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!
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!
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.
6. The Sahel is a strip of dry land stretching across Northern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to The Red Sea.
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.
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.
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.
11. Africa is home to the largest-remaining populations of lions, elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
22. French is the fastest growing language in Africa. In fact, the continent is home to 50% of the world’s French-speaking population!
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!
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!
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Featured Image: Flickr – David Schenfeld