Africa Map

Mountains, rivers, population, valleys, deserts, forests.

The continent of Africa covers more than 30 million sq km(11 million miles see Africa map to the left of page). Africa is the world's second largest continent, the largest being Asia. It is nearly bisected by the Equator, both northern and southern Africa extend to the mid-30's of latitude so that its climatic zones mirror each other from the tropical forests of the equatorial region through semitropical savannahs, dry steppe lands and desert to the Mediterranean climates of the extremities. More than 800 million people live in Africa, but the continent is lightly populated in accordance with the square area.

The birth rate in Africa is high, but is no longer matched by the high death rate. The people are poor, and disease, famine and drought are all too prevalent. Most of Africa consists of high plateaus, which descend steeply to generally narrow coastal regions. Waterfalls and rapids flowing off the plateaus made explorations difficult, since the only way into the continent for explorers was by sailing upriver. This contributed to isolation of the continent for a long time.

If you view the map of Africa you will notice there are few natural harbors and the coastline is very short in relation to the landmass. Fourteen of the forty-seven mainland African nations are landlocked. Four of the world's greatest rivers are on the African continent namely, Nile, Zaire (Congo), Niger, and Zambezi rivers.

There are some majestic mountains, often made more so by their isolation in vast plains. In the north the Atlas range stretches 1400 miles from the Atlantic to Tunisia and reaches up to13671 ft at its highest point. In East Africa the Ethiopian highlands form a great massif of intersecting ranges, whose loftiest peak is Ras Dashen 15157 ft. Farther south along the East African Rift Valley are the Ruwenzori mountains permanently covered with snow and climbing to 5110 m (16765 ft). Mount Kenya 17060 ft), Mount Meru 14977 ft. The mighty Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain at 19340 ft.

The East African Rift Valley, which is part of the Great Rift Valley system, is the world's most spectacular geological depression. It stretches from Beira in Mozambique to Lake Malawi. (Click here to view the map). One branch runs north as far as Lake Albert (Mobutu), while the eastern branch becomes the trench of the Red Sea and continues to south-west Asia. Along the Rift Valley are some of the world's largest lakes, Malawi (30040sq km or 11600 sq miles), the 676km (420 mile) a long Tanganvika and the sea-like Victoria - 70484 sq km or 26828 sq miles.

Nearly one-third of the African continent is desert. The Sahara, the planets largest arid area covers twenty five percent of Africa about 7.7 million sq km or about 3 million miles.  To the South are the Namib and Kalahari deserts. This region is now world famous for the Hoodia Gordonii plant

Much of central Africa is occupied by a great expanse of tropical rain forest, second in size only to the Amazon basin. It covers much of the coastlands of West Africa from The Gambia to Cameroon, and it covers Gabon, Congo and half of Zaire. Overgrazing and climatic changes in the Sahara is causing the Sahara to advance its borders at an estimated rate of 5km or 3 miles a year. Africa is the hottest of the continents. 

Two-thirds of it is tropical or subtropical. The forests receive heavy rainfall that leaches the soil. Other parts of the continent get less than 250mm or 10 inches of rain a year. Devastating droughts are frequent. In 1983 - 1985 both the north and south especially Ethiopia suffered one of the most savage droughts in history. For more information on devastation caused by droughts colonialism apartheid and biological warfare on the African continent click the link. The onslaught

Next: South Africa Map

Also Read

  1. Map of Africa on a Ostrich egg
  2. Flags of Africa
  3. 56 African countries fact sheets
  4. South African World Heritage sites
  5. Or go to Overview History of Africa

Document Africa Map

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Map of Africa on ostrich egg shell
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Map of the world ostrich egg shell



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