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Geography of Africa A-Z


Addis Ababa   The capital of Ethiopia, in the Ethiopian Highlands. It has a population of about 3.4 million.
African Great Lakes   A series of lakes around the Great Rift Valley. They include Lake Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawi, Turkana, Albert, Kivu and Edward.
Ahaggar   An area of flat-topped mountains in the centre of the Sahara.
Atlas Mountains   A mountain range stretching about 2000 kilometres (1200 miles) along the northeastern edge of the Sahara.
Berbers   The ancient native people of North Africa, living west of the River Nile. Today the Berbers live mostly in the uplands of Morocco.
Bié Plateau   A region of high, flat land occupying most of central Angola at a height of around 1500 metres (5000 feet).
Cairo   The capital of Egypt, built on the banks of the River Nile. It is the largest city in Africa, with a population of around 19 million.
Cameroon, Mount   The highest peak in West and Central Africa, at 4040 metres (13,255 feet) high. It is a volcano that last erupted in 2012.
Cape Agulhas   The most southerly point of Africa. It is officially the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Cape of Good Hope   A rocky headland near the southern tip of Africa. It is named because it is the point at which a ship sailing from Europe to India starts to sail east.
Cape Town   The second largest city in South Africa, near the Cape of Good Hope. It has a population of around 3.7 million.
Chad, Lake   A large, shallow lake on the southern edge of the Sahara. It provides freshwater to millions of people, but has shrunk considerably in the last 50 years.
Congo   The second longest river in Africa, with a total length of 4700 kilometres (2900 miles) and some channels as deep as 220 metres (720 feet).

Congo Basin   A vast lowland area around the River Congo. It contains the second largest rainforest in the world, home to animals such as the mountain gorilla.   
Copper Belt   An area of land in northern Zambia and southern Democratic Republic of Congo, well known for its rich copper resources.
Drakensberg   A mountain range stretching about 1000 kilometres (600 miles) along the southeastern coast of Africa.
Ethiopian Highlands   A mountainous area in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has a temperate climate with a rainy season. Its highest point, Ras Dashen, is 4550 metres (14,928 feet) high.
Giza   An Egyptian city on the west bank of the River Nile from Cairo. It is the site of the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, built around 4500 years ago.  
Great Rift Valley   A long “crack” in the Earth’s surface, running through East Africa. The valley is some 5000 kilometres (3000 miles) long. Deep valleys, volcanoes and huge lakes have formed along the Great Rift Valley.
Guinea Highlands   A high plateau stretching from southeastern Guinea to Côte D’Ivoire and covered in dense forest.
Horn of Africa   The horn-shaped region of East Africa that juts out into the Indian Ocean. It includes the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Johannesburg   The largest city in South Africa, with a population of 4.4 million. It is home to a rich trade in gold and diamonds, mined from the Witwatersrand hills.
Kalahari Desert   A desert in southern Africa covering much of Botswana and parts of Namibia and South Africa.
Karoo   An arid region that occupies the western part of South Africa.
Kenya, Mount   The second highest African mountain, at 5199 metres (17,057 feet). It is an extinct volcano, topped with snow and glaciers.
Kilimanjaro, Mount   An inactive volcano in eastern Tanzania. At 5895 metres (19,341 feet), it is the highest mountain in Africa.
Kinshasa   The capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the third largest city in Africa, with a population of 9 million.
Lagos   The former capital of Nigeria, and the second largest city in Africa. It has a population of at least 17 million.
Madagascar   A large island off the southeastern coast of Africa. Madagascar's wildlife includes species found nowhere else, such as lemurs.
Maghreb   The northwest region of Africa, encompassing the Atlas Mountains and the coast of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Namib Desert   A cool desert stretching along the southwestern coast of Namibia.
Nasser, Lake   An enormous reservoir, created in the 1960s when the Aswan Dam was built across the River Nile. The dam controls the flooding of the Nile downstream.
Niger   The third longest river in Africa. It flows 4180 kilometres (2600 miles) from the Guinea Highlands, forming a large delta at its mouth in the Gulf of Guinea.
Nile   The longest river in the world, flowing 6670 kilometres (4145 miles) from the highlands to the west of Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. Five thousand years ago, the fertile Nile Valley was the setting for the great civilization of ancient Egypt.
Orange   The longest river in South Africa, flowing 2200 kilometres (1367 miles) from the Drakensberg to the Atlantic Ocean.
Red Sea   A sea separating northeastern Africa from the Arabian Peninsula.
Rwenzori Mountains   A mountain range on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Reaching heights of 5109 metres (16,761 feet), its peaks are among the few in Africa to be covered with snow all year round.
Sahara Desert   A bare, rocky desert stretching across North Africa. About the size of the USA, it is the largest hot desert in the world.
Sahel   A strip of grassland to the south of the Sahara. It is relatively dry and suffers from frequent droughts, which are devastating for the population who farm the land.
Savannah   Dry grasslands covering much of southern Africa. National parks protect their wildlife, such as giraffes and zebras, and attract thousands of tourists each year.
Sudd   A large swamp in South Sudan formed by part of the River Nile. It is so thick with floating vegetation that some boats carry saws in order to clear a channel.
Suez Canal   A canal, opened in 1869, that cuts across the narrow strip of land dividing the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.
Tanganyika, Lake   The longest freshwater lake in the world, at 673 kilometres (418 miles) long.
Tibesti Mountains   A mountain range in the Sahara. The highest peak is the volcano Emi Koussi, which is 3445 metres (11,302 feet) high.
Victoria Falls   A waterfall on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, where the River Zambezi drops 108 metres (354 feet). The Victoria Falls are known to the local people as Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning “the smoke that thunders”.
Victoria, Lake   The largest lake in Africa, which feeds into the River Nile.
Volta, Lake   The largest reservoir by surface area in the world, built in Ghana in the 1960s. It is filled with water from the White and Black Volta Rivers, held back by the Akosombo Dam.


Consultant: 
Lloyd Jenkins

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