Physical Features of Africa
Objective : To explain the physical features and social activities of Africa and compare them with Nepal.
Africa is the second largest continent in the world. The equator divides the continent almost into two equal halves. The Tropic of Cancer in the north, and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south pass through this continent. This continent lies mostly in tropical zone and the climate is generally hot and wet.
It is estimated that human beings originated from eastern part of Africa about 2 million years ago. There was a great human civilization in the valley of River Nile about 5 thousand years ago.
Africa is called the “Dark Continent” because many countries are poor, poverty exists in many parts, people are not able to utilize resources available there and several civil and international wars have hindered the development of the continent.
Africa has an almost homogeneous physical structure. It is a plateau and consists of many plateaus so; it is called the plateau of plateaus. The only parts not being plateau are the Atlas Mountains in the north and Cape Range in the south. The Atlas is a young fold mountain like Himalayas, Rockies and Andes. Other important mountains are Mt. Kilimanjaro (5895m) is the highest peak of the continent. There are Drakensberg Mountains in the south but they are also rather plateaus.
In the east, there is a 7000 km long and 300m deep valley called Rift Valley. It extends from Red Sea in the north to the Malawi Lake in the South. This valley has several beautiful lakes in it. Besides Rift valley, there is another important valley called the Nile Valley which is the land of great Egyptian Civilization.
The continent consists of big deserts like Sahara Desert in the north which covers about 20% land of Africa, Namib and Kalahari deserts in the south. There are extended grasslands to the south of Sahara Desert called Savanna Grasslands. The Savanna grassland is the home of varieties of wild animals and birds and is called the zoo of the world. The grassland of South Africa is known as Veld. Some of the great rivers of Africa are the Nile, the Zaire or Congo, the Niger, the Zambezi etc. famous Victoria Falls is situated in the rift valley.