Africa is the 2nd largest continent on Earth, following Asia in size.
Africa measures 11,730,000 square miles (30,370,000 square kilometers).
It comprises 20.4% of the land area on Earth and 6% of the Earth's surface.
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
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
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
The 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.
CIA World Factbook home page for information about
this helpful geopolitical resource, and visit this
map of Africa website
for more Africa maps and African travel information.
Detailed Country Maps
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Africa Map and Geography