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22 Fun Facts About Africa

The African continent is a land of many superlatives. You can think of the highest mountain in the world, the longest river, the largest animal on earth and many more. It is also a place of incredible diversity, not only in many different habitats, but also in people with different cultures and customs.

Africa is home to rural tribes whose customs have remained unchanged for thousands of years and some of the fastest developing cities on the planet.

Africa is a diverse continent with many interesting facts, so I selected only a few that might be interesting for you.

1. Africa is big - Africa is the second largest continent in the world both in size and population. It is one of the 7 continents of the world and is only smaller than Asia. 1.2 billion people live in Africa, that is 16% of the world’s population.

2. Most Populated Country – The most populated country is Nigeria, providing a home for over 200 million people. The least populated African country is Namibia with more than 2.6 million inhabitants and large areas of desert.

3. Least Populated Country - The Seychelles has the lowest population of any country in Africa, with around 98,000 people, 25 percent of which live in the capital, Victoria. However, Namibia is the least densely populated African country, with large areas of desert making much of the country uninhabitable.

4. Number of languages - There are over 2000 different languages spoken in Africa. Arabic is the most spoken language in Africa.

5. Number of countries - There are 54 countries in Africa. The largest African country is Algeria, while the smallest is the island nation of the Seychelles.

6. Number of Ethnic groups – There are more than 3000 ethnic groups in Africa. Among the most populous are the Luba and the Mongo in Central Africa, the Berbers in North Africa, the Shona and the Zulu in Southern Africa and the Yoruba and Igbo in West Africa.

7. Africa has the tallest Mountain in Africa – The Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the tallest mountain in Africa. With the height of 5,895 meters, it is also the highest mountain in the world.

8. Africa has the world's largest desert – The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world. It is the third largest desert overall, smaller only than the deserts of Antarctica and the northern Arctic.

9. Longest river - The Nile is the longest river in the world – although some researchers are arguing that The Amazon is longer. It flows through many different African countries and is the main water source of Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan.

10. Largest Lake – Africa’s largest lake is Lake Victoria, which borders Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. It has a surface area of 26,600 square miles/68,800 square kilometers and is also the world's largest tropical lake and the world's second-largest freshwater lake by surface area.

11. Largest Waterfall – Victoria Falls is the world's largest sheet of falling water and is almost double the height of Niagara Falls and half a km wider. Also known as "The Smoke That Thunders", measures 1708 meters wide and 108 meters tall. Victoria Falls is located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

12. Tallest Waterfall – Tugela Falls is the tallest waterfall, located in SA in Drakensberg Mountains with a height of 948m, it is also the second-largest waterfall in the world.

13. Largest canyon – the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, measures 160 km in length and 27 km in width, 550m deep. It is the second-largest canyon in the world after America’s Grand Canyon.

14. Most of the world's diamonds come from Africa. 95% of the world’s diamonds and 50% of the world’s gold comes from Africa.

15. Africa makes 70% of the world’s cocoa beans. Cocoa beans are used to make chocolate. Most of the world’s beans come from 4 West African countries: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon.

16. Largest Mammal – the largest mammal in Africa is the African bush elephant. The biggest type of elephant weighted 11.5 tons and measured 4 meters in height. This mammal is also the largest and heaviest land animal on Earth, beaten in size only by the blue whale.

17. Smallest Mammal - The Etruscan Pygmy Shrew is the smallest mammal in Africa, measuring 4 centimeters in length and weighing in at just 1.8 grams. It's also the world's smallest mammal by mass. Etruscan Pygmy Shrews are found in North Africa.

18. Largest Bird - The common ostrich is the largest bird on the planet. It can reach a maximum height of 2.6 meters and may weigh up to 135 kilograms. The largest (and heaviest) flying bird in Africa is the kori bustard, with a maximum weight of up to 20 kg.

19. Smallest Bird - Africa's smallest bird is the Cape Penduline Tit with an average weight of 7 grams. The Cape Penduline Tit grows up to 8 centimeters in length and favors the dry savannah and shrubland habitats of Southern Africa.

20. Fastest Animal - The fastest land animal on Earth, the cheetah, can achieve short bursts of up to 112 kilometers per hour.

21. Tallest Animal - The giraffe is the tallest animal in Africa and worldwide. Males are taller than females, with the tallest giraffe on record reaching 19.3 feet/5.88 meters. Special veins and blood vessels in the neck work against gravity to push blood up to the brain.

22. Deadliest Animal - The hippo is the deadliest large animal in Africa. However, the single biggest killer is the mosquito, with malaria.


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