Interesting Facts about Africa

Africa is one of the most interesting places globally, with its rich historical heritage and exotic landscapes. If you are interested in exploring culture and know more about it, check out these 20 interesting facts about Africa below:

1. Africa is the Second-Largest Continent Both by Size and Population

Africa is the Second-Largest Continent Both by Size and Population

Africa is second to Asia globally in terms of both population and size. Including adjacent islands, the culturally rich continent has a total area of 30.3 million km2. 20% of the earth’s land area is covered by Africa; it also covers 6% of the globe’s surface area. [1]

2. Christianity is the Dominant Religion in the African Region

Christianity is the Dominant Religion in the African Region

62% of Africa’s population practice Christianity as of 2020. Muslims come second, totaling 31.4% of the population. 3.2% of the people residing in Sub-Saharan Africa practice other traditional African religions. [2]

3. 16% of the World’s Muslims Live in Africa

16% of the World’s Muslims Live in Africa

In many African countries, the dominant religion is Islam, especially on the continent’s north side. Countries like Somalia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Morocco, consist of 99% Muslims. Islam is the major religion in other countries as well in the region like Egypt, where 90% of the people practice Islam. [3]

4. Africa has the Shortest Coastline in the World

Africa has the Shortest Coastline in the World

Africa is the second-largest continent; however, its coastline gives a different picture. Africa has the shortest coastline, with an estimated size of 30,500 square kilometers, which is shorter than Europe. This would have been different if the continent’s 38 countries and its island were together; the coastline would have been the 5th largest in the world, even ahead of Russia and just short of the coastal lengths of the US and Australia. Africa’s coastline is the shortest because the continent has fewer inlets, large bays, or gulfs. 

Among the countries in the continent, Madagascar has the longest coastline. Then come Somalia, South Africa, and Mozambique. The shortest coastline in Africa is in the Democratic Republic of Congo. [4]

5. Africa is the Most Centrally Located Continents

Africa is the Most Centrally Located Continents

The continent of Africa is yet to take advantage of its prime location. Africa is located right in the middle of the globe, which can prove to be advantageous. Africa is divided into two parts by the Equator, which are called North Africa and South Africa. The prime meridian cuts through the West African coast, passing through the Atlas Mountains. [5]

6. Around 2,000 Different Languages are spoken in Africa

Around 2,000 Different Languages are spoken in Africa

Africa has the highest genetic diversity in the world. With the people of Africa speaking around 2,000 distinct languages, it contains the third of the total languages spoken globally. To put it into comparison, Europe, which has an eighth of the world’s population, only has about 300 languages. A study of 100 people that took place in Uganda showed that an average person knew 4.34 actual languages. [6]

7. Africa Has the Longest River in the World

Africa Has the Longest River in the World

The Nile River is known to be the largest river in the world and measures approximately 4,258 miles or 6,853 kilometers. The river passes through 11 countries as it flows northward through eastern Africa and finally into the Mediterranean Sea. 

The Nile River has two major branches: the longer White Nile, which consists of the prime streams and the headwaters, and the Blue Nile. The Blue Nile carries around two-thirds of the river’s water volume. The Nile River starts its journey from Lake Victoria, which is the continent’s largest lake and touches the countries of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. [7]

8. Algeria is the Largest Country in Africa

Algeria is the Largest Country in Africa

Having more than 2.38 million square kilometers of the area as of 2020, Algeria is known to be the largest country in Africa. Sudan and Congo come second and third in terms of land area. Sudan has a total area of 2.34 million square kilometers, and The Democratic Republic of Congo has a total land area of 1.86 million square kilometers. The smallest country, on the other hand, is Seychelles. It is the smallest country on the continent, with a small area of 451 square kilometers. [8]

9. Ethiopia is known to be the World’s Hottest

Ethiopia is known to be the World’s Hottest 

The northeastern corner of Ethiopia, called The Danakil Depression, is sometimes referred to as “The Gateway to Hell.” It has recorded temperatures as high as 125°F or 51.67° Celsius. This can be because it is home to one of the only 4 living lavas in the world, the Erta Ale volcano.

The area of Danakil has an abundance of deposits of minerals and salt. This causes the landscape of the area to be full of rich and bright colors. The area is full of hot springs and bubbling pools. This area was formed because of various eruptions that caused craters. The area sits at one of the lowest spots in the world, which is why it experiences such hot climates. [9]

10. More Than Half of the French-Speaking Population in the World Live In Africa

More Than Half of the French-Speaking Population in the World Live In Africa

Due to the high growth rate of Africa, where already half of the population speaks French, the number of French speakers could rise to 700 million by 2050. Currently, French is the world’s second most studied language behind English and is the official language in numerous countries across five continents. 120 million students currently study the language.

Africa has more French speakers than any other continent; even though it is mostly a second language for most, there are regions, like Abidjan in Ivory Coast, where it has surpassed the local languages. [10]

11. Different Versions of French Exist in Africa

Different Versions of French Exist in Africa

In many cases, the French spoken in the 31 Francophone countries of Africa has switched from standard French to new forms of the language after getting in contact with other African languages. [11]

12. Angola has More Portuguese Speaking People than Portugal

Angola has More Portuguese Speaking People than Portugal

In Africa, Angola is the country where Portuguese is spoken the most. More than 18 million people speak the language, which is only behind Brazil. This makes the country have more Portuguese than Portugal, than have around 10 million people speaking the language. [12]

13. The World’s Largest Desert is Located in Africa

The World’s Largest Desert is Located in Africa

The Sahara desert is the world’s largest hot desert and third-largest overall. Only the cold deserts of Antarctica and the Arctic sit above it. It has one of the most hostile environments in the world and covers an area of 3.6 million square miles or 9.4 million square kilometers. It covers nearly one-third of the African continent. [13]

14. Africa has the Youngest Population of Any Continent in the World

Africa has the Youngest Population of Any Continent in the World

70% of Africa is under the age of 30, making the continent the youngest in the world. Having such a high number of youngsters gives Africa a huge opportunity for growth; however, this will be the case only if these people are empowered and motivated to find out their potential. These youngsters must have their say in decision-making and are given equal opportunities to work. [14]

15. Humans Originated From the Continent of Africa

Humans Originated From the Continent of Africa

The first humans came from Africa, and scientists believe this was around 2 million years ago. This is way before the time when modern humans or Homo sapiens appeared on the same continent.

16. Pre-colonial Africa Consisted of Many States and Kingdoms

Pre-colonial Africa Consisted of Many States and Kingdoms

It is estimated that when the pre-colonial era of Africa was at its peak, the continent had around 10,000 different groups and states that had different languages and customs specified for each area. [16]

17. The population of Africa is expected to Reach 2.5 Billion By 2050

The population of Africa is expected to Reach 2.5 Billion By 2050

As of 2020, the continent of Africa had an estimated 1.34 billion people. However, this number is expected to be almost double by 2050. According to forecasts, by 2050, Africa’s population will hit a staggering 2.5 billion. Nigeria, Egypt, and Ethiopia are the most populous countries. [17]

18. Architecture is the Most Famous Form of Visual Art in Africa

Architecture is the Most Famous Form of Visual Art in Africa

In North Africa, where the population is mostly of Islamic and Christian backgrounds, architecture is the most famous form of art. These include famous mosques build-out of the mud in countries like Djenne and Mopti. It also includes rock-drawn churches in Ethiopia. [18]

19. Africa is Best Known for Its Wildlife

Africa is Best Known for Its Wildlife

Africa is home to some of the most famous and surreal wildlife viewing spots on the planet. It’s a place where many travelers leave in awe of how the cycle of life takes place right in front of their eyes, making Africa some of nature’s best theatres. [19]

20. Home to the World’s Oldest University

Home to the World’s Oldest University

The University of Karueein, founded by Fatima al-Fihri is the oldest educational institution in the world. It was founded in 859 AD, in Morocco and still operates to this day. [20]

Conclusion

Africa, if seen by the numbers, is known for large-scale migrations, long-distance treks, difficult terrain, and intrepid explorers. Various animals have been used to carry signs and supplies across the continent. Africa is home to the Sahara Desert, the 3rd largest desert on earth. The Bushmen who live in the Southern African region is considered the ‘oldest race’ since fossils belonging to them were found in South Africa, dating back 2 million years.

References

  1. https://artsandculture.google.com/entity/m0dg3n1 
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1239494/share-of-muslim-population-in-africa-by-country/ 
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1282636/distribution-of-religions-in-sub-saharan-africa/ 
  4. https://www.tourismtattler.com/articles/destinations/the-coastlines-of-africas-38-countries-ranked/ 
  5. https://web.ccsu.edu/faculty/kyem/GEOG466_Africa/Africa%20Maps_Introduction.htm https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/Science-Notebook/2015/0421/Why-does-Africa-have-so-many-languages 
  6. https://www.livescience.com/57023-nile-river-facts.html 
  7. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1207844/largest-countries-in-africa-by-area 
  8. https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/destinations/2014/06/23/the-hottest-place-on-earth-ethiopias-danakil-depression/9927667/ 
  9. https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/how-many-people-speak-french-and-where-is-french-spoken 
  10. https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/how-many-people-speak-french-and-where-is-french-spoken 
  11. https://www.tomedes.com/translator-hub/portuguese-speaking-countries 
  12. https://www.livescience.com/23140-sahara-desert.html 
  13. https://www.un.org/ohrlls/news/young-people%E2%80%99s-potential-key-africa%E2%80%99s-sustainable-development 
  14. https://www.history.com/news/humans-evolution-neanderthals-denisovans 
  15. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1224205/forecast-of-the-total-population-of-africa/ 
  16. https://www.britannica.com/art/African-architecture 
  17. https://www.planetware.com/africa/best-game-reserves-in-africa-ken-1-2.htm 
  18. https://www.astepintonature.com/2018/09/05/10-mind-blowing-facts-about-africa/