is a beautiful continent with 54 countries. It is the second largest continent
with diversified culture and multiple languages. The country has more than 1000
languages spoken across the expanse of the continent. It spans 30,330,000 km2
approximately 22% of the world land area. Africa
measures 5200 miles from its northern tip to the southern tip. The continent is
surrounded by Indian and Atlantic oceans in three sides
and Mediterranean Sea in the north. It is interesting to
note that Prime meridian and the equator runs vertically and horizontally
Africa is known for preserving the nativity of human
origin with rich heritage and multifaceted economy. It has nature at its best
with various geographical formations such as deserts, mountains and forests. It
is outlined with water bodies that form the basis of its fertility and rich
flora and fauna. It has the shortest coastline just falling short of being
termed as an island. Africa has natural parks, tropical
rainforests and a wide variety of wildlife preserved through exclusive wildlife
preservation programs. Most of Africa is dominated by
natural beauty that tourists visit the continent to enjoy a non commercialised
vacation in the lap of nature. Africa has five major
rivers, three of which are the Nile, the Congo
and the Niger.
Though Africa is encircled by water, there are very less
natural harbours. Since natural harbours are less and high tides and ocean
currents are frequent in the oceans, it is not advisable to reach the continent
Africa holds a predominant role in the ancient history
of the world. Mesmerising music and ancient civilizations have always been the
focus of nature enthusiasts and research scholars. Great Sahara,
the world’s largest desert dominates the continent’s quarter portion of land. Sahara
well known in the past for its trans-Saharan trade serves as a bridge between
the black dominated South Africa
and Arab dominated North Africa. Saharan climate
dictates the continent’s rainfall even today. Saharan region has one of the
lowest populations with its own tribes of people. Significant among the tribes
are Tuaregs, Moors. Earlier, it was a pleasure to watch the Tuaregs with their
salt caravans busy managing their cattle while the Moors followed the age old
date palm farming for their sustenance. Today the population has changed with
times and moved to Saharan cities for better lifestyle. Camels have been
replaced by modern transports. Tuaregs have wide knowledge about the Great
Saharan expanse. They use their knowledge to guide the international tourists
and participate in oil and gas exploration. Internet revolution has gripped the
region and many hotels and resorts have established their presence to cater to
the needs of foreign tourists. Rissani in Morocco
is a small oasis has introduced internet cafes for the convenience of the
Sahel is one of the important and influential of the
African countries. It is a small band of land located south of the Sahara.
It attracted the Arabs and the Europeans for its gold and cheap labour.
Culturally different Arabs and Europeans with the local tribes ruled the region
rendering a complex cultural region. People speak French and follow Islam and
use Arabic equally in their speech. Timbuktu,
a part of Mali
was once a part of Sahel. It was moved to Mali
due to poor living and economic conditions prevailing in Sahel.
always fascinated historians for its million years of civilization and human
genealogy. It is well known as the cradle of humanity. Ethiopia
is the ground for most of the mountains of Africa. In
the middle of Ethiopia
is the Ethiopian Highlands known for its ancient civilization and preserved
is the only country to have escaped the colonial influence. It has significant
association with Christianity as its official religion. Aksum,
a city with historical civilization is associated with the final moments of Ark
of the Covenant. Many churches dating back to 13th century sculpted in rock are
found in the city of Lalibela.
Legend says that these rock churches are sculpted with angels help. Ethiopia
is a place of natural scenic beauty with the Nile
flowing through it. It has beautiful valleys and mountains significant being
the Great Rift Valley and the Simien and Bale mountains.
Savannah is the place in Africa
that attracts hordes of tourists all through the year. Savannah
can be best described as the place bordered by sky at one end and greenery on
the other. It has been an area of attraction for media people from all over the
world. Serengeti is one of the prominent areas associated with Great Plains of
Africa. It is sandwiched between Kenya
known for its wildlife. It is believed that early man made his first appearance
in this region a few million years back. A rich civilization dominates this
region with varied cultures and customs. Maasai, a nomadic tribe co-exists with
Kikuyu and Dorobo tribes. These tribes specialise in farming and hunting and
continue to preserve their lifestyle and practices. This region is known for
its wild beasts, zebras, impalas and giraffes. This region has been declared as
a World heritage site to protect its natural habitat and eco-system. Number of
wildlife preserves has been formed to protect the animals from hunters and
Swahili coast is located in the tip overlooking Indian Ocean
and beautiful farmlands. It is a confluence of Indian, Arabic and African
cultures. It is known for its trade and history spanning china to Europe.
Its richness in spices and ivory drove Europeans to trade. Omani traders
visited this region through ships and stayed for a considerable period of time
in the coast among the Bantu population. Swahili spoken by the people is a
mixture of Indian and Arabic language with substantial influence of Omani
language. Most of the people in this region have Arabic traders in their
Best of the freshwater systems are found in the Great Lakes of Africa. There
are fifteen lakes in total and some of the lakes are ecological havens with
diverse systems allowing the best of nature to sustain. The lakes are situated
across eastern and central African countries. Their presence is found in nine
countries, eight of the lakes are considered to be great lakes pertaining to
their size they occupy and their depth. Lake Victoria is
ranked second among the freshwater lakes in the world. It is located in between
and Kenya. The
deepest freshwater lake is LakeTaganayika
bordered by the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.
Each of the lakes is rich in its diverse ecosystem with rainwater as their
source of water supply. Due to its diverse ecosystem the region surrounding the
lake has a heavy population with farming and fishing as primary occupation. The
population is mostly Bantu people near Lake Victoria and
the region is marked as one of the heavily populated regions of Africa.
Four lakes are present within the borders of Uganda
giving the country the advantage of being the world’s largest producer and
exporter of freshwater fish.
One of the important tourist Saharan destinations is Algeria.
the second among the countries in Africa. Atlas
Mountains run in the middle separating the country into two
has Mediterranean coast with white sand beaches. It has Tunisia,
Morocco and Mali
as its neighbours. It is a popular destination because of its beaches and
Saharan presence. Fifteen percent of land is along the Mediterranean coast
which has most of the major towns. The majority of the population lives in
It has Hauts Plateaux filled with mountains and deciduous forests in the
southern region. The other 85% of the land
of Algeria is located in the Sahara
region. People living in this Saharan area of Algeria
are nomadic tribes living a traditional lifestyle. The majority of the people
in this region follow Islam. French has a significant influence in this country
though the official languages are Arabic and Berber. Most of the tourist centres
have English speaking guides to facilitate international tourism. Since Algeria
runs into Sahara, Tuaregs presence is seen in two
important mountain ranges, the Hoggar massif and the TassiliM’Ajjer.
another country that challenges the first time tourists visiting Africa
yet intriguing and fascinating as a country rooted in the Saharan traditions.
It borders with Benin,
Its climate alternates between wet and dry seasons. It spans an area of 924,000
km2 with its capital as Abuja.
Southern Nigeria still carries the presence and
influence of old kingdoms with traditional customs and ancient practices.
Artistic endeavours of brass sculpture creation and praying ancient gods
through age old practices are found in equal presence besides modern
traditions. Osun sacred forest is a place to visit to experience the Oshogbo’s
holy sculpture park. It is dedicated to the ancient Yoruba Gods. This park is
listed as a world heritage site for its rich greenery and serenity. This
country has been the pioneer in an introduction of primate conservation in
Calabar, an old colonial port. People in this region speak different languages
including Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Efik and English. Kano
is the city to visit to trace the links of this country to its Saharan
influence and its role in the trans-Saharan trade.
Zambia is a
plateau region scarcely populated with mountains. It borders Angola,
Democratic republic of Congo,
Namibia and Zimbabwe.
surrounded by land on all sides and the ZambeziRiver separates Zambia
It has numerable vernacular languages in addition to English. There are seventy
indigenous local languages spoken by the tribes. Unlike many African countries,
Christianity is followed by more than 50% of the people in this country.
At the southern part of the continent is the Kaapval craton. Kaapval craton is a
billion years old with the best of ores
and minerals such as gold, diamonds and platinum. Geologists have identified
in South Africa
as one of the plausible and formidable formations in the earth. This region has
seen the best of diamonds and gold deposits from the 18th century when the
deposits were first identified. This area has rich soil, normal rains and
moderate climate. Bantu people have played a significant role in this region.
Prominent tribes of this region include the Xhosa, Zulu and the San.
Since a million years ago, hunter tribes have made their homes out of tropical
rainforests of Africa. The people were of short stature
and lived along the natural eco system making the forest their home. The tribes
exhibit similar characteristics but prefer to be isolated according to their
tribal groups. Some of the tribal groups are Mbuti, Baka, Aka, Eke. There are
about two hundred thousand tribes’ dominating the tropical rainforest regions
of Africa across countries like Cameroon, Democratic republic of Congo, Uganda,
Gabon and so forth. Every tribe has its own distinct culture, traditions and
practices and speaks vernacular languages local to their group.
Authors: Prach Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris Updated On:27/04/2009