Basic Facts & Figures
Africa is the second-largest of the seven continents on Earth. Africa is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the Indian Ocean on the east, the Mediterranean Sea on the north, and the Red Sea on the northeast, covering 11,700,000 square miles or 30,300,000 square kilometers.
Although some are disputed, there are about 53 countries in Africa with the biggest country being Sudan, which covers 967,500 square miles (2,505,816 square kilometers). The countries with the largest populations in Africa are Egypt, Nigeria and Ethiopia.
The tallest point in Africa is Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania.. Mt. Kilimanjaro is 19,340 feet (5895 meters) tall and is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
The lowest pont in Africa is Lake Assal, in Djibouti at 512 feet (156 meters) below sea level.
Africa’s largest lake is Lake Victoria covering 26,836 square miles (69,500 square kilometers). It’s the world’s second-largest freshwater lake – covering an area of 69,490 sq km (26,830 sq mi) and lies 1,130 m (3,720 ft) above sea level. Its greatest known depth is 82 m (270 ft).
The longest river in Africa is the Nile River; it is 4,241 miles (6825 kilometers) long. Other majro rivers include the Congo River, the Niger River and the Zambezi River.
Africa has many vast deserts, including the largest desert in the world, the Sahara. The Sahara Desert is located in northern Africa and covers 3,500,000 square miles (9,065,000 square kilometers). The Sahara Desert alone is expanding southwards at an average of 0.8 km (Â½ mile) a month. The Kalahari, in southern Africa, is the second largest desert.
The Rift Valley extends more than 4,830 km (3,000 mi) from Syria in south-western Asia to Mozambique in south-eastern Africa. The width of the valley ranges from a few miles to more than 160 km (100 mi). In eastern Africa, the valley splits into two branches: the Eastern Rift and the Western Rift.
Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably over 500 from ten families.
The Namib is the world’s oldest desert, and the only desert in Africa inhabited by elephant, rhino, giraffe and lion.
There are more than 1,000 different languages spoken in Africa.
The northernmost tip is Cape Blanc in Tunisia
The southernmost tip is Cape Agulhas in South Africa