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Africa
AFRICA
INTERESTING FACTS

The Great Rift Valley of East Africa is a huge crack in the earth’s surface. It stretches
from Mozambique in the south, all the way to Sudan in the north. There are places
along the rift where the valley walls are over a mile high!

Most of the land near the equator in Africa is abundant, verdant rainforest. Since the
rainforest provides oxygen to the entire planet earth, the rainforest is home to many of
the world’s most important vegetation!

The African savanna, which is north and south of the rainforests, is home to large
grazing animals like lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants, and zebras! Because the topsoil
is too thin, no farming takes place there.
There are three massive deserts in Africa, one of which is the largest desert in the
world: the Sahara. The second is the Kalahari Desert and it is cold and rocky and is
situated in Southern Africa. The Namib Desert, situated in southwest Africa, is the
hottest and driest place on earth!

Africa is home to four of the five fastest land animals: the cheetah, which can run at a
startling 70 miles per hour, the wildebeest, the lion, and the gazelle.
THE FOUR REGIONS OF AFRICA
 Africa
can be divided into four
regions:
(1) North
(2) West
(3) East
(4) Central and Southern
AFRICA’S MAJOR LANDFORMS
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Africa is called the “plateau continent”
because of its high elevation—the height of
land above sea level.
Each of Africa’s regions has mountains. The
highest are in East Africa.
There, the continent’s highest mountain,
Mount Kilimanjaro, rises to a height of more
than 19,000 feet.

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The 4,000-mile-long Great Rift Valley in
East Africa was formed millions of
years ago as continents pulled apart.
A rift is a deep trench.
Major lakes are in or near the Great
Rift Valley.
THE GREAT RIFT VALLEY
The Great Rift
Valley is so large
that more than
30 Grand Canyons
could fit inside it.
AFRICA’S RIVERS

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
The Nile: The world’s longest river, it runs
more than 4,000 miles.
From its two sources, the White Nile and
the Blue Nile, it flows north into the
Mediterranean Sea.
Its floods deposit silt, bits of rock and soil
that make the land fertile, or nourishing,
to plants.


The Congo: Africa’s second-longest river
runs through Central Africa into the
Atlantic Ocean, fed by tributaries, small
rivers and streams that flow into a larger
river.
The Niger: Africa’s third-longest river
begins in Guinea, running about 2,600 miles
and ending in the Gulf of Guinea.
WHAT INFLUENCES CLIMATE?
 The
climate in most of Africa is warm
because the continent lies along the
Equator.
 The
seasons above the Equator are
the opposite of those below the
Equator.
AGRICULTURAL RESOURCES
 Much
of Africa’s land is used for
subsistence farming, or raising crops
to support one’s own family.
 Some subsistence farmers also grow a
few crops to sell or trade.
 Crops
crops.
raised to be sold are called cash
 African
cash crops include coffee,
cacao, and tea.
 When
too much land is used for cash
crops and those crops fail, food
shortages can occur.
•From this map you
can see how the ways
of making a living in
Africa vary from
region to region.
•Herding is
widespread in the
north, and farming
takes place
throughout the
western and central
portions of the
continent.
•Other activities such
as manufacturing are
scattered throughout
Africa.
MINERAL RESOURCES
An economy is a system for producing,
distributing, consuming, and owning
goods, services, and wealth.
 Mining is a major part of Africa’s
economy.
 Parts of North Africa, as well as the
West African country of Nigeria, have
large supplies of a valuable mineral
resource: petroleum.
 It is used to make oil and gasoline.

 The
country of Ghana was once
called the Gold Coast because it
was a chief exporter of gold.
 Other
minerals from Africa include
copper, silver, uranium, titanium,
and diamonds.

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