Africa Notes Physical Geography of Africa

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Africa Notes

Physical Geography of Africa
Size and Climate

  • Second Largest continent in the world

  • 800 million people

  • 15% of it is considered desert

  • 10% of it is considered tropical rainforest

  • 35% of it is considered savanna/grasslands

  • Climates consist of Mediterranean, mountain, tropical wet and dry, rainy and mild, wet and mild

Population and Diversity

  • 800 Ethnic Groups (this includes Asians, Europeans, and Arabs)

  • 100 languages are spoken in Africa (40 of which have more than one million speakers)

  • Over 40% of Africans practice a wide variety of traditional religions. (Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are practiced in Africa)

Agricultural Diversity

  • Following crops are the main ones grown in different regions of Africa – Rice, wheat, maize, root crops(yams, sweet potatoes), oil palm, tea, cocoa, coffee, wine, sugar, tobacco, cotton, sisal (fiber for making rope or twine)

Facts and Figures

  • Largest country – Algeria

  • Smallest country – Seychelles

  • Largest city – Cairo (9.2 million)

  • Highest point – Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340ft)

  • Largest lake – Lake Victoria (second –largest in the world)

  • Deepest lake – Lake Tanganyika (second deepest freshwater lake in the world after Lake Baikal)


  • Malaria – 90% of all malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa

  • 3,000 children under the age of five die each day from malaria in Africa

  • 1-5% of GDP in Africa covers costs of malaria control and lost labor days

  • 17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS

  • 25 million people in Africa are HIV-positive

  • 12 million children have lost their parents to AIDS

Facts and Figures

  • Nile River – longest river in the world (4,132 miles) and Africa. Originates at Lake Victoria

Great Rift Valley – 3,000 miles from Syria to Mozambique – two branches – the Eastern Rift and the Western

  • Which hemisphere is Africa located?

  • Which hemisphere is Africa located?

  • What major bodies of water surround the continent of Africa?

Quiz time ….

  • Which country is the only country to border both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean?

  • Which country is the only country to border both the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean?


(What makes Africa different from other places?)

  • What types of climate does Africa have?

  • What types of physical features are there in Africa?

  • What are the major physical features of Africa?

Lake Tanganyika

  • Second largest lake of Africa

  • Longest lake of the world 481 miles

  • Deepest lake on the African continent

  • Second deepest in the world (Lake Baikal in Russia is the deepest) 4,800

  • Oldest lake in Africa.


  • The world’s largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut.

  • With a population of more than 113 million, Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and the 10th most populated in the world.

  • The average poor person in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to live on just $.70 a day

  • The average life expectancy on the African continent ranges from 74 years in the island nation of Mauritius to just under 32 years in sub-Saharan Swaziland

  • There are fewer people with internet connections in Africa than there are in just New York City.

  • An elephant can drink up to 160 liters of water per day and a mature elephant can carry up to 6.8 liters of water in its trunk

  • The Sahara is the largest desert in the world and is bigger than the continental USA.

  • Over 90% of soils are unsuitable for agriculture and only 0.25% has moderate to low potential for sustainable farming.

  • South Africa has a penguin colony

  • Almost 40% of adults in Africa are illiterate – two-thirds are women. Adult literacy rates are below 50% in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

  • The world’s biggest frog is found in Cameroon – the “Goliath Frog” – body can be as long as a foot

  • The Nile crocodile is Africa’s largest living reptile

  • Over 50% of Africans are under the age of 25.

  • The tallest animal on earth is the giraffe

  • The Gorilla is the largest of the living primates

  • Africa is the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped continent with a continental GDP that accounts for just 2.4% of global GDP

  • The world’s largest and heaviest beetle, the Goliath Beetle, is found in tropical Africa. It can reach a length of 5 inches and weigh up to ¼ lb

  • Africa has over 25% of the world’s bird species.

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