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Major Landforms in Africa

This mountain system runs from southwestern Morocco along the Mediterranean coastline to the eastern edge of Tunisia. Several smaller ranges are included, namely the High Atlas, Middle Atlas and Maritime Atlas. The highest peak is Mt. Toubkal in western Morocco at 13,671 ft. (4,167m).

A dramatic depression on the earth’s surface, approximately 4,000 miles (6,400 km) in length, extends from the Red Sea area near Jordan in the Middle East, south to the African country of Mozambique. In essence, it’s a series of geological faults caused by huge volcanic eruptions centuries back, that subsequently created what we now call the Ethiopian Highlands, and a series of perpendicular cliffs, mountain ridges, rugged valleys and very deep lakes along its entire length. Many of Africa’s highest mountains front the Rift Valley, including Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Mount Margherita.

The longest river in the world (flows north), rising from the highlands of southeastern Africa and running about 4,160 miles (6,693 km) in length, to then drain in the Mediterranean Sea. It's a series of dams, rapids, streams, swamps, tributaries and waterfalls. Numerous (major) rivers comprise the overall system, including the Albert Nile, Blue Nile, Victoria Nile and White Nile.

The Sahel is a wide stretch of land running completely across north-central Africa, just on the southern edges of the ever-expanding Sahara Desert. This border region is the transition zone between the dry areas of the north and the tropical areas of the south. It receives very little rain (6-8 inches/year) and most of the vegetation is a savanna growth of sparse grasses and shrubs.

Covering almost one-third of the continent, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world at approximately 3,500,000 sq. miles (9,065,000 sq. km) in total size. Topography includes areas of rock-strew plains, rolling sand dunes and numerous sand seas. It ranges in elevation from 100 ft. below sea level, to peaks in the Ahaggar and Tibesti mountains that exceed 11,000 ft. (3,350m). Regional deserts include the Libyan, Nubian and the Western desert of Egypt, just to the west of the Nile.
Almost completely without rainfall, a few underground rivers flow from the Atlas Mountains, helping to irrigate isolated oases. In the east, the water’s of the Nile help fertilize smaller parts of the landscape.

It’s about 100,000 sq. miles (259,000 sq. km) in size and covers much of Botswana, the southwestern region of South Africa and all of western Namibia. Along the coastal areas of that country it’s commonly referred to as the Namib Desert.
The desert plateau is crisscrossed by dry rivers beds and dense scrub. A few small mountain ranges are situated here including the Karas and the Huns.

The Congo River Basin of central Africa dominates the landscape of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and much of neighboring Congo. In addition, it stretches into Angola, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Zambia.
The fertile basin is about 1,400,000 sq. miles (3,600,000 sq. km) in size and contains almost 20% of the world’s rain forest. The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa, and it’s network of rivers, tributaries and streams help link the people and cities of the interior.

Natural Wonders of Africa

Aldabra Atoll - Seychelles
Avenue of the Baobabs - Madagascar
Fish River Canyon - Namibia
Great Rift Valley - Lebanon, Syria, East Africa to Mozambique
Mount Kilimanjaro - Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater - Tanzania
Nile River - Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda
Peak of the Furnace - Reunion
Red Sea Reef - Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan
Sahara Desert - Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.
Serengeti Plains - Kenya, Tanzania
Table Mountain - South Africa
Tsingy de Bemaraha - Madagascar
Victoria Lake and Falls - Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda
Virunga Mountains - Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda
Zuma Rock - Niger

Historical African place names

Abyssinia – Ethiopia
Africa (province) – Tunisia
Barbary Coast – Algeria
Bechuanaland – Botswana
Belgian Congo – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Carthage – Tunisia
Central African Empire – Central African Republic
Congo Free State – Democratic Republic of the Congo
Dahomey – Benin
Equatoria - Sudan and Uganda
Fernando Poo - Bioko
French Congo – Gabon and Republic of the Congo
French Equatorial Africa – Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon, Republic of the Congo
French Sudan – Mali
French West Africa – Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin
German East Africa – Tanzania
German South West Africa – Namibia
The Gold Coast – Ghana, Guinea
Malagasy Republic – Madagascar
Monomotapa – Mozambique and Zimbabwe
Middle Congo – Republic of the Congo
Nubia – Sudan and Egypt
Nyasaland – Malawi
Portuguese Guinea – Guinea-Bissau
Rhodesia – Zimbabwe and Zambia
The Slave Coast – Benin
South-West Africa – Namibia
Spanish Sahara – Western Sahara
French Upper Volta – Republic of Upper Volta – Burkina Faso
Zaire – Republic of the Congo – Democratic Republic of the Congo