Africa Guide
Guide to Africa

Africa Facts and Figures and did you know.

Africa, second-largest of the Earth's seven continents - covering about 30,330,000 sq km (11,699,000 sq mi), which makes up about 22 per cent of the world's total land area.

Largest Country
Algeria is the largest country of the African continent covering a total area of 2,381,741sq. kms - (919,595 sq. miles)

Smallest Country
The smallest African country is The Seychelles covering an area of 453 sq km but Gambia is the smallest of the mainland African states, covering an area of 11,300 sq km (4,363 sq mi).

Largest City
Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is the largest city in Africa with an estimated 9.2 million population

Highest Point
Mount Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Point - (5895m/19,340 ft) in Tanzania

Lowest Point
the lowest is Lake 'Asal (153 m/502 ft below sea level) in Djibouti

Northernmost Point
is Cape Blanc (Ra's al Abyad;) in Tunisia

Southernmost Point
is Cape Agulhas in South Africa

Largest Lake
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the is the world's second-largest freshwater lake - covering an area of 69,490 sq km (26,830 sq mi) and lies 1,130 m (3,720 ft) above sea level. Its greatest known depth is 82 m (270 ft).

Deepest Lake
Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in Africa reaching at its greatest depth is 1,436 m (4,710 ft), making it the second deepest freshwater lake in the world after Lake Baikal.

Longest River
The River Nile drains north-eastern Africa, and, at 6,650 km (4,132 miles), is the longest river in Africa and in the world. It is formed from the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, and the White Nile, which originates at Lake Victoria.

The Great Africa Rift Valley
The Rift Valley extends more than 4,830 km (3,000 mi) from Syria in south-western Asia to Mozambique in south-eastern Africa.
The width of the valley ranges from a few miles to more than 160 km (100 mi). In eastern Africa, the valley splits into two branches: the Eastern Rift and the Western Rift.
The fault in which the Rift sits is still moving: the western side of the rift is pulling away from the eastern ridge at about 6 mm per year, while in the south it is moving together at a rate of 2 mm per year.

Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably over 500 from ten families. Particularly noteworthy are the Cichlidae, of which all but five of over 400 species are endemic to Lake Malawi. The lake contains 30% of all known cichlid species. Of particular interest is the 'mbuna' rock fish.

Namib Desert
The Namib is the world's oldest desert, and the only desert in Africa inhabited by elephant, rhino, giraffe and lion.

Namibia - Fish River Canyon
The Fish River canyon is the second largest canyon in the world.

The Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert alone is expanding southwards at an average of 0.8 km (½ mile) a month.

Four of the five fastest land animals live in Africa - the cheetah (70 mph), wildebeest, lion, and Thomson's gazelle (all about 50 mph).

Penguins (see photos)
South Africa has a penguin colony, which thrives thanks to the cold Antarctic currents on the west coast near the Cape.

Madagascar is the home of the worlds largest as well as the smallest chameleons! Almost half of the world’s chameleon species live on the island of Madagascar.

The largest seal colony in the southern hemisphere is a Cape Cross in Namibia.

The world's biggest frog is found in Cameroon. Named the goliath frog, their body can be one-foot long.

Nile Crocodiles
The Nile crocodile is Africa's largest living reptile - growing to an average length of 5 m.

African Elephants
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal.
An elephant can weigh up to 6-7 tons and has no natural enemies, he is not a predator and there is none large enough to challenge him.
Did you know elephants 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
An African elephant possesses such "manual" dexterity in his/her trunk tip that he/she can actually turn the pages of a book with it.

Did you know that the tongue of a giraffe can be as long as 45 cm?
Giraffes are 6 ft tall when they are born.
Even though their necks can be 6-7 feet in length, Giraffe have the same number of vertabrae in their necks as humans (7)
The tallest animal on earth is the giraffe - its horn tops being up to 6 metres above ground level.

The Gorilla is the largest of the living primates, male gorillas weight up to 200kg, yet are shy and retiring.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal at 95 km/h (60mph).

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

Having a wingspan of only ½", the smallest butterfly is in the world is found in South Africa. It is know as the Dwarf Blue Butterfly

The only place where shoals of fresh water sardines are found is in Lake Tanganyika.

Ancient Egyptians
The ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone.

Apart from Muslim nations, Ghana has the lowest per capita consumption of beer in Africa, yet its brewery industry is one of the most competitive.

Did you know that in Africa it is almost imposible to hold a small wedding? The idea of a private wedding is unknown and is greatly frowned upon. Friends and relatives expect to be invited to a wedding and to play a role in the ceremony.

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 labour days

Did you know, that Africa would have been an estimated US $100 billion better off in 1999 if malaria had been eliminated years ago?

17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS.
At least 25 million people in Africa are HIV-positive.
12 million children who have lost their parents to AIDS face a precarious future.

The world's biggest hospital is in Soweto.

The word "Crossword" in Kiswahili is "chemshebongo" which, when translated, means "boil brains".
In East & Central Africa the British Army was still remembered. One regiment was known in Kiswahili as "Magi Bareedi Askari", translated this is "Water Cold Soldiers" or in other words the "Cold Stream Guards".
(supplied by Simon Vivian)

The world's largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless colour and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.

Did you know there are about 280,000 windmills on farms across South Africa, second in number only to Australia?

Most Populated Country
With a population of more than 113 million, Nigeria is easily the most populated country in Africa and the 10th most populous country in the world.

Historical Fact
In 1896 the Anglo-Zanzibar War was the shortest war in history - lasting a mere 30 minutes

Nuclear Power
South Africa is the only African country with fully functioning nuclear reactors, it is also the only independant state in the world to voluntarily end its own nuclear weapons programme, dissembling its weapons in the early 1990's.

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