25 Fascinating Facts About Africa

From Angola to Zimbabwe, Africa is an incredibly diverse continent that is comprised of many different countries, cultures and landscapes. Interested in learning more about this beautiful continent? Check out these absolutely fascinating kid-friendly facts about Africa!

 

facts about africa egypt

Great Sphinx of Giza | Credit: Flickr

1. Africa is the world’s oldest populated area. Archaeologists have found evidence that the human species has lived on the content for roughly 7 million years!

 

2. The continent of Africa is comprised of 54 countries and one territory.

 

3. There are eight major geographical regions in Africa, each with its own unique landscape: the Sahara Desert, the savanna, the Sahel, the African Great Lakes, the Swahili Coast, South Africa and the rain forest.

 

4. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world. In fact, it’s bigger than the United States!

 

facts about africa savanna

African Elephant Walking on Savanna in South Africa | Source: Flickr – miquitos

5. The African savanna is a tropical grassland that is quite large in size, covering roughly half of the continent. This area includes the Serengeti, which is famous for its wildlife.

 

facts about africa the sahel

Kids in the Sahel region | Flickr – EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie

6. The Sahel is a strip of dry land stretching across Northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to The Red Sea.

 

facts about africa lake victoria

Lake Victoria in Kampala, Uganda | Credit: Flickr – J J

7. Lake Victoria – one of Africa’s Great Lakes – is 26,560 square miles in size, making it the second largest fresh water lake in the world.

 

8. The Swahili Coast is an 1,800-mile stretch of Kenyan and Tanzanian coastline. Since the 2nd century A.D., it has been the site of cultural and commercial exchanges between East Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.

 

facts about africa south africa

Eastern Cape, South Africa | Credit: Flickr – bass_nroll

9. Although South Africa takes up only 1% of Earth’s land surface, it is home to 6% of the world’s mammals and reptiles.

 

facts about africa rainforest

Nyungwe National Park Rainforest | Source: Flickr – Rwanda Government

10. While Africa’s rainforests are home to half of the continent’s animal species, they’ve come under serious threat. Unfortunately, roughly 90% of West Africa’s rainforests have already been wiped out.

 

facts about africa giraffes

Giraffes in Botswana | Source: Flickr – Kasia Wallis

11. Africa is home to the largest-remaining populations of lions, elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards.

 

facts about africa nile river

Nile River –  Murchison Falls in Uganda | Credit: Flickr – Rod Waddington

 

12. The Nile River is the longest river in the world, spanning a whopping 4,135 miles (6,650 kilometers).

 

13. Lagos, Nigeria is the largest city on the African continent with over 13 million residents. That’s over 1.5x larger than the population of New York City!

 

Children in Africa

Children in Africa | Credit: Flickr – yplouf

14. Before it was colonized, Africa was made up of around 10,000 different states and groups. Each had their own distinct languages and customs!

 

facts about africa nile river from space

View of the Nile River from space | Credit: Flickr – Stuart Rankin

15. Egypt receives only around one inch of rain every year. Thankfully, heavy rain in Ethiopia causes the Nile River to flood every summer, bringing much needed water to Egypt’s plants and crops.

 

facts about africa Johannesburg

Johannesburg, South Africa | Credit: Flickr – Paul Saad

16. There are an estimated 1,500 – 2,000 languages spoken on the continent of Africa! More than 500 languages are spoken in Nigeria alone, and the country of South Africa has 11 official languages.

 

facts about africa cape town south africa

Cape Town, South Africa | Credit: Flickr – Loren Kerns

17. Despite being the second-largest continent in the world, Africa has the shortest coastline! This is due to the many bays that extend out of the coastline.

 

facts about africa strait of gibraltar

Looking from Europe to Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar | Credit: Flickr – José Rambaud

18. While Europe and Africa may seem far apart, they’re actually separated by less than 9 miles of water at the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco.

 

19. University of Timbuktu (located in the Republic of Mali) is one of the oldest universities in the world. By the 12th century, the school was attracting thousands of students from all over the continent.

 

facts about africa Ge'ez

Ancient Bible written in Ge’ez | Credit: Flickr – Eileen Dehli

20. Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet, called Ge’ez. It has been in use since the 5th century, making it one of the world’s oldest alphabets still in use.

 

21. While Egypt is known for its pyramids, Sudan actually has more. To date, more than 200 pyramids have been discovered in Sudan!

 

french sign in africa

Sign in both French and English in Mauritius | Credit: Flickr – Ashok Prabhakaran

22. French is the fastest growing language in Africa. In fact, the continent is home to 50% of the world’s French-speaking population!

 

facts about africa mountain

View of Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya | Credit: Flickr – Craig Vershaw

23. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest mountain in Africa, rising 19,341 feet above sea level. That’s roughly 3.6 miles high!

 

Facts about africa lesotho

Thaba-Tseka, Lesotho | Credit: Flickr – Michael Jansen

24. There’s a small country called Lesotho located within South Africa’s borders! It is home to just over 2 million people.

 

25. The baobab tree is common in many parts of Africa. Known as “the tree of life”, some baobabs are estimated to be over 1,000 years old. One boabab in South Africa has grown so large, it has a circumference of 155 feet!

 

Ready to discover even more fun facts about Africa? Check out these fun Africa Week activities on Wizard school! 

 

Still need the wizard school app? Click here to get it for FREE on iTunes!


Fact sources: National Geographic | National Geographic Kids | One.org | PBS | Wikipedia

Featured Image: Flickr – David Schenfeld

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