100 Bantu languages such as Zulu or Swahili.
  • Many people in rural southern Africa live in round houses.
  • Africa was ruled by the Europeans as colonies. By the early 1900s the country was divided into nations. Many small groups became dominated by tribes and cultures perhaps hostile to their own.