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The Geography of Africa. Africa’s Size. Second largest continent  11.7 million sq miles 10% of the world’s population . 2 ½ times the size of the U. S. Topography Of AFRICA… A giant plateau! . Mediterranean Sea. Atlas Mts. Libyan Desert. Tropic of Cancer 20 ° N. Sahara Desert.

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The geography of africa





The geography of africa

Africa’s Size

  • Second largest continent  11.7 million sq miles

  • 10% of the world’s population.

  • 2 ½ times the size of the U. S.

The geography of africa



A giant plateau!

Mediterranean Sea

Atlas Mts.

Libyan Desert

Tropic of Cancer 20° N

Sahara Desert

Red Sea




L. Chad-->

Great Rift Valley

<--Gulf of Aden

L. Albert-->

ΔMt. Kenya

Equator 0°

Congo River

L. Victoria

ΔMt. Kilimanjaro

L. Tanganyika->

Indian Ocean

Ruwenzori Mts.

Atlantic Ocean

Zambezi River

Namib Desert

Kalahari Desert


Tropic of Capricorn20° S


Drajensburg Mts.

Pacific Ocean

Climate vegetation
Climate & Vegetation

latitude & trade winds = “striped” climate & vegetation pattern on the continent.

Absence of coastal mtn ranges also impacts climate.


  • Highest point : Mt Kilimanjaro

  • Lowest point : Lake Assal

  • Victoria Falls in Zambia

The geography of africa

Mt. Kilimanjaro: Tanzania

Glacier has been melting… 80% loss from 1912 to present day.

What element of LEMPOSA contributes to the glacier and the snow found on Kilimanjaro?

The geography of africa

The Mighty Nile River:

“Longest River in the World”

Farmers DEPEND on this River as a source of water for their farms, and before the Aswan High Dam was built, farmers depended on the nutrients left behind as natural fertilizer for the soil and thus their crops. Negative impact for people being relocated & for farmers.

The geography of africa

Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric Power: An example of how humans have MODIFIED their environment

The geography of africa

Over the last 11,000 years the Sahara has been growing…Causes:1. Overgrazing 2. Farming “average” land3. Destruction of plants4. Incorrect irrigation 5. Changes in the Earth’s orbit 6. Atmospheric & vegetation changes in the subtropical regions.

The Sahara Desert:Desertification

The geography of africa

African Savannah:

5 million sq miles

Rolling grassland scattered with shrubs & isolated trees.

Can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome

The geography of africa

African Rain Forest

  • Annual rainfall of up to 17 ft.

  • Rapid decomposition (very humid).

  • Covers 37 countries, 15% of the land surface of Africa.

The geography of africa

Seismic Activity in Africa

What physical features lie along these areas of seismic activity?

The geography of africa

West Africa: Home of our Hurricanes

Bantu migrations
Bantu Migrations

  • 1000-1800 AD: Large wave of migrations from W to E Africa.

  • 1st to arrive: The Bantu from the Congo or Niger Delta Basin

  • “Bantu” = group of people who speak the same/similar language with common word “NTU”, means “a person”

The middle passage
The Middle Passage

  • The portion of the triangular trade in which millions of people from Africa were shipped to North America as their need for people to farm the land rose.

  • Slaves were sold, or often kidnapped.

The geography of africa

Age-Group Differences

Developing vs. Industrialized countries


  • Compulsory in much of Africa.

  • Obstacles:

    • Lack of teachers in rural areas

    • Gov’tspend more $$ on military

    • Boys education takes

      priority over girls.

  • College limited & hard to get into.


  • A combination of new diseases and reemerging old ones is putting the lives of millions of Africans in serious jeopardy.

    • HIV/AIDS

      • 1st case – 1959 in Belgian Congo

      • Reasons for spread:

        • Multiple partners.

        • Mother-to-child

        • Lack of education & superstitious beliefs

    • Malaria “silent killer”

      • Spread by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito

      • Kills 700,000 children every year.


  • Animist/traditional

    • Centered around Creator

    • Life does not end, you become one of the ancestors.

    • No written holy text

  • Islam

  • Christianity

    Be sure to review “religion” notes

The geography of africa

1000 different languages

1000+ different tribes

Common traits or characteristics of traditional african tribal life
Common Traits or Characteristics of Traditional African Tribal Life

  • The good of the group comes ahead of the good of the individual.

  • All land is owned by the group.

  • Strong feeling of loyalty to the group.

  • Important ceremonies at different parts of a person’s life.

  • Special age and work associations.

  • Deep respect for ancestors.

  • Religion is an important part of everyday life.

  • Government is in the hands of the chiefs [kings].

ECONOMY Tribal Life

African economy
African Tribal LifeEconomy

  • Many = subsistence farmers & herders.

  • Colonial Period brought transportation & trade routes

  • African governments trying to develop economy through manufacturing.

Levels of development
Levels of Development Tribal Life

Dark Blue: Very High

Blue: High

Light Blue: Medium

White: Low

Grey: Data Unavail

Level of development
Level of Development Tribal Life

Look at the chart from 1870 to 2007:

What do you notice? Africa stopped catching up to Asia & Latin Am

Brain drain
“Brain Drain” Tribal Life

  • “brain drain” when a country becomes short of skills b/c people with expertise emigrate.

  • Why leave? Education

  • Why not return home? economic & political issues

  • 1960-1975: 27,000 Africans left

  • 1960 – 1975: 40,000 left

  • By 1990 at least 20,000 leave the continent annually.

POLITICS Tribal Life

Political Tribal Life

  • Many, but not all of the political, economic & human rights issues in Africa are a result of the corrupt governments in this region.

  • Libya is no longer a military dictatorship…