Africa is an extraordinary continent and here are some awesome facts to prove it…
- There are 54 countries and one non-self-governing territory, the Western Sahara, in Africa.
- Africa is the world’s second largest continent, covering over 30 million square kilometres.
- The Sahara is the largest desert in the world and is bigger than the continental USA.
- Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
- The Nile River is the longest river in the world, with a total length of 6 650 kilometres.
6. All of Africa was colonised by foreign powers during the scramble for Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia.
7. Before colonial rule, Africa comprised up to 10 000 different states and autonomous groups with distinct languages and customs.
8. The Pharaonic civilisation of Ancient Egypt is one of the world’s oldest and longest-lasting civilisations.
9. The African continent is the world’s oldest populated area.
10. Africa is the second most populous continent, with about 1.1 billion people or 16 percent of the world’s population.
11. Over 50 percent of Africans are under the age of 25.
12. The continent’s population is expected to more than double to 2.3 billion people by 2050.
13. Arabic is spoken by 170 million people on the continent, followed in popularity by English (130 million), Swahili (100 million), French (115 million), Berber (50 million), Hausa (50 million), Portuguese (20 million) and Spanish (10 millions).
14. Over 25 percent of all languages in Africa are spoken only in Africa, with over 2 000 recognised languages spoken on the continent.
15. Africa has eight of the 11 major biomes and the largest remaining populations of lion, elephant, rhinoceros, cheetah, hyena, leopard and hundreds of other species. Megafauna like giraffe, zebra, gorilla, hippopotamus, chimpanzee and wildebeest are unique to the continent.
16. Africa is home to the world’s largest living land animal, the African elephant, which can weigh up to seven tons. The continent has over 85 percent of the world’s elephants and over 99 percent of the remaining lions are on the African continent.
17. Africa has over 25 percent of the world’s bird species and Lake Malawi has more fish species than any other freshwater system on Earth.
18. Eight of Conservation International’s 34 biodiversity hotspots are in Africa.
19. The Serengeti (Tanzania) hosts the world’s largest wildlife migration on Earth with over 750 000 zebra marching ahead of 1.2 million wildebeest as they cross this amazing landscape.
20. Thera are over 3 000 protected areas in Africa, including 198 Marine Protected Areas, 50 Biosphere Reserves, 129 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 80 RAMSAR ‘Wetlands of International Importance’.