Africa consists of 54 countries, some of which are among the poorest in the world. The Sudan is the largest country in Africa, and Seychelles is the smallest.
Africa is divided into several regions which are marked by striking climate variations. The continent features highlands on both the East and West coasts and plains in the middle. Africa has two deserts — the Sahara and the Kalahari. The Sahara is the largest desert on Earth; it covers 3,500,000 sq. mi. (9,065,000 sq. km.) and is always growing. The desert ranges in elevation from 100 ft. below sea level, to more than 11,000 ft. (3,350 m.). In contrast, the Kalahari Desert is about 100,000 sq. mi. (259,000 sq. km.) and covers most of Botswana, part of South Africa, and western Namibia.
On the edge of the Sahara is the Sahel, an area of land that sits between desert and tropical areas and receives as little as 6 to 8 inches of precipitation per year. It is an area of transition on which the expanding Sahara Desert is constantly encroaching.
Africa is also home to a rainforest, lying within the Congo River Basin. This fertile basin covers the Democratic Republic of the Congo and much of the Congo; reaching also into Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Zambia. It occupies about 1,400,000 sq. mi. (3,600,000 sq. km.) and contains nearly 20% of the world's rain forest.
Africa features several mountain ranges. There are the Atlas Mountains along the Mediterranean coastline in the northwest, and a number of large mountains line the Great Rift Valley in the east. This valley is a low lying area that extends from the Red Sea to Mozambique. Along the edge of the Great Rift Valley sits Mount Kilimanjaro which has two peaks (Kibo and Mawenzi). Kibo is the highest point on the continent and stands at 19,321 feet (5889 meters).
Africa is known for its unique land formations as well as its ancient man-made structures. African travel destinations include Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe and Zambia border, the Nile River, which is the longest river in the world, and the ancient Sphinx and pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was the tallest man-made structure until the Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889.
Interactive Africa Map
African CountriesThe table below lists the countries of Africa and their capital cities, and also features convenient links to maps and detailed information about each African country.
Detailed Country Maps
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Africa Map and Geography