Civilisation/World Geography - Africa

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Africa is the only continent to pass through both Tropics

Largest countries in Africa by area – Algeria, DR Congo, Sudan

Largest countries in Africa by population – Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, DR Congo, South Africa

The Sahel is the boundary zone in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the more fertile region to the south, known as the Sudan

The Maghreb, meaning ‘place of sunset’ or ‘western’ in Arabic, is generally applied to all of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia


Capital Algiers
Largest cities Algiers, Oran, Constantine
Currency Dinar
Highest point Mount Tahat

Algeria is the largest country in Africa, following the creation of South Sudan

Algiers is only the second capital city in Africa (after Cairo) to have a metro system

The Casbah is specifically the citadel of Algiers and the traditional quarter clustered around it

Constantine is named in honour of emperor Constantine the Great

Tindouf is an Algerian settlement of people exiled from Western Sahara

Hoggar Mountains, also known as the Ahaggar, are a highland region in the central Sahara, southern Algeria



The emblem of the flag of Angola features a cog wheel and a machete

Capital Luanda
Largest cities Luanda, Huambo
Currency Kwanza
Highest point Mount Moco

Cabinda is an exclave, separated from the rest of Angola by a narrow strip of territory belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which bounds the province on the south and the east. Cabinda is bounded on the north by the Republic of the Congo, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean

Diamonds and oil make up 60 percent of Angola's economy, almost all of the country's revenue and are its dominant exports

Portuguese is the official language of Angola, which is the second-largest Lusophone country in the world after Brazil

Luanda is one of the world's most expensive cities for resident foreigners. Third most-populous Portuguese-speaking city, behind Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro


Capital Porto-Novo
Largest cities Cotonou
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mont Sokbaro

In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France. A Marxist-Leninist state called the People's Republic of Benin existed between 1975 and 1990. In 1991, it was replaced by the current multi-party Republic of Benin

The capital of Benin is Porto-Novo, but the seat of government is in Cotonou, the country's largest city and economic capital

The Fon people are the largest ethnic group in Benin


Capital Gaborone
Largest cities Gaborone
Currency Pula
Highest point Otse Hill

Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth in 1966

Three Dikgosi Monument is a bronze sculpture in Gaberone depicting three dikgosi (tribal chiefs)

Tsodilo Hills are a World Heritage site with over 4500 rock paintings

Kalahari Desert covers 70% of Botswana

Okavango Delta is a large inland delta formed where the Okavango River reaches a tectonic trough in the central part of the endorheic basin of the Kalahari

Makgadikgadi Pan is a large salt pan in Northern Botswana, the largest salt flat complex in the world

Debswana, the largest diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50% owned by the government and 50% owned by De Beers. The mineral industry provides about 40% of all government revenues

Connected to Zambia by the Kazungula Bridge which crosses the Zambezi river

Burkina Faso

Capital Ouagadougou
Largest cities Ouagadougou
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mount Tenakourou

Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed Burkina Faso in 1984 after a coup d’état led by Thomas Sankara

Burkina Faso means “land of the upright/honest people”

The country owes its former name of Upper Volta to three rivers which cross it: the Black Volta, the White Volta and the Red Volta


Capital Gitega (see note below)
Largest cities Bujumbura, Gitega
Currency Franc
Highest point Mount Heha

Note: Gitega replaced Bujumbura as the capital in 2019. Bujumbura remains as the economic capital

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany colonized the region. After the First World War and its defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium

Although the country is landlocked, much of the southwestern border is adjacent to Lake Tanganyika

The Twa, Hutu and Tutsi peoples have lived in Burundi for at least 500 years


Capital Yaounde
Largest cities Douala, Yaounde
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mount Cameroon

After World War I, the territory was divided between France and Britain as League of Nations mandates

The country was renamed the Republic of Cameroon in 1984

Cameroon's coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean

Cameroon is described as "Africa in miniature" because it exhibits all major climates and vegetation of the continent

Lake Nyos is a crater lake in Cameroon. A pocket of magma lies beneath the lake and leaks carbon dioxide into the waters. In 1986 the lake suddenly emitted a large cloud of CO2, which suffocated 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby villages

Mount Cameroon is the highest point in West Africa

Bakassi is the peninsular extension of the African territory of Calabar into the Atlantic Ocean. It is currently ruled by Cameroon following the transfer of sovereignty from neighbouring Nigeria following a judgment by the International Court of Justice

Cape Verde (Cabo Verde)


The 10 stars on the flag of Cape Verde represent the main islands

Capital Praia
Largest cities Praia, Mindelo
Currency Escudo
Highest point Pico do Fogo

Cape Verde is an archipelago of ten volcanic islands, split into the Barlavento Islands and the Sotavento Islands. The largest island, both in size and population, is Santiago, which hosts the nation's capital, Praia

The islands are located 570 km off the coast of Western Africa

Cape Verde gained independence from Portugal in 1975

Pico do Fogo is an active stratovolcano on the island of Fogo

Central African Republic

Capital Bangui
Largest cities Bangui, Bimbo
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mont Ngaoui

Central African Republic gained independence from France in 1960

Known as Central African Empire under Bokassa between 1976 and 1979

Much of the country consists of flat or rolling plateau savanna

Two thirds of the country is within the Ubangi River basin, which flows into the Congo



Flag of Chad is almost identical to the flag of Romania

Capital N'Djamena
Largest cities N'Djamena
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Emi Koussi

Because of the distance from the sea and the country's largely desert climate, Chad is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa"

The country is named after Lake Chad

N'Djamena was founded as Fort-Lamy by French commander Emile Gentil in1900. Changed its name in 1973

Arabic and French are the official languages of Chad

Emi Koussi is a volcano which is the highest mountain in the Sahara

The Aouzou Strip is a strip of land in northern Chad which lies along the border with Libya. Claimed to be rich with uranium deposits, a dispute over the control of this area with Libya led to the Toyota War between the two countries in 1973



The four stripes on the flag of Comoros represent the four islands

Capital Moroni
Largest cities Moroni
Currency Franc
Highest point Mount Karthala

Comoros is located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar

Comoros is formed by Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Moheli), Nzwani (Anjouan), and Mahore (Mayotte), the major islands in the Comoros Archipelago, as well as many minor islets

Moheli seceded from the Comoros in 1997, but rejoined in 1998

Moroni is on the island of Grande Comore

Sunni Islam is the dominant religion in Comoros

Congo Republic (Republic of the Congo, or Congo)

Capital Brazzaville
Largest cities Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mont Nabemba

Congo Republic was known as French Congo until independence in 1960

Brazzaville was founded in 1880 by an Italo-French explorer, Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. It is located on the north side of the Congo River, opposite Kinshasa, the capital city of DR Congo

Brazzaville was the capital of Free France in World War II

Pointe-Noire is the main commercial centre of the country

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo)

Capital Kinshasa
Largest cities Kinshasa, Lubumbashi
Currency Franc
Highest point Mount Stanley

DR Congo is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world. It is the most populous officially Francophone country, and the fourth most populous nation in Africa

Known as Zaire from 1971 to 1997

Kinshasa was known as Leopoldville, in honour of King Leopold II of Belgium. Second largest francophone urban area in the world after Paris. Kinshasa was founded as a trading post by Henry Morton Stanley in 1881

Lubumbashi is the mining capital of DR Congo, acting as a hub for many of the country's biggest mining companies. The copper-mining city serves as the capital of the Katanga Province

Kisangani was known as Stanleyville. It is the third largest urbanized city in the country

President Mobutu built Gbadolite into a luxurious town often nicknamed "Versailles of the Jungle"

Moanda or Muanda is a town at the mouth of the Congo River. Some 100 km upstream from Muanda, lies the city of Boma, DR Congo's second-largest port. The great width and depth of the Congo River allow seagoing vessels to reach Boma and the largest port, Matadi, despite their distance from the coast

Mount Nyiragongo is a stratovolcano in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift. The main crater is about two km wide and usually contains a lava lake

Nyamuragira is an active volcano in the Virunga Mountains. It has been described as Africa's most active volcano and has erupted over 40 times since 1885

DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of exports in 2012


Capital Djibouti
Largest cities Djibouti
Currency Franc
Highest point Mousa Aki

French Territory of Afars and Issas was the name given to present-day Djibouti between 1967 and 1977, while it was still a colony of France. The area was formerly known as French Somaliland

The Somali and Afar make up the two largest ethnic groups

The country is named for its capital, the City of Djibouti

Lake Assal is a crater lake in central Djibouti. It lies 155m below sea level in the Afar Depression and its shores comprise the lowest point on land in Africa and the second lowest land depression on Earth after the Dead Sea. Lake Assal is considered the most saline body of water on earth outside Antarctica, with 34.8% salt concentration



Flag of Egypt contains the Eagle of Saladin

Capital Cairo
Largest cities Cairo, Alexandria, Giza
Currency Pound
Highest point Mount Catherine

Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab World, and the third most populous in Africa

Misr is the modern Arabic name for Egypt

Cairo is the largest city in the Middle East and second-largest in Africa after Lagos. Its metropolitan area is the 13th largest in the world

Cairo was the first African city to have an underground railway

6th October bridge in Cairo commemorates the date of 'The Crossing', which commenced the outbreak day of the Yom Kippur War in 1973

Gezira is an island in the River Nile in Cairo

Alexandria is the largest African city on the Mediterranean and a major economic centre in Egypt

Lake Mariout is near Alexandria

Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in c. 331 BC

Sharm el-Sheikh is situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. It is a major tourist location

Suez Canal was built by Ferdinand De Lesseps. Opened in 1869. Suez Canal has no locks

Port Said is at the northern end of Suez Canal

Bitter lakes are in the Suez Canal

El Ferdan Railway Bridge is a swing bridge that spans the western shipping lane of the Suez Canal. It is the longest swing bridge in the worldSuez Canal Bridge was built with assistance from the Japanese government

When Lake Nasser was being created as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam, across the Nile, between 1958 and 1970, the anticipated rising waters behind the dam required major relocation projects. Several important Nubian and Ancient Egyptian archaeological sites were dismantled block by block and moved to higher ground, most notably Abu Simbel

Memphis was the first capital of Egypt

Saqqara is a vast, ancient burial ground, serving as the necropolis for Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the Step pyramid of Djoser

The Pyramids of Giza consist of the Great Pyramid of Giza (known as the Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren) a few hundred meters to the south-west, and the relatively modest-sized Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinos) a few hundred meters further south-west. The Great Sphinx lies on the east side of the complex. Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great Sphinx is that of Khafre. The pyramids are cased in white limestone

The Great Pyramid of Giza is 483 feet high and houses seventy-ton pieces of granite lifted to a level of 175 feet

It is thought that, at construction, the Great Pyramid was originally 280 Egyptian cubits tall. Each base side was 440 cubits long

The Great Pyramid of Giza remained the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years, unsurpassed until the 160m tall spire of Lincoln Cathedral was completed c. 1300

As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the ‘world's greatest open air museum’, as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city

Luxor Temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was built during the New Kingdom

Precinct of Amun-Re, located near Luxor, is one of the four main temple enclosures that make up the immense Karnak Temple Complex. The precinct is by far the largest of these and the only one that is open to the general public. The temple complex is dedicated to the principal god of the Theban Triad, Amun, in the form of Amun-Re

Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was a tower built between 280 and 247 BC on the island of Pharos at Alexandria. Its purpose was to guide sailors into the harbour at night time. With a height variously estimated at somewhere in-between 393 and 450 ft (120 and 140 m), it was for many centuries among the tallest manmade structures on Earth

Library of Alexandria was the largest and most significant great library of the ancient world. It flourished under the patronage of the Ptolemaic dynasty and functioned as a major centre of scholarship from its construction in the 3rd century BC until the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC

The best known artifact in King Tutankhamun’s tomb is the famous Gold Mask, on display at the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo

Temple of Edfu is located on the west bank of the Nile in the city of Edfu which was known in Greco-Roman times as Apollonopolis Magna, after the chief god Horus-Apollo. It is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. The temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC

North of Cairo, the Nile splits into two branches (or distributaries) that feed the Mediterranean: the Rosetta Branch to the west and the Damietta to the east, forming the Nile Delta

Mount Sinai is a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula. Means “Mount Moses”

Philae is an island in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam. It was the site of an Egyptian temple complex that was dismantled and moved to nearby Agilkia Island

Cave of Swimmers is a cave with ancient rock art in the Sahara Desert

Saint Catherine's Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located on the Sinai Peninsula. The monastery is named after Catherine of Alexandria

Qattara Depression contains the second lowest point in Africa at 133m below sea level, the lowest being Lake Assal in Djibouti

Equatorial Guinea


Coat of arms on the flag of Equatorial Guinea contains a silk cotton tree

Capital Malabo (see note below)
Largest cities Bata, Malabo
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Pico Basile

Note: Ciudad de la Paz, formerly Oyala, is being built to replace Malabo as the national capital

Equatorial Guinea consists of two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The insular region consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Po) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobon. Sao Tome and Principe is located between Bioko and Annobon. The mainland region, Rio Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. It is the location of Bata, Equatorial Guinea's largest city, and Ciudad de la Paz

Malabo is located on the northern coast of Bioko Island on the rim of a sunken volcano

Black Beach, located in Malabo, is one of Africa's most notorious prisons

Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, Equatorial Guinea is the only country in mainland Africa whose de jure official language is Spanish

Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Sahara's largest oil producers



Flag of Eritrea contains an emblem of a wreath with an upright olive-branch

Capital Asmara
Largest cities Asmara
Currency Nakfa
Highest point Emba Soira

In 1936, Eritrea became a province of Italian East Africa, along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. Eritrea declared its independence from Ethiopia and gained international recognition in 1993

Asmara is known for its well-preserved colonial Italian modernist architecture, including the Fiat Tagliero service station

Dahlak Archipelago is a pearl fishing area off the coast of Eritrea

Tigrinya people make up about 55% and Tigre people make up about 30% of the population

Eswatini (Swaziland)


The flag of Eswatini was adopted in 1968, following the independence of Swaziland. It features a black and white shield, with a staff and two spears

Capital Mbabane
Largest cities Manzini, Mbabane
Currency Lilangeni
Highest point Emlembe

In 2018, King Mswati III announced that the Kingdom of Swaziland had renamed itself the Kingdom of Eswatini

Eswatini is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique

The country and its people take their names from King Mswati II

Eswatini has been ruled by King Mswati III since 1986

Lobamba is the royal and legislative capital

The topography of Eswatini is diverse, ranging from a cool and mountainous highveld to a hot and dry lowveld

Eswatini is the smallest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere



Flag of Ethiopia contains an emblem with a golden pentagram

Capital Addis Ababa
Largest cities Addis Ababa
Currency Birr
Highest point Ras Dejen

Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populated nation on the African continent

Ethiopia has been landlocked since 1993

Ethiopia was the only African country to defeat a European colonial power and retain its sovereignty as an independent country

The largest ethnic groups are the Oromo and the Amhara

Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the African Union

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport was formerly known as Haile Selassie I International Airport

The fossilized skeleton, and a plaster replica of the early hominid Lucy (known in Ethiopia as Dinkinesh), is preserved at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are a World Heritage site

Axum was the original capital of the eponymous kingdom of Axum. The major Aksumite monuments in the town are stelae

Debre Damo is the name of a flat-topped mountain, or amba, and a 6th century monastery in northern Ethiopia. The monastery, accessible only by rope up a sheer cliff, is known for its collection of manuscripts

Erta Ale is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, the most active volcano in Ethiopia. It has one or sometimes two active lava lakes at the summit

Tigray Region is the northernmost region of Ethiopia. Mekelle is the capital of Tigray

Tigray has a number of rock-hewn churches

Ogaden is a territory comprising the southeastern portion of the Somali Regional State

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, sometimes referred to as Hidase Dam, is an under-construction gravity dam on the Blue Nile River

Dallol, in the Danakil Desert, holds the official record for record high average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth

Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia is a branch of the East African Rift

Semien Mountains are part of the Ethiopian Highlands

Omo River is the largest Ethiopian river outside the Nile Basin. The river basin is famous for its large number of early hominid fossils


Capital Libreville
Largest cities Libreville
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mont Bengoue

Gabon's name originates from Gabão, Portuguese for "cloak", which is roughly the shape of the estuary of the Komo River by Libreville

Gabon lies on the equator

Libreville was founded by freed slaves in 1846. French for “Freetown”

Gabon's economy is dominated by oil, but it also exports manganese ore

Almost all Gabonese are of Bantu origin


Capital Banjul
Largest cities Serekunda
Currency Dalasi
Highest point Unnamed

The Gambia (officially the Republic of the Gambia and often called simply Gambia) is surrounded by Senegal, apart from a short strip of Atlantic coastline at its western end. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa

Banjul is on St Mary's Island, where the Gambia River enters the Atlantic Ocean

Banjul, the capital of Gambia, is on St Mary's Island, where the Gambia River enters the Atlantic Ocean

Serekunda is the largest urban centre in The Gambia


Capital Accra
Largest cities Accra, Kumasi
Currency Cedi
Highest point Mount Afadja

Ghana was formerly known as the Gold Coast. Declared independence from the UK in 1957. Became a republic in 1960

Ghana means “warrior king”

Black Star Square, also known as Independence Square, is a public square in Accra. It is the second-largest city square in the world after Tiananmen Square in China

Kumasi is the capital of Ashanti region of Ghana, and is Ghana’s second largest city

Golden Stool was the royal and divine throne of the Ashanti people

Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world

Elmina Castle was erected by the Portuguese in 1482. It was the first trading post built on the Gulf of Guinea. First established as a trade settlement, the castle later became one of the most important stops on the route of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Cape Coast Castle was a slave trade post in Ghana

Ghana is the closest country to (0°, 0°)

The main parts of the River Volta are the Black Volta, the White Volta, and the Red Volta

Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world

Akosombo Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Volta River in southeastern Ghana. The construction of the dam flooded part of the Volta River Basin, and led to the subsequent creation of Lake Volta. Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world by surface area


Capital Conakry
Largest cities Conakry
Currency Franc
Highest point Mount Richard-Molard

Guinea is roughly the size of the United Kingdom

The sources of the Niger River, Gambia River, and Senegal River are all found in the Guinea Highlands

Fouta Djallon is a highland region in the centre of Guinea

Conakry is a port city on the Atlantic Ocean and serves as the economic, financial and cultural centre of Guinea. Originally situated on Tombo Island, one of the Îles de Los, it has since spread up the neighbouring Kaloum Peninsula

Guinea has world’s largest reserves of bauxite


Capital Bissau
Largest cities Bissau
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Unnamed

Guinea-Bissau is bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to its west

Bissau is located on the Geba River estuary, off the Atlantic Ocean

Portuguese is the official language of Guinea-Bissau

Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire)


The flag of Ireland has a similar colour layout to the Ivorian flag, but with the green on the hoist side

Capital Yamoussoukro
Largest cities Abidjan
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mount Richard-Molard

Ivory Coast gained independence from France in 1960

Yamoussoukro is the official political capital and administrative capital city

Yamoussoukro is the site of what is claimed to be the largest Christian place of worship on Earth: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1990

Abidjan is the economic capital

St. Paul’s Cathedral in Abidjan is one of the largest cathedrals in the world

Ivory Coast is the biggest producer of cocoa beans



Flag of Kenya has two crossed spears behind a Maasai shield

Capital Nairobi
Largest cities Nairobi, Mombasa
Currency Shilling
Highest point Mount Kenya

Nairobi was founded in 1899 by the colonial authorities in British East Africa, as a rail depot on the Uganda Railway

Nairobi is one of the few cities in the world with a national park within its boundaries

Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and one of the largest urban slums in Africa

Karen Blixen museum is near Nairobi

Moi Avenue is a primary thoroughfare in Mombasa, and known for two pairs of giant aluminium elephant tusks crossing the dual carriageway

Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa (after Mount Kilimanjaro). The highest peaks of the mountain are Batian, Nelion and Lenana

Aberdare National Park covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Range of central Kenya

River Tana is the longest river in Kenya

Lake Bogoria is a saline, alkaline lake that is home to a large population of flamingos



Flag of Lesotho has a black mokorotlo (a Basotho hat) in the centre

Capital Maseru
Largest cities Maseru
Currency Loti
Highest point Thabana Ntlenyana

Lesotho is an enclaved landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa

Lesotho is the largest enclaved country

The present Lesotho, then called Basutoland, emerged as a single polity under King Moshoeshoe I in 1822

Lesotho is the only independent state in the world that lies entirely above 1,000m in elevation. Its lowest point of 1,400m is thus the highest in the world

Lesotho's population consists almost entirely of the Basotho, a Bantu-speaking people

Katse and Mohale are dams in Lesotho


Capital Monrovia
Largest cities Monrovia
Currency Dollar
Highest point Mount Wuteve

Liberia is bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Ivory Coast to its east

Liberia was established in 1822 by the American Colonisation Society (ACS) as an American colony to where the ACS could send former slaves

English is the official language of Liberia

Monrovia is named in honor of U.S. President James Monroe, a prominent supporter of the colonization of Liberia

Due to its status as a flag of convenience, Liberia has the second-largest maritime registry in the world behind Panama

Pepper Coast or Grain Coast encloses Liberia



Flag of Libya was introduced in 1951, but was replaced by the all-green flag from 1977 to 2011

Capital Tripoli
Largest cities Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata
Currency Dinar
Highest point Bikku Bitte

Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa

Libya's coastline is the longest of any African country bordering the Mediterranean

Libyan Desert, which covers much of Libya, is one of the most arid and sun-baked places on earth

The three traditional parts of the country are Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica

Tripoli is in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people

Leptis Magna achieved its greatest prominence beginning in 193, when a native son, Lucius Septimius Severus, became emperor. The arch of Septimius Severus is one of the main tourist attractions. The ruins are within present-day Khoms

Cyrenaica is named after Cyrene, an ancient Greek and later Roman city near present-day Shahhat


Capital Antananarivo
Largest cities Antananarivo, Toamasina
Currency Ariary
Highest point Maromokotro

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world

Malagasy Republic was established in 1958 as an autonomous republic within the newly created French Community and existed until the proclamation of the Democratic Republic of Madagascar in 1975

Antananarivo was known as Tananarive during the period of French rule

Toamasina is the chief seaport of Madagascar

Madagascar spiny forests is an ecoregion in Madagascar

Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot; over 90 percent of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth

The Avenue or Alley of the Baobabs is a prominent group of baobab trees lining a dirt road in western Madagascar


Capital Lilongwe
Largest cities Lilongwe, Blantyre
Currency Kwacha
Highest point Mount Mulanje

Nyasaland became independent from British rule and renamed itself Malawi in 1964

Malawi is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi

Zomba was the first capital of Malawi and remained so until 1974

Lake Malawi takes up about a third of Malawi's area. It is sometimes called the Calendar Lake as it is about 365 miles long and 52 miles wide. Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other lake, including about 1000 species of cichlids

The Great Rift Valley runs through the country from north to south



The flag of Mali is almost identical to the flag of Guinea, but the colours are in reverse order

Capital Bamako
Largest cities Bamako
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mount Hombori

Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (for which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire

Bamako is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. Means “crocodile river”

Bamako is situated on the Niger River floodplain

Timbuktu was established as a trading post for salt. Discovered by Alexander Laing in 1826

Timbuktu is 12 miles north of the River Niger

Djenne in Mali is famous for its distinctive mud-brick (adobe) architecture, most notably the Great Mosque



In 2017, a red band at the top and bottom were added to the flag of Mauritania

Capital Nouakchott
Largest cities Nouakchott, Nouadhibou
Currency Ouguiya
Highest point Kediet ej Jill

90% of Mauritania's land is within the Sahara Desert

Mauritania was part of French West Africa from 1920 until independence in 1960

The capital and largest city of Mauritania is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast

Iron ore accounts for 50% of exports from Mauritania

Oil was discovered in Mauritania in 2001

Nouadhibou is the main commercial centre


Capital Port Louis
Largest cities Port Louis
Currency Rupee
Highest point Piton de la Petite Riviere Noire

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 km off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the island of Mauritius, Rodrigues, the islands of Agalega, and the archipelago of Saint Brandon

Mauritius claims sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago. The United Kingdom excised the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian territory prior to Mauritian independence in 1968

Blue Penny Museum is a stamp museum in Port Louis

Rodrigues is an autonomous outer island of the Republic of Mauritius



The flag of Morocco has a green pentagram that represents the seal of Solomon

Capital Rabat
Largest cities Casablanca, Fez, Tangier, Marrakesh
Currency Dirham
Highest point Toubkal

Morocco is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines

Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces

Morocco includes the Spanish-controlled exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla

Casablanca is Morocco's chief port and industrial centre. Means “white house”

Fez or Fes was the capital of Morocco until 1925. The city has two old medinas, the larger of which is Fes el Bali. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is believed to be one of the world's largest car-free urban areas

Marrakesh is known as the “Red City” due to the number of buildings constructed in red sandstone

The Jemaa el-Fnaa in Marrakesh is one of the best-known squares in Africa

Tangier lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar

The imperial cities of Morocco are the four historical capital cities: Fes, Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat

A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the centre and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people

Marrakesh Express is a rail journey from Casablanca to Marrakech, via Rabat

King Hassan II died in 1999 and was succeeded by his son, Mohammed VI



Flag of Mozambique contains an image of an AK-47 rifle and a mattock

Capital Maputo
Largest cities Maputo, Matola
Currency Metical
Highest point Monte Binga

Mozambique is separated from Madagascar by the Mozambique Channel to the east

The country is divided into two topographical regions by the Zambezi River

Maputo was previously called Lourenco Marques before independence

Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975

The only official language of Mozambique is Portuguese

Nacala is the deepest natural port on the east coast of Africa

Bazaruto Archipelago is a tourist destination in Mozambique

Mount Mabu is a mountain in northern Mozambique, famous for its old-growth rainforest


Capital Windhoek
Largest cities Windhoek
Currency Dollar
Highest point Brandberg

Although Namibia does not border Zimbabwe, less than 200m of the Zambezi River separates them at their closest points

Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990. Formerly known as South West Africa

Walvis Bay (“Whale Bay”) is a safe haven for sea vessels because of its natural deepwater harbour

Swakopmund is situated in the Namib desert and is the fourth largest population centre in Namibia. Swakopmund is a beach resort and an example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa

Caprivi Strip is a narrow protrusion of Namibia eastwards from the Okavango Region about 450 km, between Botswana to the south, and Angola and Zambia to the north. It is named after German chancellor who negotiated the acquisition of the land in an 1890 exchange with the United Kingdom

Penguin Islands are a group of islands and rocks situated along a stretch of 355 km along the coastline of Namibia

Etosha pan is a large endorheic salt pan, forming part of the Kalahari Basin in the north of Namibia. The dry lakebed and its surroundings are protected as Etosha National Park, one of Namibia's largest wildlife parks

There has been significant investment in uranium mining and Namibia is the world's fourth largest producer of uranium. Rich alluvial diamond deposits make Namibia a primary source for gem-quality diamonds

Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa. The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia

Namib may be the oldest desert in the world. A feral herd of horses live in the Namib


Capital Niamey
Largest cities Niamey
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mont Bazgane

Niger is named after the Niger River. It the largest nation in West Africa, with over 80% of its land area covered by the Sahara Desert

Niger is the largest landlocked country in Africa

The Agadez Region represents 52% of the total area of Niger, the largest of its seven regions

Niger is an exporter of uranium ore

Air Mountains are in northern Niger, within the Sahara Desert

Tree of Tenere was a solitary acacia in the Sahara Desert, and was once considered the most isolated tree on Earth. It was knocked down in 1973 by a truck driver


Capital Abuja
Largest cities Lagos, Kano, Ibadan
Currency Naira
Highest point Chappal Waddi

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world

The three largest ethnic groups are the Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo

Nigeria achieved independence from UK in 1960

In 2014, Nigeria's economy (GDP) became the largest in Africa, overtaking South Africa

Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River at the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. It is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil

Lagos is the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of over 14 million in its urban area

Federal Capital Territory is the home of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. It officially became Nigeria's capital in 1991, replacing Lagos

Zuma Rock is a large monolith near Abuja

The principal inhabitants of Kano are the Hausa people

At Nigerian independence, Ibadan was the largest and most populous city in the country and the third in Africa after Cairo and Johannesburg

Port Harcourt is the chief oil-refining city in Nigeria

Maidiguri is capital of Borno State, which has been raided by Boko Haram

Jos has suffered violent religious clashes between its Muslim and Christian populations

Eko Atlantic City is a planned city of Lagos State, being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean

The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived secessionist state in southeastern Nigeria. It existed from 1967 to 1970. The country was named after the Bight of Biafra, the bay of the Atlantic to its south. Nigeria later renamed the Bight of Biafra as the Bight of Bonny



Flag of Rwanda was adopted in 2001. The previous flag had a large black letter "R" (to distinguish it from the otherwise identical Flag of Guinea)

Capital Kigali
Largest cities Kigali
Currency Franc
Highest point Mount Karisimbi

Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations ruled through the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy. The Hutu population revolted in 1959

Rwanda's economy suffered heavily during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide

Rwanda is known as the “country of 1000 hills”

The capital and largest city, Kigali, is located near the centre of Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey

Mountains of the Moon or Montes Lunae referred to a mountain range in Rwanda that was long believed to be the source of the White Nile, but whose actual location was – and remains – uncertain

Sao Tome and Principe


The two black stars on the flag of Sao Toma and Principe represent the two islands that make up the country

Capital Sao Tome
Largest cities Sao Tome
Currency Dobra
Highest point Pico de Sao Tome

Sao Tome and Principe consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands: São Tomé and Príncipe, located about 140 km apart, in the Gulf of Guinea off the northwestern coast of Gabon

Sao Tome was named in honour of Saint Thomas by Portuguese explorers who arrived at the island on his feast day

Pico Cao Grande is a lava plug peak on Sao Tome

Príncipe (“Prince's island”) was named in honour of Afonso, Prince of Portugal

Sao Tome and Principe is the second-smallest African country, behind Seychelles. It is also the smallest Portuguese-speaking country

Santa Antonio is the capital of Principe


Capital Dakar
Largest cities Dakar
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Unnamed

Senegal is named after the Senegal River that borders it to the east and north

Pointe des Almadies is the westernmost point on the continent of Africa. Pointe des Almadies is located on the northwestern end of the Cap Vert peninsula

Goree Island was a Dakar slave centre

African Renaissance Monument is a 52m tall bronze statue in Dakar. It is the tallest statue in Africa


Capital Victoria
Largest cities Victoria
Currency Rupee
Highest point Morne Seychellois

Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It consists of 115 islands, and lies 1,500 km due east of Kenya. Named after a controller of finances for Louis XV

Mahe, Praslin, and Silhouette Island are the largest islands in Seychelles

Seychelles has the smallest population of any African state

Seychelles were known as “The Seven Sisters” by Portuguese explorers

The Seychelles became a crown colony separate from Mauritius in 1903 and independence was granted in 1976, as a republic within the Commonwealth

Victoria is situated on Mahe island, the archipelago's main island. The city was first established as the seat of the British colonial government

Victoria has a clock tower modelled on that of Vauxhall Clock Tower

Aldabra is the world's second-largest coral atoll. It is situated in the Aldabra Group of islands that are part of the Outer Islands of the Seychelles. The atoll has the largest population of giant tortoises in the world

Sierra Leone

Capital Freetown
Largest cities Freetown, Bo
Currency Leone
Highest point Mount Bintumani

Sierra Leone is bordered by Guinea in the north-east, Liberia in the south-east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest. Named after the Lion Mountains range

Freetown is the capital and largest city. It was christened by former slaves from Nova Scotia in 1792

From 1808 to 1874, Freetown served as the capital of British West Africa

Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, a major producer of gold, and has one of the world's largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbour in the world


Capital Mogadishu
Largest cities Mogadishu
Currency Shilling
Highest point Mount Shimbiris

Somalia has the longest coastline on the continent's mainland

British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland united to form the Somali Republic in 1960

Puntland is an autonomous region in Somalia. Eyl is a pirate haven in Puntland

Ras Hafun constitutes the easternmost point in Africa. The area is situated near the Cape Guardafui headland

South Africa


Flag of South Africa was adopted in 1994

Capital Pretoria (see note below)
Largest cities Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria
Currency Rand
Highest point Mafadi

Note: South Africa has three capital cities – Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative), Bloemfontein (judicial)

There are nine provinces in South Africa –

Eastern Cape

Capital city – Bhisho

Largest city – Port Elizabeth (officially renamed Gqeberha in 2021)

Mthatha (known as Umtata) – largest city in Transkei, which became part of Eastern Cape Province in 1994

Free State

Capital and largest city – Bloemfontein

Vredefort crater in South Africa is the largest verified impact crater on Earth

Free State was formerly known as Orange Free State


Capital and largest city – Johannesburg

Gauteng was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's elections in 1994. It is the smallest province, but is home to more than a quarter of the country’s population

Jan Smuts International Airport was renamed Johannesburg International Airport in 1994 and O. R. Tambo International Airport in 2006

The Leonardo is a 55-floor mixed-use property development in Johannesburg, that stands at a height of 234 metres, 11 metres taller than the previous tallest building in Africa, the Carlton Centre (also in Johannesburg)

Sophiatown is a suburb of Johannesburg. Originally called Sophiatown, it was destroyed, and a white suburb called Triomf (Triumph) was established in its place by the apartheid government, before the name Sophiatown was officially restored in 2006

Soweto is an abbreviation of South Western Townships

Cradle of Humankind is a World Heritage Site first named by UNESCO in 1999, about 50 kilometres northwest of Johannesburg. The Sterkfontein limestone caves have produced more than a third of early hominid fossils ever found prior to 2010

Pretoria forms part of the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality


Capital – Pietermaritzburg

Largest city – Durban

Before the end of apartheid in 1994, Pietermaritzburg was the capital of Natal Province

Port Natal was renamed Durban in honor of then Cape Colony Governor, Sir Benjamin d’Urban

Ladysmith is named after the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith, the Governor of the Cape Colony


Capital and largest city – Polokwane (Pietersburg)

The province was formed from the northern region of Transvaal Province in 1994, and initially named Northern Transvaal


Capital and largest city – Mbombela (Nelspruit)

Mpumalanga was formerly known as Eastern Transvaal

North West

Capital – Mahikeng

Largest city – Rustenburg

The two largest platinum mines in the world are near Rustenburg

North West Province includes parts of the former Transvaal Province and Cape Province

Northern Cape

Capital and largest city – Kimberley

Western Cape

Capital and largest city – Cape Town

Kaapstad is the Afrikaans name for Cape Town

District Six is the name of a former inner-city residential area in Cape Town. It is best known for the forced removal of over 60,000 of its inhabitants during the 1970s by the apartheid regime

Cape Flats is a poverty-stricken area of Cape Town

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is located in Cape Town

Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town

Paarl is the third-oldest city and European settlement in the Republic of South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch)

Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point in Africa

Blombos Cave was made famous by the discovery of 75,000-year-old pieces of ochre engraved with abstract designs and beads made from Nassarius shells, and c. 80,000-year-old bone tools

West Coast National Park has Khoi-San rock art

Karoo is a semi-desert region of South Africa. It has two main sub-regions – the Great Karoo in the north and the Little Karoo in the south. The 'High' Karoo is one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger South African Platform division

The term Veld (sometimes Veldt) refers primarily to the wide open rural spaces of South Africa or southern Africa and in particular to certain flatter areas or districts covered in grass or low scrub

Witwatersrand is a scarp that consists of a hard quartzite metamorphic rock, over which several rivers form waterfalls

Orange River is the longest river in South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,600 sq km in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga

Blue Train travels between Pretoria and Cape Town

South Sudan


The flag of South Sudan was adopted in 2005, while the country became independent in 2011

Capital Juba
Largest cities Juba
Currency Pound
Highest point Mount Kinyeti

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. The current capital is Juba, which is also its largest city. The capital city is planned to be changed to the more centrally located Ramciel in the future

Juba is situated on the White Nile

Dinka are the largest ethnic tribe in South Sudan

The official language of South Sudan is English

Sudd is a vast swamp in South Sudan, formed by the White Nile

South Sudan's protected area of Bandingilo National Park hosts the second-largest wildlife migration in the world (largest is the Serengeti migration)


Capital Khartoum
Largest cities Omdurman, Khartoum
Currency Pound
Highest point Deriba

Sudan is now the third-largest country in Africa, following South Sudanese independence in 2011

Nile River divides the country into eastern and western halves

Abyei is an area in Sudan. The area is disputed by South Sudan but controlled by the Sudanese government

Khartoum is located at the confluence of the White Nile, flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as the "al-Mogran", meaning the Confluence. The main Nile continues to flow north towards Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea

Jebel Barkal is a mountain which served as a royal cemetery during the Kingdom of Kush. World Heritage Site

Nubian pyramids were built by the rulers of the ancient Kushite kingdoms

Darfur is a region of western Sudan that has been the site of a war since 2003

Bir Tawil is an area along the border between Egypt and Sudan which is claimed by neither country


Capital Dodoma
Largest cities Dar es Salaam, Mwanza
Currency Shilling
Highest point Kilimanjaro

Tanzania was part of German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania

Dodoma has been the capital since 1996

Dar es Salaam, the former capital, retains most government offices and is the country's largest city, principal port, and leading commercial centre

Ngorongoro crater is the world's largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera. It is in Serengeti National Park

Olduvai Gorge is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania. Research there has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution

The village of Ujiji is on the shores of Lake Tanganyika

Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest fauna reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. Known as “Giraffe Park”

Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is a dormant volcanic mountain in Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 m above sea level (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak)

Ol Doinyo Lengai is an active volcano in Tanzania

Lake Natron is a salt and soda lake in the Arusha Region of northern Tanzania

Unguja (also known as Zanzibar Island) is one of the two major islands of Zanzibar, the other being Pemba. Unguja and mainland Tanzania are separated by the Zanzibar Channel

Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City. It is a World Heritage Site

Pemba is a leading producer of cloves


Capital Lome
Largest cities Lome
Currency CFA franc
Highest point Mount Agou

Togo is bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lome is located

Togo and the surrounding region was known as "The Slave Coast"

Togo gained independence from France in 1960

Lome is the chief port. The city exports coffee, cocoa, copra, and palm kernels. It also has an oil refinery


Capital Tunis
Largest cities Tunis, Sfax, Sousse
Currency Dinar
Highest point Jebel ech Chambi

Tunisia is the northernmost country in Africa

Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert

Tunis has been the capital of Tunisia since 1159

Bardo National Museum is in Tunis

Carthage is a suburb of Tunis

Monastir is a tourist resort in Tunisia

Cape Bon is a peninsula in northeastern Tunisia. It is surrounded by the Gulf of Tunis in the north

Dougga is an ancient Roman city in northern Tunisia.World Heritage Site

El Djem is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, often incorrectly called a Colosseum, which is capable of seating 35,000 spectators. Built by the Romans c. 238 AD

Kairouan is one of the most visited pilgrimage site in Islam. The Mosque of Uqba is situated in the city

Djerba is the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabes, off the coast of Tunisia

Ras ben Sakka is the most northerly point of the African continent



Flag of Uganda depicts a grey crowned crane

Capital Kampala
Largest cities Kampala
Currency Shilling
Highest point Mount Stanley

Uganda is the world's second most populous landlocked country after Ethiopia. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania

Uganda gained independence from Britain in 1962

The official languages are Swahili and English

Buganda is a subnational kingdom within Uganda. The kingdom of the Ganda people, Buganda is the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda, comprising all of Uganda's Central Region

Kampala is the capital and largest city in Uganda. The city grew as the capital of the Buganda kingdom

Lake Albert and Lake Edward have borders with Uganda

Nalubaale Power Station, often known by its old name, Owen Falls Dam, is a hydroelectric power station across the White Nile near to its source at Lake Victoria in Uganda

Lake Kyoga is a large shallow lake in Uganda. The Victoria Nile flows through the lake

Uganda Railway was a former British state-owned railway company. The line linked the interiors of Uganda and Kenya with the port of Mombasa

Kibale National Park is in western Uganda



Flag of Zambia depicts an orange-coloured African fish eagle

Capital Lusaka
Largest cities Lusaka. Kitwe
Currency Kwacha
Highest point Unnamed point in Mafinga Hills

Copperbelt Province was the backbone of the Northern Rhodesian economy during British colonial rule and fuelled the hopes of the immediate post-independence period, but its economic importance was severely damaged by a crash in global copper prices in 1973

Kafue is the largest National Park in Zambia

Kasanga is a National Park in Zambia

Bangweulu is one of the world's great wetland systems, comprising Lake Bangweulu, the Bangweulu Swamps and the Bangweulu Flats or floodplain. Situated in the upper Congo River basin

Chinese investments in Zambia range from mining interests in Zambia's copper belt to investments in agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism



Flag of Zimbabwe has a soapstone bird which represents a statuette of a bird found at the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. It is a representation of most likely the Bateleur eagle or the African fish eagle

Capital Harare
Largest cities Harare, Bulawayo
Currency Dollar
Highest point Mount Nyangani

Zimbabwe lies between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers

Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city that was once the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe, which existed from 1100 to 1450 AD during the country’s Late Iron Age. Construction on the monument by ancestors of the Shona people began in the 11th century. The most important artefacts recovered from the Monument are the eight Zimbabwe Birds carved from soapstone

Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company first demarcated the present territory during the 1890s; the area became the self-governing colony of Southern Rhodesia in 1923. In 1965 the conservative white minority government unilaterally declared independence as Rhodesia. The unrecognized state endured international isolation. Universal enfranchisement and de jure sovereignty was established in 1980

Harare was officially called Salisbury until 1982. It is located in Mashonaland

Bulawayo is the second largest city. It is located in Matabeleland

Cecil Rhodes is buried in Matobo National Park

Shona are the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe

Cecil the lion, killed by Walter Palmer in 2015, lived primarily in the Hwange National Park in Matabeleland North

States limited in official recognition


Flag of Somaliland.png

Somalialand is a self-declared independent state that is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia. In 1991, the people of Somaliland declared independence from Somalia. Somaliland lies in northwestern Somalia, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. Hargeisa is the capital city

Berbera is a port in Somaliland

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)

Flag of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.png

A partially recognized state that controls a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region and claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory

Moroccan Western Sahara Wall separates the Moroccan-controlled areas (the Southern Provinces) on the west from the Polisario-controlled areas on the east

Cape Bojador is a headland on the west coast of Western Sahara

Laayoune or El Aaiun is the largest city of Western Sahara. The city is under de facto administration by Morocco

Overseas territories

Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

A British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean consisting of the island of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha

Jamestown is the capital and only port on St Helena

Jacob's Ladder is a staircase leading from Jamestown up the side of Ladder Hill to Ladder Hill Fort

Ascension Island is 3,730 km to the north of Tristan da Cunha

Georgetown is the capital and chief settlement of Ascension Island

Tristan da Cunha is named after Portuguese explorer Tristão da Cunha

Gough and Inaccessible Islands is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha

Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is the main settlement of the island of Tristan da Cunha

Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2,000 km from nearest inhabited land, Saint Helena

St Helena and Ascension both lie due west of the coast of Angola


Mayotte lies between Madagascar and Mozambique

Mayotte was an overseas collectivity of France from 1976 until 2011, when it became an overseas department. The territory is geographically part of the Comoro Islands, but the people of Mayotte chose to remain politically a part of France in the 1974 referendum. The territory is also known as Maore, the native name of its main island

Mamoudzou is the capital of Mayotte

Mayotte became an outermost region of the European Union in 2014


Reunion is east of Madagascar. Administratively, Reunion is one of the overseas departments of France

Ile Bourbon – old name for Reunion

Saint-Denis is the capital of Reunion

British Indian Ocean Territory

The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) is situated in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Africa and Indonesia. The territory comprises the six atolls of the Chagos Archipelago with over 1,000 individual islands. The largest island is Diego Garcia. Great Chagos Bank is the largest atoll in the world

The sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago is disputed between the UK and Mauritius

Physical Geography


Highest mountains in Africa – Kilimanjaro, Kenya, Stanley

Atlas Mountains extend about 2500 km through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Toubkal in Morocco is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains and in North Africa

Rwenzori Mountains, previously called the Ruwenzori is a mountain range of central Africa, often referred to as Mt. Rwenzori, located on the border between Uganda and the DR Congo, with heights of up to 5,109 m. The highest Rwenzoris are permanently snow-capped, and they, along with Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya are the only such in Africa. Mount Stanley, in the Rwenzori range, is the highest mountain of both the DR Congo and Uganda

Drakensberg Mountains (‘Dragon's Mountains’) lie between in KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho


Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world. To the south, it is delimited by the Sahel

Nubian Desert is in the eastern region of the Sahara Desert, and spans 157,000 square miles of northeastern Sudan between the Nile and the Red Sea

Namib Desert stretches for more than 2,000 km along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. Coastal regions can experience more than 180 days of thick fog a year. While this has proved a major hazard to ships – more than a thousand wrecks litter the Skeleton Coast – it is a vital source of moisture for desert life

Kalahari is a semi-desert covering much of Botswana, parts of Namibia, and South Africa


The Afar Depression (also called the Danakil Depression or the Afar Triangle) is a geological depression in the Horn of Africa, where it overlaps Eritrea, the Afar Region of Ethiopia, and Djibouti. Afar is well known as one of the cradles of hominids, containing the Middle Awash, site of many fossil hominid discoveries; Gona, site of the world's oldest stone tools; and Hadar, site of Lucy, the fossilized specimen of Australopithecus afarensis

Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous trenches, approximately 7,000 km in total length, that runs from Lebanon's Beqaa Valley to Mozambique. the term is most often used to refer to the valley of the East African Rift, the divergent plate boundary which extends from the Afar Triple Junction southward across eastern Africa, and is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates.

Albertine Rift is the western branch of the East African Rift, covering parts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania

Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) is the world’s largest known fossil water aquifer system. It is located underground in the Eastern end of the Sahara Desert and spans the political boundaries of four countries in north-eastern Africa


Longest rivers in Africa – Nile, Congo, Niger, Zambezi, Ubangi

Nile is 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long

Blue Nile originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia

White Nile refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal Rivers

White Nile feeds Lake Victoria

Congo River is the world's deepest river with measured depths in excess of 220 m. It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, after the Amazon

Congo River passes through the equator twice. The sources of the Congo are in the Albertine Rift Mountains

Livingstone Falls are a succession of rapids on the lower course of the Congo River

Ubangi River is a tributary of the Congo River

Senegal River is a 1,790 km long river that forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania

Zambezi River is the longest east flowing river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. It empties into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. The Zambezi's most noted feature is Victoria Falls

Kazungula Bridge is a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi River between Zambia and Botswana at Kazungula. Opened in May 2021

Limpopo River is the second largest river in Africa that drains to the Indian Ocean, after the Zambezi River. Serves as a border separating South Africa to the southeast from Botswana to the northwest and Zimbabwe to the north

Gambia River runs from north Guinea westward through Senegal and The Gambia to the Atlantic Ocean at the city of Banjul

River Niger enters the Gulf of Guinea, near Port Harcourt

Benue River is the longest tributary of Niger River

Niger, Gambia and Senegal rivers all rise in Guinea


African Great Lakes.svg

Largest lakes in Africa by area – Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, Lake Turkana, Lake Albert

Lake Victoria lies just south of the equator. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake, and the largest tropical lake in the world, and is Earth's second largest freshwater lake – only North America's Lake Superior is larger

Migingo Island in Lake Victoria was the center of a territorial dispute between Kenya and Uganda and is extremely densely populated

Lake Tanganyika is the second deepest in the world, after Lake Baikal. It is also the world's longest freshwater lake and second biggest freshwater lake by volume

Lake Malawi is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system. This lake, the eighth largest lake in the world, is located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania

Mumbo Island is in Lake Malawi

Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf, is a lake in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, with its far northern end crossing into Ethiopia. It is the world's largest permanent desert lake and the world's largest alkaline lake

Lake Albert is located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lake Albert is the northernmost of the chain of lakes in the Great Rift Valley and Africa’s seventh largest lake

Lake Edward is one of the smallest African great lakes. It lies at the border of DR Congo and Uganda

Lake Kariba is the world's largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume. It lies 1300 km upstream from the Indian Ocean, along the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe

Lake Chad is an endorheic lake. It provides water to more than 68 million people living in the four countries surrounding it (Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria) on the edge of the Sahara Desert

Lake Kivu lies on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, and is in the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. Lake Kivu empties into the Ruzizi River, which flows southwards into Lake Tanganyika. It contains large quantities of carbon dioxide and methane


Bight of Benin extends eastward for about 400 miles from Cape St. Paul to the Nun outlet of the Niger River. To the east it is continued by the Bight of Bonny (formerly Bight of Biafra). The bight is part of the Gulf of Guinea

The intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (zero degrees latitude and longitude) is in the Gulf of Guinea

Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique

Red Sea is connected to the Indian Ocean through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez (leading to the Suez Canal)

Gulf of Sidra is a body of water in the Mediterranean Sea on the northern coast of Libya; it is also known as Gulf of Sirte

Straits of Tiran are the narrow sea passages between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea proper

Mascarene Islands is a group of islands in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar consisting of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues


Native name of Victoria Falls means “the smoke that thunders”

Victoria Falls is a basalt plateau over which the Upper Zambezi flows. It has many large cracks filled with weaker sandstone

Augrabies Falls is a waterfall on the Orange River in South Africa

Tugela Falls is the world's second highest waterfall. The total drop in five free-leaping falls is 948 m (3,110 ft). They are located in the Drakensberg Mountains in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

Murchison Falls is a waterfall on the Nile. It breaks the Victoria Nile, which flows across northern Uganda from Lake Victoria to Lake Kyoga and then to the north end of Lake Albert in the western branch of the East African Rift

Four Corners is the point where four countries almost meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe

W National Park is a major national park in West Africa around a meander in the River Niger shaped like the letter W. The park includes areas of Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso