Africa, located in the south of Europe, and between the Atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean, is one of the most populous continents in the world. The world’s second-largest continent is home to around 1.4 billion people, accounting for 16.75% of the total human population (as of 2022) as stated by the United Nations.
1. Basic Facts About Africa
- Africa covers an area of about 30.37 million kilometres square.
- Some of the widely spoken languages include English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, and Arabic. Along with these, there are roughly around 1250-3000 different native languages spoken in the continent as well.
- Its estimated population of humans as of June 2022 according to the United Nations is 1.4 billion people.
- Christianity and Islam are the most widely followed religions on the continent and then come to their own several traditional faiths.
- According to the United Nations, as of 2o22, the African continent consists of fifty-four countries in total. Some of the popular countries include South Africa, Algeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Morocco.
2. Quick Facts About Africa
# It is the second-largest continent in the world, just after Asia.
# Africa is home to the world’s largest hot desert- The Sahara desert. Its climate is very hot and dry.
# It is also home to the world’s longest river, The Nile River. It flows through numerous countries across the continent and serves as one of the main water sources for countries like Sudan, South Sudan, and Egypt. The river covers a rough distance of about 6,852 kilometers.
# Africa is filled with the most hidden gems and stones. In fact, the majority of the gold and diamond in the world is mined from Africa itself!
# More than 2000 languages are spoken on the continent, Arabic being the main one.
# According to numerous shreds of evidence collected, it is suggested that our earliest ancestors originated from this place. Most of the fossil remains are of the homo sapiens species, which is the same species that we belong to as well.
# The San people are the oldest tribe in Africa. They’re the direct descendants of the first Homo Sapiens species. They have previously lived in Southern African countries like Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Angola for over 20,000 years.
# Africa is the world’s hottest continent.
# The largest African country is Algeria. It is located in the northwestern region of Africa, with a coastline on the Mediterranean sea.
# However, despite being only one-third of the size of Algeria, Nigeria is the most populous country on the continent, accounting for about 206.1 million people.
# The largest city in the continent is Lagos, which is in Nigeria and is home to more than 22 million residents.
# The smallest country in Africa is Seychelles. It is a cluster of islands lying in the Indian ocean. Seychelles is also the African country with the least human population (around 98,462 as of 2020). Victoria is the smallest city in Africa, which is also in Seychelles.
# The largest island on the continent is Madagascar which lies in the Indian ocean.
# Lake Victoria is the largest lake on the continent, also being the second largest lake in the world. This lake borders the countries Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.
# Lake Assal, which is located in Djibouti lies 155 meters (509 feet) below sea level and is considered the third-lowest point on Earth’s surface (it falls right behind the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee).
# While most of the countries in Africa have access to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Indian ocean, there are sixteen countries that are landlocked and are located within central Africa.
# The Cape Floral Region in South Africa has countless varieties of plants in the world.
# Mansa Musa is one of the richest men in history and he is from Africa. He was the tenth emperor of the Mali empire. By 1937, the year of his death, it is estimated that his net worth was around somewhere in the range of US $300 billion to the US $400 billion in converted dollars for the late 2000s.
# Northern Africa is mostly covered by the Sahara desert and semi-arid Sahel zone. Central Africa includes rainforests and coastal plains. It also contains Africa’s highest mountains and largest lakes. Southern Africa is on a high plateau.
# One of Africa’s main occupations for the locals is agriculture. About 65% of all Africans indulged in agriculture and farming. Since Africa is home to a lot of the world’s natural resources and minerals as well, this job fits in this region of the world quite well.
# In South Africa, are the Tugela Falls which are the continent’s highest waterfalls. There’s also the Blyde River Canyon in South Africa which is the largest green canyon in the world.
# The African continent includes some of the largest species and sizes of mammals in the world. Out of these mammals, the African Elephant is the largest land mammal, the giraffe is the tallest animal, and the cheetah is the fastest land animal.
# Many of the world’s endangered species are also a part of Africa. Such species include Black Rhinoceros, African wild dog, African bush elephant, Bonobo, Pangolin, and even Northern Bald Ibis.
# There are many national parks in Africa that are open for tourists and locals to go visit and witness some of the most amusing and endangered species and animals in the world.
# Cape Town is a city on the southern tip of the African continent and constitutes about five million residents living in it. With this, it also become one of the most populous cities in the world.
# Africa is also home to one of the world’s oldest universities- The University of Karueein. It was founded in 859AD by Fatima al-Fihri in Fez. This educational institution operates currently as well.
3. Tourist Attractions In Africa
Annually, there are millions and millions of tourists going to the African continent to attain an experience they’ve never had before. With a mix and blend of nature, wildlife, hot climate, and deserts to cities, parties, markets, and social events; Africa is known to offer a mixed plate of delights to its tourists. Some of the most visited and recommended attractions of tourists on this continent are as follows:
3.1. Table Mountain in Cape Town
Table Mountain in South Africa is one of the most iconic landmarks of Africa where millions of people come to enjoy the view and scenery from the top of the mountain.
3.2. Pyramids of Egypt
The Egyptian Pyramids are the ancient memory structures situated in Egypt which lies in the east of Africa. These pyramids hold centuries of stories and are a major attraction for most of the tourists visiting the continent.
3.3. Victoria Falls
Providing habitat to millions of species of plants and animals, Victoria Falls is located in the Zambezi River in Southern Africa.
Located in the westernmost part of North Africa, Morocco is the ideal place to experience a mix of cultural diversity, architectural pieces, amusing monuments, and fabulous palaces. One can also enjoy the various types of markets and natural areas such as deserts and mountains in Morocco.
3.5. Kruger National park
Located in South Africa, the Kruger national park is the perfect place to go if you want to witness some of the most fabulous and mysterious animals, birds, and species. From extinct species to the largest mammals, this park includes a supreme diversity of species.
Along with the other small islands in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is located on the eastern side of Africa and is also one of the most visited African countries as a tourist destination. A lot of honeymoon couples also come to this place to enjoy their vacation.
3.7. Mount Kilimanjaro
Located in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano. It is also the highest mountain in Africa (the mountain’s height is about 5,895 meters above sea level). It is also referred to as the highest point in Africa.
Well, these were some of the most famous and widely known tourist destinations on the African continent.
4. Countries In Africa
4.1. North Africa
Most of northern Africa lies along the coasts of the Mediterranean sea. The atlas mountains cover the northwestern part, and the red sea covers the eastern part.
Northern Africa consists of six countries- Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and one disputed territory-Western Sahara. There is a significant influence of the Islamic religion and values in this region.
North Africa is also of great importance in terms of the continent’s economy. This part of Africa generates about one-third of the continent’s GDP. Mainly, Libya’s oil production is relatively high, which has been one of the major contributing factors.
North Africa has also been associated with West Asia with aim of forming the Middle East-north African region. This way, it is also intersecting the Arab World and Africa. Also, because this region has a strong Islamic population and influence, a lot of Arabs and Middle Easterns look forward to this region.
4.2. West Africa
The western part of Africa usually refers to the countries present in the north of the Gulf of Guinea which is located in the northwestern part of the African continent. In the north, it is covered by the Sahara desert and the Sahel Zone. About four hundred and twelve million people live in West Africa as of 2021.
There are a total of sixteen countries in West Africa- Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. There is also one British overseas territory- Saint Helena.
Most of the west African countries such as the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal play significant roles in the regional economy of Africa as well as the global economies.
Several distinct regions have strong biodiversity, which makes the region ecologically quite rich.
West Africa is also known for its cultural diversity and rich history. There are eye-catching landscapes, places for sightseeing, multiple forts, and glamorous and unique mud architecture as well.
One very interesting fact about the people of West Africa is that they are very much into music and it has been a very significant part of their lives. The West African musical traditions have always influenced the art in the region itself and around.
4.3. Central Africa
Also known as Middle Africa or Equatorial Africa, Central Africa is the tropical portion of the African Continent. Approximately, about one eighty-five million people live in Central Africa as of 2021.
There are nine countries in Central Africa- Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. The last one is the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe.
Central Africa is very rich in fields of natural resources and it also contains the second-largest tropical forest area in the world.
This region is particularly also very important as a source of raw materials such as wood and oil. The oil obtained from this region is used in many industrialized countries in the European Union.
The most famous park in Central Africa in the Virunga National Park situated in Congo. It is home to numerous fascinating mammals such as elephants, lions, forest hogs, mountain gorillas, and okapis. This very region includes the Kahuzi-Biega National Park.
This region also includes a lot of Africa’s most profitable mineral resources- gold and diamonds.
4.4. East Africa
This is the Eastern portion of the African continent. Some people also refer to it as the former British colonial areas. Approximately, about four hundred and fifty-seven million people live in East Africa as of 2021.
There are nineteen countries that fall in East Africa- Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Réunion (France), Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia and Somaliland, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. In this region, the most populous country in Ethiopia, and the least is Seychelles.
East Africa is very well-known for its rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. These resources are well-used to raise economic growth, subsequently, improving the lifestyles of people there.
Nevertheless, there are various threats showing warning signals in this region especially. Factors such as wildlife crime, wildlife conflicts, urban expansion, and rapid climate change can really affect this region’s potential deeply if not taken care of.
The Great Rift Valley is a very important geographical feature in this region. This valley extends from the north through the middle to the south of the region. Along with rift valleys, several vast savannas are associated. For Example, the Serengeti Plain, high mountains, large lakes, and also the highlands of Ethiopia.
The main economic activity in the East African region is the agricultural sector since it is generally the main factor that has improved the region’s economic growth; which follows the industry.
4.5. Southern Africa
This southern portion of the African continent is covered by the Atlantic ocean on the west side and the Indian Ocean on the east coast. This region has a total human population of about 68.3 million people as of 2021.
According to the United Nations, there are five countries in southern Africa- Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
Out of these five countries, South Africa constitutes most of the population whereas Swaziland constitutes the least.
This region of Africa has the best well-developed infrastructure which allows swift transportation from and into Africa as a whole continent.
It is also one of the most important players in the economics of the continent as well as the world.
South Africa, specifically, is one of the major player countries in Africa as a whole continent. This country usually makes it to most of the global discussions and negotiations and attends the forums.
On top of that, trade agreements made between this region of Africa and other African countries have contributed a lot and made the region economically pretty strong.
Southern Africa is also very important because of its availability of mineral sources. Some of these mineral sources include copper, diamonds, zinc, gold, platinum, coal, manganese, iron ore, and chromium.
5. Some Facts About The Second World War In Africa
Some of the factual information about the second world war which took place in Africa and the Middle East as follows:
# General Sir Archibald Wavell could only mobilise 36,000 men on the eve of Operation Compass while confronting 215,000 Italians.
# Following the capture of Mechili on April 8, 1941, Rommel donned British tank goggles as a memento.
# In April 1941, a new pro-German administration came to power in Iraq.
# 91 British tanks were lost during Operation Tiger. Only 12 panzers were rendered immobile in response.
# Between January and August 1941, the Mediterranean Sea saw the sinking of 90 Axis ships.
# In November 1941, the Allies escaped from Tobruk with a considerably superior arsenal.
# On August 25, 1941, Soviet and British forces invaded Iran to take its oil reserves.
# On June 21st, 1942, Rommel regained Tobruk, gaining thousands of tonnes of oil in the process.
# During the massive Allied offensive at Alamein in October 1942, the losses from July were reversed.
# The North African Campaign came to an end when 250,000 Axis soldiers and 12 generals were captured.
These were some simple, random, interesting, and exciting facts about Africa, its geographical features, physical features, specialities, regions, and countries. Hope you learned something new and fascinating!