- Africa is the second largest continent in the area (30,330,000 sq Km) which covers 6% of Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 % of its total land area.
- Algeria is Africa’s largest country by area, and Nigeria by population.
Separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea, it is joined with Asia at its northeast extreme end by the Isthmus of Suez 163 Km wide.
- It is bounded by the Red Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
- It has fully recognized 54 sovereign states.
Alphabetical list of countries in Africa –
REGIONAL DIVISIONS OF AFRICA
The physiographic divisions of Africa are into the following six regions:
- Northern Africa
- Northeast Africa
- Eastern Africa
- Central Africa
- Southern Africa
- Western Africa
➢ Northern Africa
It extends from Algeria in the north, through, the Canary Islands, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Ceuta, Egypt, Libya, Madeira, Melilla, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, It reaches up to Western Sahara.
➢ Northeast Africa
It is also called the horn of Africa which extends several hundred kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It contains countries such as Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
➢ Eastern Africa
The extensive area stretches from the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa to Mozambique including Burundi, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
➢ Central Africa
It is the large landmass situated exactly in the middle of the continent covering Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe.
➢ Southern Africa
It is the southern most part of the continent and covers the countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
➢ Western Africa
It is situated roughly at 100° E longitude covering countries like Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Saint Helena, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
MAJOR PHYSICAL DIVISIONS OF AFRICA
The major physical divisions of African continent are:
- The Plateau
- The Fold Mountains
➢ The Plateaus
The vast African continents are famous for its saucer-shaped and steep edged plateaus that are facing towards the coast and extending from Guinea coast to Somali Land and north Sahara to the Cape Province.
These are divided into three groups:
(i) South African plateau – The South African plateau as far as about 12°S, bounded east, west and south by bands of high ground which fall steeply to the coasts. The South African plateau is connected towards the north-east with the East African plateau.
(ii) East African plateau – The East African plateau, with probably a slightly greater average elevation, and marked by some distinct features. It is formed by a widening out of the eastern axis of high ground, which becomes subdivided into a number of zones running north and south and consisting in turn of ranges, tablelands and depressions.
(iii) Ethiopian Highlands – The third division of the higher region of Africa is formed by the Ethiopian Highlands, a rugged mass of mountains forming the largest continuous area of its altitude in the whole continent.
(i) Katanga Plateau Farming, ranching, resource-rich – copper and Uranium deposits
(ii) Ethiopian Plateau Lake Tana (Source of Blue Nile), cooler despite close to the equator
(iii) Great Karoo Semi-desert region
(iv) Bie Plateau Important for copper, Agriculture and cattle rearing
(v) Adamawa Plateau Savannah vegetation, Bauxite deposits
- Africa is famous for its newly formed folded mountains.
- Prominent mountain ranges with some of the very high raised mountain peaks are the specialty of African Continents.
Some of the well known mountain ranges are:
Atlas Mountains –
- It is situated on the northwestern part of the continent stretching over an area of 2400 km towards the southwest direction across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
- The range is again subdivided into high, medium, and Anti – Atlas group. The Jebel Toubkal is among such highlands or mountain whose height is 4165 m from sea level.
- It is a physical separator between the extensive coasts of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Sea and the Sahara Desert.
Ruwenzori Mountains –
- Stretching over an area of 240 sq. miles the range borders Uganda and Congo (Kinshasa) and thought to be the “Mountains of the Moon.
- Mount Stanley at Margherita Peak (5,119 m is the highest pick of this mountain system.
- It is a gigantic horst of six separate glaciated masses which falls steeply westward to the Western Rift Valley.
Mount Elgon –
- It is an extinct volcanic mountain situated in the northeast part of lake Victoria on the Uganda – Kenya border.
- The height is about 4,321 km from the mean sea level.
- As a volcanic mountain it has a crater which is 610 m deep and 8 km across.
Tibesti Mountains –
- These are mostly situated in the northern part of Chad and spread west into northern Niger and the Southern border area of Libya.
- They have a volcanic origin.
- The highest peak is 3,415 m. from mean sea level.
Ahaggar Mountains –
- The Ahaggar Mountains, also known as the Hoggar, is a highland region in central Sahara, or southern Algeria near the Tropic of Cancer. They are located about 1,500 km south of the capital, Algiers. Mount Tahat is the highest peak (2, 918 m).
- It has a volcanic formation.
The Drakensberg –
- These mountains are the highest in Southern Africa rising up at Thabana Ntlenyana at 3,482 m (11,422 ft) in height. They are located in the eastern part of South Africa, running from some 1,000 km. The highest peak is Thabana Ntlenyana at 3,482 m (11,422 ft). It is also the highest peak of Lesotho.
Mount Kenya –
- Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya, and the second-highest in Africa (after Mount Kilimanjaro). The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian (5,199m – 17,058 ft), Nelion (5, 188m – 17,022 ft) and Lenana (4,958 – 16,355 ft). Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya, just south of the equator, around 150 km (95 miles) north-northeast of Nairobi.
- Kilimanjaro with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawensi, and Shira, is an inactive stratovolcano in north-eastern Tanzania.
- Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain rise in the world rising 4,600 m (15,100 ft) from its base and includes the highest peak in Africa at 5,895 meters (19,340 ft).