Physical geography Africa

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When we talk about physical geography Africa we refer to the characteristics of its territory where there are large tables.


African reliefs

The African territory is characterized by the presence of large planks, including the Ethiopian Acrodoro, on which the ancient Saharan volcanic massifs of Ahaggar, 2918 m., And Tibesti, 3415 m., Stand isolated, and, moving towards the southeast, those, formed in more recent times, of Kilimanjaro, 5895 m., and Kenya, 5199 m ..

Of real mountain ranges, it is possible to speak only about the Atlas, formed in the Cenozoic in the North, and, in the extreme South, of the South African chains of the Cape region, due to the Hercynian orogeny.


The monotony of the planks is broken to the east by two huge tectonic sinking pits, the Central African one, which goes up from the Sofala bay to the Middle Nile valley, and the East African one that originates in the region west of Kilimanjaro and continues to the north in the areas covered by the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.

Climate Africa

Cut in half by the equator and compressed for about four fifths in the tropics area, Africa presents very different climatic situations from region to region.

However, it is possible to establish, in summary, an equatorial zone with high temperatures, low seasonal temperature fluctuations, abundant rainfall throughout the year, with maximum solstices.


To the north and south of this stretch dye strips with a tropical climate, with always high temperatures, but more sensitive annual temperature ranges and periodic rains alternating with one or two dry periods.

The Sahara, Kalahari and Namibia regions are characterized by desert climate with very high temperatures in the summer season, quite significant annual and diurnal temperature variations, very little or no rainfall.

Finally, the extreme northern and southern regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with temperatures not excessively high in the summer season and mild winters.


The rains are winter in the north and summer in the Cape region.

Hydrography Africa

The vast hydrographic basins in which it divides are due to the mainly tabular morphology of the continent.

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Among the large rivers that are its collectors, the first place belongs to the Nile, which flows into the Mediterranean, where the waters of a large part of East Africa flow together.

Follow the river Congo, or Zaire, which introduces the equatorial waters into the Atlantic Ocean, the Zambezi and the Limpopo which pour the waters of central-southern Africa into the Indian Ocean and, finally, Niger and Orange, which pour in the Atlantic Ocean respectively the waters of the central-western and southern regions.

The catchment areas without runoff to the sea, Chad and Ngami lakes, and the areas without watercourses of the Sahara and Kalahari are very large, since they cover about a quarter of the continent.

As for the lakes, they mostly occupy the bottom of some sections of the tectonic pits of Niassa, Tanganyika, Kivu, Edoardo, Alberto and Turkana.

Lake Victoria, which is the largest in Africa and one of the largest in the world, is a typical highland lake. Chad, Ngami and Makarikari are but vast swamps, with surfaces that vary according to the seasons.

Flora Africa

In the extreme northern and southern areas there are pines, oaks, citrus fruits, vines, olive trees and palm trees. Wheat, rice, legumes and cotton are cultivated, crops that, together with coffee and tobacco, also affect the hottest areas, in places where altitude exerts a mitigating action.

In desert areas there are only plant species adapted to arid environments, except for oases where the availability of water allows the growth of date palms and the cultivation of cereals and vegetables.


Grassy steppes and savannas characterize the subtropical areas where huge trees such as the baobab, the sycamore and the bread tree stand out. The dense tunnel forests then extend along the great waterways, so called because the branches of the trees join in a vaulted shape on the river.

Finally, in the equatorial area, there are the lush, almost impenetrable rain forests, where precious essences such as teak, rosewood, ebony and mahogany thrive.

Crops from tropical and equatorial areas are mainly sugar cane, rubber and banana trees.

Fauna Africa

In temperate areas of Africa, in addition to the animals of the Mediterranean areas, there are jackals, hyenas, crocodiles, vultures and herons. Typical animals of the deserts are camels and dromedaries.

In the steppes and savannas gazelles, antelopes, ostriches, elephants, giraffes, zebras and numerous other herbivores thrive, threatened by carnivores such as lions and leopards.

In the forests, where large animals cannot move easily, the fauna is mainly made up of monkeys, including the gorilla and the chimpanzee, and many varieties of reptiles, birds and insects.

Africa Physical Features (July 2020)


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