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Thursday, 19 April 2012


1.      Africa is the second largest of the earth’s seven continents and makes up approximately 22% of the earth’s total land area.g
2.      With the inclusion of the disputed Western Sahara territory and the island nations off the continental coast, there are a total of 54 independent nations in Africa.a
3.      The current population of Africa is nearly one billion people. Due to rapid population growth in the continent over the last 40 years, its general population is relatively young. In many African states, more than half of the population is under the age of 25.g
4.      Africa is the most centrally located of all of the continents with both the prime meridian (0 degrees longitude) and the equator (0 degrees latitude) passing through it.a
5.      The primary region of Africa is often called sub-Saharan Africa and excludes the mostly Islamic countries of North Africa: Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Sub-Saharan Africa includes 42 nations on mainland Africa and the six island nations.a
6.      While Africa makes up about 16% of the world’s population, fully one quarter of the world’s languages are spoken only in Africa.g
7.      Arabic (in various dialects) is the most common language spoken in Africa with about 170 million speakers, primarily residing in North Africa. In the continent as a whole, there are over 2,000 recognized languages spoken.g
8.      Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with an estimated population of 125–145 million people. Egypt is the second most populous country with over 76 million people.g
9.      The most populated city in Africa is the Egyptian capital of Cairo with an estimated 17 million residents in the metropolitan area.g
10.  The largest country in Africa is Sudan with a total area of 967,490 square miles (2.5 million square kilometers), and the smallest country is the island nation of The Seychelles with a total area of just 175 square miles (453 square kilometers).g
11.  Population experts estimate that there are at least 3,000 distinct ethnic groups (tribes) in Africa. Nigeria alone has more than 370 recognized tribes within its population.h
The Nile River is the longest river in the world with a total length of 4,132 miles
12.  Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, covering an area of 26,830 square miles (69,490 square kilometers).e
13.  The Nile River, which drains into the Mediterranean Sea at the northeastern edge of Africa, is the longest river in the world with a total length of 4,132 miles (6,650 kilometers). It is formed from the juncture of two smaller rivers: the White Nile and the Blue Nile.e
14.  Africa contains the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, which makes up an area greater in size than the entire continental U.S.e
15.  Egypt is the most popular tourist destination in Africa, attracting around 10 million visitors per year.e
16.  While Egypt is most well known for its pyramids, the Republic of Sudan actually has 223 of its own pyramids, double the number of pyramids in Egypt. Smaller and steeper than their Egyptian counterparts, the pyramids of Sudan are not nearly as famous.e
17.  Four of the five fastest land animals reside in Africa: the cheetah, the wildebeest, the lion, and the Thomson’s gazelle. All of these animals can run at speeds above 50 miles per hour, with the cheetah reaching a top speed of about 70 miles per hour.e
18.  Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh between 6 and 7 tons.e
19.  The novel Tarzan of the Apes, set in Africa and published by American author Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, created such a compelling image of Africa and the book’s title character that a New Orleans newspaper writer only half-jokingly suggested that if Tarzan were to run for president in 1929, he would receive as many votes as incumbent president Herbert Hoover.e
20.  The deserts of Tunisia housed the original Star Wars movie sets for the film's planet Tatooine. More than 30 years after the premier of the first movie in the series, the sets are still very well preserved and visitors to Tunisia can even stay in Luke Skywalker’s home.e
21.  Africa is the poorest and most underdeveloped of all of the continents, despite its wealth of natural resources. The average poor person in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to live on just $.70 a day.g
22.  More than 17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS, and experts estimate that at least 25 million more people in Africa are HIV-positive.f
23.  Approximately 90% of all cases of malaria worldwide occur in Africa, and 3,000 African children die each day from its effects.f
The African continent has not moved much from its original position in the super-continent Pangaea
24.  Scientists believe Africa was once joined with Earth’s other continents in a super-continent called Pangaea. While Asia and South America split from Africa in the late Cretaceous epoch (roughly 80 million years ago), the African continent remained relatively stable and has not moved much throughout time. Geologists believe the large island of Madagascar split from the African continent as early as 160 millions years ago.h
25.  Central eastern Africa is believed by most scientists to be the origin place of both humans and great apes. The earliest remains of the modern human species Homo sapiens have been found in Ethiopia and date to roughly 200,000 years ago.h
26.  The scientist Charles Darwin was the first to suggest that the ancestors of human beings may have originated in Africa. However, prejudicial attitudes toward the continent made many people in the Western world highly resistant to the idea until well into the twentieth century.h
27.  In 1974, the skeleton of “Lucy,” a hominid who lived approximately 3.2 million years ago and has been considered a common ancestor to the human family, was discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia. In 1979, a 165-foot trail of the earliest hominid footprints was discovered in the Kibish region of Tanzania. The two discoveries indisputably marked northeastern Africa as the birthplace of humanity.h
28.  Throughout human prehistory, Africa contained no major nation-states and was inhabited primarily by small groups of hunter-gatherers. Scientists believe that cattle were domesticated by hunter-gatherers in Africa as early as 6000 B.C., long before the advent of agriculture on the continent.d
29.  The oldest literate civilization in Africa is the Pharaonic civilization of ancient Egypt. Historical records date the rise of the Egyptian state to about 3300 B.C. and the fall from influence at 343 B.C., making it one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilizations.d
30.  Europeans first began exploring the northern coast of Africa around 332 B.C., when Alexander the Great came into Egypt and established the city of Alexandria. The Roman Empire soon after began to integrate much of North Africa’s Mediterranean coastline into the Roman system.d
31.  While there are several different theories regarding the origin of the name “Africa,” most etymologists believe the name derived from Afri, the title for a group of people who dwelt in North Africa near Carthage around the third century B.C., and -ca, the Roman suffix for “country” or “land.”d
The name ”Africa” was derived from Greek and Latin words that highlighted the continent's sunny, warm climate
32.  Ancient Greeks and Romans originally used the term “Africa” to apply only to the northern region of the continent. In Latin, the word Africa means “sunny,” and the word Aphrike in Greek means “without cold.”e
33.  By the first century A.D., Africa had been subdivided by geographers into three distinct regions: Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. The last term was more or less used to describe the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.d
34.  The African region of Ethiopia is featured prominently in several ancient Greek dramas and poems. The Greek poet Homer mentions Ethiopians in both the Iliad and theOdyssey as a “blameless race” and “amongst the noblest of men.”e
35.  Islam became a prominent influence in North Africa by the seventh century A.D. and spread into sub-Saharan Africa through trade routes and migration. The population of North Africa is still considered widely Muslim today.d
36.  Prior to the colonization of the African continent, historians believe Africa was made up of as many as 10,000 different states and autonomous groups, ranging in size from small family groups of hunter-gatherers to large kingdoms.d
37.  While slavery has been practiced in Africa all throughout recorded history, Africa is the only continent to have a large percentage of its inhabitants transported elsewhere for slave labor. Historians estimate that approximately 7–12 million slaves were transferred from Africa to the Americas between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries.d
38.  Only two African nations have never been under European colonial power: Liberia, an independent nation settled largely by African Americans, and Ethiopia, an Orthodox Christian nation known in Europe as Abyssinia. The rest of the continent was colonized by European imperial powers in the nineteenth century “scramble for Africa.”d
39.  During the 1950s, colonized African states began to fight for independence from imperial rule with Libya being the first African nation to declare its independence. The independence movements brought great hope and inspired U.S. civil rights leaders like Malcolm X to fight for increased freedoms at home.d
40.  South Africa was one of the first African nations to gain its independence from colonial rule after the imperial period. However, black residents of the state lived under a forced system of segregation called Apartheid (meaning “separateness”) until 1994 when the country held its first democratic elections with universal suffrage. The famous civil rights leader Nelson Mandela was elected as president.d
Children were commonly recruited and even compelled to serve as soldiers in the Second Congo War
41.  The Second Congo War, which began in 1998 and involved eight African nations, is the largest war in African history. An estimated 5.4 million people died as a result of the war and its aftermath, making it the deadliest worldwide conflict since World War II. The war officially ended in 2006, but hostilities still continue today.g
42.  Africa is currently politically organized into the African Union, a federation created in 2001 and consisting of all of Africa’s nations except Morocco.a
43.  Islam is currently the largest religion in Africa, with Christianity following closely behind. These two religions make up 85% of the continent’s population, while just 15% of the population are nonreligious or follow traditional African religions.g
44.  While Africa is the second largest of the earth’s seven continents, it has the shortest coastline, due to very few jutting edges and bays in its landscape.a
45.  Among the native population of Africa, there are more physical variations than on any other continent in the world.h
46.  There are fewer people with Internet access in the entire continent of Africa than in New York City alone.a
47.  The average life expectancy on the African continent ranges from 74 years in the island nation of Mauritius to just under 32 years in sub-Saharan Swaziland.b, c
48.  Two of the most popular sports in Africa are soccer (called football) and cricket. Both sports were introduced during colonial times and have flourished on the continent due to the international success of African teams.a
49.  A popular fashion statement in eastern Africa is to wear a kanga, a large cotton cloth with a message printed on it. Kanga are worn by both men and women and they originated during the nineteenth century in Zanzibar and Mombassa.a
50.  The “evil eye” is a term that originated in North Africa and the Mediterranean and is widely believed to cause harm, especially to the sick and vulnerable. In Morocco, it is common for men and boys to decorate the backs of their cloaks with bright red eyes to reflect back and cast off the look of the evil eye.a
51.  In Tunisia, images of fish are often used to protect against evil. New buildings often have fish bones or tails embedded in them as they are built, and cars have brightly colored plastic or cloth fish attached to them to provide protection to the people inside.a
-- Posted July 23, 2009
a Bowden, Rob. 2005. Africa. Strongsville, OH: Gareth Stevens Publishing.
b Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook – Mauritius.” Accessed: July 17, 2009.
c Central Intelligence Agency. “The World Factbook – Swaziland.” Accessed: July 17, 2009.
d Fage, J.D. & William Tordoff. 2002. A History of Africa. New York, NY: Routledge.
e Gates, Henry Louis Jr. 1999. Wonders of the African World. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
f Gelletly, LeeAnne. 2006. AIDS and Health Issues. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest Publishers.
g Habeeb, William Mark & Robert I. Rotberg. 2004. Africa: Facts and Figures. Broomall, PA: Mason Crest.
h Reader, John. 1999. Africa: A Biography of the Continent. New York, NY: Knopf Publishing Group.


Africa, second-largest of the Earth's seven continents - covering about 30,330,000 sq km (11,699,000 sq mi), which makes up about 22 per cent of the world's total land area.

Largest Country
Sudan, Republic of, republic in north-eastern Africa, the largest country of the African continent. Sudan has a total area of 2,505,800 sq km (967,490 sq mi).

Smallest Country
The smallest African country is The Seychelles covering an area of 453 sq km but Gambia is the smallest of the mainland African states, covering an area of 11,300 sq km (4,363 sq mi).

Largest City
Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is the largest city in Africa with an estimated 9.2 million population

Highest Point
Mount Kilimanjaro - Uhuru Point - (5895m/19,340 ft) in Tanzania

Lowest Point
the lowest is Lake 'Asal (153 m/502 ft below sea level) in Djibouti

Northernmost tip
is Cape Blanc (Ra's al Abyad;) in Tunisia

Southernmost tip
is Cape Agulhas in South Africa

Largest Lake
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the is 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).

Deepest Lake
Lake Tanganyika is the deepest lake in Africa reaching at its greatest depth is 1,436 m (4,710 ft), making it the second deepest freshwater lake in the world after Lake Baikal.

Longest River
The River Nile drains north-eastern Africa, and, at 6,650 km (4,132 miles), is the longest river in Africa and in the world. It is formed from the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, and the White Nile, which originates at Lake Victoria.

The Great Africa Rift Valley
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

The fault in which the Rift sits is still moving: the western side of the rift is pulling away from the eastern ridge at about 6 mm per year, while in the south it is moving together at a rate of 2 mm per year.

Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably over 500 from ten families. Particularly noteworthy are the Cichlidae, of which all but five of over 400 species are endemic to Lake Malawi. The lake contains 30% of all known cichlid species. Of particular interest is the 'mbuna' rock fish.

Namib Desert
The Namib is the world's oldest desert, and the only desert in Africa inhabited by elephant, rhino, giraffe and lion

Namibia - Fish River Canyon
The Fish River canyon is the second largest canyon in the world.

The Sahara Desert
The Sahara Desert alone is expanding southwards at an average of 0.8 km (½ mile) a month.


Four of the five fastest land animals live in Africa - the cheetah (70 mph), wildebeest, lion, and Thomson's gazelle (all about 50 mph).

South Africa has a penguin colony, which thrives thanks to the cold Antarctic currents on the west coast near the Cape.

Madagascar is the home of the worlds largest as well as the smallest chameleons! Almost half of the world’s chameleon species live on the island of Madagascar.
The largest seal colony in the southern hemisphere is a Cape Cross in Namibia.

The world's biggest frog is found in Cameroon. Named the goliath frog, their body can be one-foot long.

Nile Crocodiles
The Nile crocodile is Africa's largest living reptile - growing to an average length of 5 m.

African Elephants
The African elephant is the largest living land mammal.

An elephant can weigh up to 6-7 tons and has no natural enemies for he is not a predator and there is none large enough to challenge him.

Did you know elephants drink up to 160 liters of water per day and a mature elephant can carry up to 6.8 liters of water in its trunk

An African elephant possesses such "manual" dexterity in his/her trunk tip that he/she can actually turn the pages of a book with it.

Did you know that the tongue of a giraffe can be as long as 45 cm?

Giraffes are 6 ft tall when they are born.
Even though their necks can be 6-7 feet in length, Giraffe have the same number of vertabrae in their necks as humans (7)

The tallest animal on earth is the giraffe - its horn tops being up to 6 metres above ground level.

The Gorilla is the largest of the living primates, male gorillas weight up to 200kg, yet are shy and retiring.

The cheetah is the fastest land animal at 95 km/h (60mph).

The world's largest and heaviest beetle, the Goliath Beetle is found in tropical Africa. It can reach a length of 5 inches and weigh up to ¼ lb 

Having a wingspan of only ½", the smallest butterfly is in the world is found in South Africa. It is know as the Dwarf Blue Butterfly


The only place where shools of fresh water sardines are found is in Lake Tanganyika.


Ancient Egyptians
The ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone.

Apart from Muslim nations, Ghana has the lowest per capita consumption of beer in Africa, yet its brewery industry is one of the most competitive

Did you know that in Africa it is almost imposible to hold a small wedding? The idea of a private wedding is unknown and is greatly frowned upon. Friends and relatives expect to be invited to a wedding and to play a role in the ceremony.



90% of all malaria cases are in sub-Saharan Africa
3,000 children under the age of five die each day from malaria in Africa
1-5% of GDP in Africa covers costs of malaria control and lost labour days

Did you know, that Africa would have been an estimated US $100 billion better off in 1999 if malaria had been eliminated years ago?

17 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have died of AIDS

At least 25 million people in Africa are HIV-positive.

12 million children who have lost their parents to AIDS face a precarious future.

The world's biggest hospital is in Soweto.



The word "Crossword" in Kiswahili is "chemshebongo" which, when translated, means "boil brains".

In East & Central Africa the British Army was still remembered. One regiment was known in Kiswahili as "Magi Bareedi Askari", translated this is "Water Cold Soldiers" or in other words the "Cold Stream Guards".
(supplied by Simon Vivian)


The world's largest diamond was the Cullinan, found in South Africa in 1905. It weighed 3,106.75 carats uncut. It was cut into the Great Star of Africa, weighing 530.2 carats, the Lesser Star of Africa, which weighs 317.40 carats, and 104 other diamonds of nearly flawless colour and clarity. They now form part of the British crown jewels.

Did you know there are about 280 000 windmills on farms across South Africa, second in number only to Australia?

Most Populated Country
With a population of more than 113 million, Nigeria is easily the most populated country in Africa and the 10th most populous country in the world. 

§  There are 54 countries in Africa.
§  One of the oldest universities in the world is in Timbuktu, Mali. By the 12th century Timbuktu was home to three universities. Over 25,000 students attended one of the Timbuktu universities in the 12th century.
§  Nigeria is the most populated country with over 145 million people.
§  Sudan is the largest country by area.
§  Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the world’s second largest fresh water lake.
Life on Lake Victoria in Kampala, Uganda
§  The northern most point in Africa is Ras ben Sakka in Tunisia. The most southerly point is Cape Agulhas in South Africa.
§  Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest point in Africa. It tops out at 19,340 feet above sea level. (5895 m)
§  Equatorial Guinea is the richest country in Africa. The GDP per capita is $30,200. Botswana is second with a GDP of $15,800.  Coming in last is Zimbabwe at $200 per year.
§  Chad has the second fastest growing economy in the world.
§  Unfortunately the top 10 poorest countries in the world are all in Africa.
§  Mogadishu, Somalia is the 4th most dangerous city in the world. Johannesburg, South Africa is 10th. (For comparison’s sake Washington, DC is the 5th most dangerous city in the world!!!)
§  Libreville, Gabon is the 5th most expensive city in the world to live in. Tokyo is the most expensive city.
§  The Nile is the longest river in the world – the 6,670 kms takes you through Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt.
§  Six of the driest places in the world are in Africa – Al’Kufrah, Libya, Aswan and Luxor in Egypt, Wadi Halfa in Sudan, Pelican Point in Namibia and Aoelef in Algeria.
§  The hottest place in the world is recorded at Al’Aziziyah in Libya.
§  Eritrea, Egypt and Libya are in the number 1,2  amd 3 spots respectively for the world’s most dangerous roads.  And I thought Kenya was bad.
§  South Africa has the highest number (5.3 million) of people living with HIV/Aids in the world. Compare that to Canada with 56,000 and Croatia with only 200.
§  Angola has the world’s highest infant mortality rate at 192.5 deaths per 1000 live births.
§  Niger, Mali and Uganda take the #1,2 and 3 spots for the highest birth rates in the world.
§  In the Gulf of Tadjourah in Djibouti you can swim from November to January with massive whale sharks who come to feed on plankton during their annual migration.
§  Shipwreck Point in Liberia is a mecca for globe trotting surfers. They come for the 10 meter waves between March and October
§  About half of the world’s diamonds come from southern and central Africa. The largest gem quality diamond ever found (the 3106.75 carat Cullinan Diamond) came from the Premier Mine near Pretoria. It was found in 1905.
§  Three of the world’s largest gold producers have their primary operations in Africa – Harmony Gold, Gold Fields and Anglogold Ashanti.
§  Eighteen people from Africa have been awarded a Nobel prize. They come from Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
§  Almost 100 species of lemurs are found in Madagascar.
§  African elephants are the largest living land animals. They can weigh up to 6-7 tons and drink over 160 liters of water a day.
Orphaned African elephants in Nairobi
§  The world’s biggest frog comes from Cameroon. It is over one foot long.
§  Four of the five fastest land animals live in Africa. The cheetah is the fastest and can run at 60 mph.
§  The Sahara Desert is expanding in the south at a rate of about half a mile a month.
§  The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is the second largest canyon in the world.
§  Lake Malawi has the largest number of fish species in the world – over 500.
§  There are about 2300 bird species in Africa.
§  Three thousand kids a day die from malaria – mostly in sub Saharan Africa.

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