Interesting Facts About Africa
Africa is a beautiful continent. There are so many interesting facts about Africa that you don’t see every day. With the negative image of the continent always on international media, it is easy to forget how beautiful and richly endowed the continent is.
In our weekly series of interesting “Facts about Africa”, we shall unveil some never before seen facts about the Black continent. Some of the facts will make you think, some will make you gape, while others will make you smile with pride.
Remember to bookmark this page and come back every week for more interesting facts about Africa.
ALSO READ: 50 African Proverbs To Start The New Year
Fact about Africa #1
Did you know the oldest known tree in Africa is the baobab (Adansonia digitata) which grows in the west of Gravelotte. The baobab tree is strange-looking and grows in low-lying areas on the African mainland.
They can grow to reach an enormous size. Carbon dating indicates that they have the potential to live up to 3,000 years. The Baobab tree has nine different species and belongs to the genus Adansonia family of trees.
There are only two species native to the African mainland, which are the Adansonia Digitata and the Adansonia Kilima.
Fact about Africa #2
From 1977 to 2011, Libya was the only country in the world with only one color for its flag, with no insignias, designs, or other details. Libya adopted its plain green national flag on 19 November 1977.
Following the overthrow of Ghadaffi, the 1949 flag consisting of red black, and green colors with a white star and crescent moon at the center was reinstated as the national flag.
Fact About Africa #3
The African elephant is the largest living land animal in the world. It can weigh up to 7 tons and reach a height of 11 feet (3.4 meters). Also, it is easy to identify them because of their larger ears that seem to mimic the shape of the continent. These larger ears make it easier for them to hear each other’s call from as far as 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) away.
ALSO READ: 50 African Proverbs To Start The New Year
An African elephant has a large daily appetite of up to 600 pounds of food. They are herbivores, feeding on tree barks, shrubs, and any other vegetation they find edible along their path. You will mostly find them in sub-Saharan regions and the thick forest.
Fact About Africa #4
Fonio is the oldest African grain (cereal). For thousands of years, it was cultivated across the dry savannahs. Fonio grows mostly in West Africa. Its use as food goes dates back to the 1500s while its cultivation in Africa goes as far back as 7.000 years ago. There are two different types of Fonio; the black and the white Fonio.
The black Fonio is mostly grown in Nigeria, Togo, and Benin while the white Fonio is mainly grown in Senegal and Chad. In Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Togo, Fonio was traditionally reserved for chiefs and royalty. Part of the reason for its success is that it is drought resistant.
Fonio can be used to make porridge and couscous. It is often ground and mixed with other flour to make bread. In some parts of Togo, Fonio is used to prevent blood clotting after childbirth and stimulate breastmilk production.
Fact About Africa #5
The Nile River is considered the longest river in the world and is approximately 4,258 miles (6,853 kilometers) long. However, there are many controversies and debates about its exact length. The Nile River flows northward through the tropical climate of eastern Africa and into the Mediterranean Sea and passes through 11 countries, namely Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt.
The Nile has two major tributaries: the longer White Nile which is considered the prime stream and headwaters and the Blue Nile which carries about two-thirds of the river’s water volume. It also has the most silt.
The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region. It begins at Lake Victoria and flows through Uganda and South Sudan. On the other hand, the Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet at the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. Egyptian civilization and Sudanese kingdoms have depended on the river and its annual flooding since ancient times.
Fact About Africa #6
Four of the five fastest land animals in the world can be found in East Africa. African Savannah is competitive. It is a survival of the fittest. So, animals must be fast in order to hunt or avoid the hunters. Surprisingly, Africa’s giant animals can move at great speed. Below are some of Africa’s fastest animals.
- The cheetah is the world’s fastest land animal and can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h (74 mph). That’s around 0-60 mph in as little as 3 seconds. Also, it can retain its cruise speed for several hundred meters (+/- 400 m).
- The Lion can exceed 250 kg in weight and can run as fast as 81 km/h (50.3 mph). Although lions can run fast, they cannot maintain their speed for very long. Lions must get close to their prey before striking.
- Wildebeests are preyed upon by lions and occasionally cheetahs. The Wildebeest have poor eyesight, but their pace is rather impressive. They can reach 80 km/h (50 mph).
- The ostrich is the fastest animal on two legs. Its 72 km/h (45 mph) speed allows it to evade predators since it cannot fly.
You can find these animals in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, and Botswana. This is what makes Africa’s wildlife a must-see.
Fact About Africa #7
Most of the gold ever mined on earth has come from Witwatersrand, South Africa. Witwatersrand Basin of South Africa is the largest single source of gold recorded in history. According to research, this geologic formation in 1886 was due to an ancient meteorite that produced over 1.5 billion troy ounces of gold. It’s estimated that 40 to 50 percent of all the world’s gold ever mined has come from Witwatersrand.
Along the northern and western margins, the Witwatersrand basin stretches in an arc across 250 miles, from Johannesburg to Welkom, containing gold-bearing reefs. The discovery of the golden arc led to the growth of Johannesburg, and it became the largest city in South Africa.
The mines in the Witwatersrand Basin are some of the deepest in the world, tunneling miles below the surface. The deepest mine, Mponeng, approximately tunnels 2.5 miles below the surface. It is home to the world’s tallest elevator. This elevator can go down more than 7,000 feet in three minutes and can travel up to 40 miles per hour. The more gold is extracted the deeper the mines are dug to increase supply.
Fact About Africa #8
Victoria Falls is one of the 7 wonders of the world, it is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls got its name from a Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone. He named the falls after the reigning queen at that time.
The locals called the falls Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning “smoke that thunders”. Many still call it that way, as it accurately defines the power of the falls crashing into the canyon floor.
Furthermore, Victoria Falls is also called the largest waterfall based on width and height. The fall is one mile wide (1.7 km) and 360 feet high (108 meters). Two national parks protect the falls, that is the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and the Victoria Falls National Park.
When it comes to the views of Victoria falls, there are two amazing and distinctive views of the falls that can be explored to help you capture the true splendor of this wonder of the world wonder.
- The first is the view of the falls coming from the air. You can use a helicopter or microlite to enjoy this view.
- The second is the view of the falls from the various trails that follow alongside the falls. This beautiful-to-behold trail brings you face-to-face with the tops of the falls. From this view you hear the water pounding and witness the vapor rising, then you discover why it is called the “smoke that thunders.”
The Beautiful view can be seen from both Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Victoria Falls National Park. If you must visit Victoria Falls, plan to experience both views.
Fact About Africa #9
Did you know the gemstone Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania, Africa? Tanzanite is a zoisite mineral whose component is made up of calcium, silica and aluminum. The Tanzanite was discovered in 1967 and can only be found in Northern Tanzania.
The first Tanzanite crystal was discovered by Ali Juuyawatu and the weight was over 3kg/16.839 carats. The gemstone was named The Mawenzi after the second highest peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2020, 2 pieces of the Tanzanite was discovered by Mr Laizer which weighed 9.27kg and 5.103kg. These 2 gemstones were sold to the government for $3.35 million
This precious gemstone is used to make ornaments of all types. It is one of the unique and rare gemstones on Earth. Tanzanite can be said to be a trichroic material because of the colors it exhibits, blue, violet and red.
The location of the Tanzanite mines small surface area of about 8sq miles within the Merelani Hills which is in close proximity to the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Tanzanian City of Arusha. Geologists believe that this gemstone was found about 585 million years ago during the mid- Ediacaran period. It is also believed that this mineral was formed as a result of massive plate tectonic activity and extreme heat around Mount Kilimanjaro area.
This gemstone has been attributed with qualities of good luck, prosperity, celebrations of new life and new beginnings. The Tanzanite is a rare and beautiful gemstone worth acquiring before its possible depletion.
Fact About Africa #10
Did you know? Some houses in Tunisia in northern Africa are made from fish bones. When you think of construction materials, fish bones probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. But in Tunisia, some houses are actually made from them.
The process is called “brik and rebar,” and it involves mixing fish bones with clay and sand to create a strong mixture that can be used to build walls. The homes made from this mixture are said to be sturdy and earthquake resistant.
Fish bones have been used as a construction material for centuries. There are many examples of buildings made from fish bones still standing today. Fish bones are an excellent building material because they are strong and durable, yet lightweight. They are also easy to work with and can be shaped into any desired form.
The use of fish bones in construction dates back to the time of the Phoenicians, who inhabited North Africa before the Romans. Many of the Phoenician buildings made from fish bones are still standing today. Fish bone-built houses were particularly common in coastal areas where fish was plentiful.
The use of fish bones in construction declined after the Roman conquest of North Africa. Nevertheless, it continued to be used to some extent until the early 20th century. There are several benefits to using fish bones as a construction material.
- They are extremely strong and durable.
- They are lightweight, making them easy to transport and work with.
- Easy to shape into any desired form.
- They have a natural resistance to rot and decay.
Despite these advantages, there are some disadvantages to using fish bones as a construction material.
- They tend to attract vermin such as rats and mice.
- They can produce an unpleasant smell when wet or when exposed to heat or sunlight.
- Fish bones may not be available in sufficient quantities to meet the construction need in all areas.
While it may not be the most convenient method of construction, using fish bones to build homes is the only means that guarantees some Tunisian families a roof over their heads.
Fact About Africa #11
Did you know? Cameroon has the world’s largest frog, also called the goliath frog. These amazing creatures can grow up to 32 cm (12.6 inches) in length and weigh up to 3.3 kg (7.3 pounds). They are truly a sight to behold! Sadly, these frogs are endangered due to habitat loss and over-exploitation for the pet trade.
The Goliath frog is the largest frog in the world. The Goliath frog is a carnivore, and its diet consists of insects, small mammals, and reptiles. The Goliath frog is a member of the family Dendrobatidae, which contains all other poison dart frogs.
The Goliath frog’s habitat is near fast-flowing rivers and streams in the primary forest on the edges of the montane rainforest. They spend most of their time close to the ground or water, only climbing trees when necessary. When it rains, they will often climb onto rocks or logs to avoid getting wet.
The Goliath frog is a member of the family Ceratophryidae, which contains other large frogs such as the South American horned frog and the African bullfrog. This family is distinguished by the presence of horns or spines on the head.
Goliath frogs are predators and their diet consists mostly of insects and other small animals. However, they also eat larger prey such as rodents and reptiles if the opportunity presents itself.
Goliath frogs reproduce by laying eggs in water. The female will lay up to 30,000 eggs at a time, which hatch into tadpoles after about two weeks. The tadpoles then undergo a metamorphosis into juvenile frogs, which reach adulthood after about six months.
The goliath frog is an unusual-looking creature. It has a large head and eyes and its body is covered in bumpy skin that is usually green or brown in color. Its toes are webbed, which helps it swim well in water. If you’re ever in Cameroon, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for this giant amphibian.
Fact About Africa #12
Did you know? Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest in the world. It is located in East Africa between Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya. The lake has a surface area of 26,828 square miles and is approximately 3,700 feet deep. It is the source of the White Nile, which is the longest river in Africa.
The average depth of the lake is about 80 meters (260 feet). However, it reaches depths of up to 200 meters (656 feet) in places. The shoreline of the lake is dotted with islands, some of which are home to unique species of plants and animals.
The tropical climate with all-year-round temperatures and the ecosystem of Lake Victoria make it a suitable habitat for a diverse range of plant and animal life. It is an important source of food and water for the local people and provides a habitat for a variety of fishes, birds, and other wildlife.
The ecosystem of Lake Victoria supports a wide variety of fish species, including tilapia, catfish, eels, and bass. Also, it is home to hippopotamuses, crocodiles, snakes, and a variety of bird species.
The lake is situated in the Great Rift Valley, which runs through eastern Africa. The valley was formed by the movement of the earth’s crust millions of years ago. Today it is home to some of the world’s largest lakes.
Lake Victoria is one of the most impressive natural wonders in Africa. If you’re ever in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Fact About Africa #13
Did you know? Mt Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa at about 5895 meters and is located in the northern part of Tanzania.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is a popular destination for climbers from all over the world. But did you know that it is also the tallest mountain in Africa, at about 5895 meters? It is located in the northern part of Tanzania and has three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira.
The history of Mt Kilimanjaro can be traced back to its formation around 1 million years ago. The mountain is thought to have formed when the African plate collided with the Eurasian plate. This event caused the uplift of the mountain range that includes Mt Kilimanjaro.
The first recorded ascent of Mt Kilimanjaro was by German explorer Hans Meyer in 1889. Since then, the mountain has become a popular destination for climbers from all over the world. Every year, thousands of people attempt to summit Mt Kilimanjaro.
Mt Kilimanjaro is home to a variety of ecosystems, each with its own unique plants and animals. The mountain’s ecosystems include the montane forest, heathland, alpine desert, and ice cap.
The montane forest is the lowest and most dense ecosystem on Mt Kilimanjaro. It is home to a variety of plant and animal life, including elephants, leopards, and chimpanzees. The heathland is found above the montane forest and is characterized by open areas of grasses and shrubs. This ecosystem is home to elands, gazelles, and hyenas.
The alpine desert lies above the heathland and is characterized by barren rock landscapes. This harsh environment is home to only a few hardy plants and animals, including lizards, snakes, and mice. Finally, the ice cap covers the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro and is permanently covered in ice and snow.
Assuming you would like tips for climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro:
1. Decide which route you want to take- there are seven different routes up the mountain, each with different levels of difficulty. The Marangu Route is the most popular and considered the easiest as it has huts along the way for accommodation.
2. Get in shape- Before you start your journey, make sure you are physically prepared by going on hikes and building up your endurance. This will help you immensely when it comes time to face the challenges of the mountain.
3. Get your gear in order- You will need clothing that is both warm and breathable, as well as hiking boots and a sleeping bag for the huts. Make sure everything is in good condition before setting off.
4. Hire a guide- While it is technically possible to climb Kilimanjaro without a guide, it is not recommended. Guides are familiar with the terrain and can help ensure a safe and successful ascent.
5. Be prepared for altitude sickness- This is a very real danger when climbing Kilimanjaro and can even be fatal if not treated properly. Be sure to acclimatize yourself slowly to avoid sickness and listen to your body if you begin to feel unwell.
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an incredible feat that should not be taken lightly. By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and successful.
Mt Kilimanjaro is an impressive mountain, not only because of its height, but also because of its location in Africa. It is the tallest mountain on the continent and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. If you are ever in Tanzania, be sure to add Mt Kilimanjaro to your list of places to visit.
Fact About Africa #14
Did you know? Africans introduced basic mathematics 25,000 years ago through the Ishango bone tool handle which was found in the Ishango region of Zaïre (now called Congo) near Lake Edward.
When we think of the origins of mathematics, we usually think of Greece and the ancient Greeks. However, it turns out that the roots of mathematics actually go back much further than that. In fact, recent evidence suggests that basic mathematics may have originated in Africa over 25,000 years ago. This theory is based on the discovery of the Ishango bone tool handle. This handle was found in the Ishango region of Zaïre (now called Congo) near Lake Edward and is believed to date back to around 25,000 BCE.
The handle is engraved with a series of notches which are thought to represent basic mathematical concepts like addition, subtraction, and multiplication. If this theory is true, it would mean that the origins of mathematics are African, not Greek. It would also mean that our understanding of the history of mathematics needs to be revised. This is an exciting new discovery which could change the way we think about the history of mathematics.
The Ishango bone is thought to be a early form of tally stick, used to count animals or people. The bone has three notched columns of numbers, which are thought to represent the prime numbers between 10 and 20.
The Ishango bone is made from the bone of a baboon or some other animal and has three notches cut into it. These notches may have been used to count months, days, or even lunar cycles.
The most famous interpretation is that the markings represent the Fibonacci sequence, which is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers.
The Ishango bone tool handle has been carbon dated to be between 20,000 and 25,000 years old, making it one of the oldest mathematical artifacts ever found. It is a significant find because it shows that basic mathematical concepts were understood by humans at a very early stage in our history. The fact that the Fibonacci sequence was used suggests that there was already a knowledge of geometry and spatial relationships.
While the precise function of the Ishango bone is still unknown, it is clear that it was used as a counting tool. This discovery suggests that Africans were using basic mathematics at least 20,000 years ago – much earlier than previously thought.
Fact About Africa #15
Did you know that Lake Turkana is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake? It’s also home to some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife, including crocodiles, hippos, and flamingos. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting facts and figures about this unique body of water.
Lake Turkana, also known as the Jade Sea, is located in the remote deserts of northern Kenya. It is the world’s largest permanent desert lake and the world’s largest alkaline lake. The lake is approximately 320 miles long and 50 miles wide, with a maximum depth of about 300 feet. The shoreline is largely uninhabited except for a few small villages. The closest major city is Nairobi, which is approximately 400 miles to the south.
Lake Turkana is unique for several reasons.
- Firstly, it’s the largest permanent desert lake in the world
- Secondly, it’s the largest alkaline lake in the world
These two factors make it a very hostile environment for many animals and plants. As a result, Lake Turkana has a very diverse ecosystem with many unique species of animals and plants.
The large size and depth of Lake Turkana make it an ideal location for research on early human evolution. The lake has been found to contain many fossils of early human ancestors, dating back millions of years. The unique conditions of the lake also preserve these fossils very well, making them invaluable to scientists studying human origins.
The best time to visit Lake Turkana is between June and September when the weather is cooler. During this time, the water level of the lake is also at its highest. When next you are visiting Africa, Lake Turkana should be on your list of adventures.
Fact About Africa #16
Did you know Africa is home to the world’s largest reptile, the Nile Crocodile. These massive creatures can grow up to 20 feet in length and weigh up to 1,650 pounds for the largest crocodilian. The average size crocodilian can range 16 feet and 500 pounds. Despite their size and power, they are actually quite shy and reclusive animals.
The Nile crocodile visually looks like a giant lizard. It has tough scales all over its body. They have webbed feet that makes them great swimmers. The Nile crocodile has The Nile crocodile can actually swim at a speed of 22mph. Their bite force is 5 times stronger than that of a lion’s.
The Nile crocodile feeds mostly on fish and sea creatures, but it attacks anything that comes its way including humans, zebras, hippos, birds, porcupines and other crocodiles. The Nile crocodile actually has the ability to eat up to half of its body weight in one sitting.
One very interesting and surprising fact about the Nile crocodile is that unlike other reptiles who lay their eggs and move on, they demonstrate love for their eggs and guard it. They help in the hatching process by rolling their eggs gently in their mouths. A female Nile crocodile hides her young ones in a special pouch in her throat whenever they are in danger.
The Nile crocodile can be both solitary and social. They can trap preys both as a group and alone. The Nile crocodile being the biggest in Africa and the second largest in the world can be aggressive due to their size and can live up to 45 years.
Fact About Africa #17
Did you know? Victoria Falls, bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia, is considered the largest waterfall in the world, measured by the amount of water that falls off its edge.
Victoria Falls is an amazing and spectacular waterfall. It is located about midway the course of the Zambezi River, the border between Zambia to the north and Zimbabwe to the south. Approximately twice as wide and twice as deep as Niagara Falls, the waterfall spans the entire breadth of the Zambezi River at one of its widest points (more than 5,500 feet [1,700 meters]).
At the falls, the river plunges over a sheer precipice to a maximum drop of 355 feet (108 meters). The falls’ mean flow is almost 33,000 cubic feet (935 cubic meters) per second.
Victoria falls is a sight to behold for anyone that visits Africa. Add this to your bucket list when next you are traveling the world.
Fact About Africa #18
Did you know The black and the blue wildebeest are only found in Africa? Wildebeest roam all over the plain of Arica. Another name for the wildebeest is the gnu.
There are two species, the blue and the black wildebeest both with different striking characteristics. The blue wildebeest is also known as the brindled gnu or white-bearded wildebeest and the black wildebeest is known as the white-tailed gnu.
Although they are different species, they have similarities. Both of them have horns, broad muzzles, manes and shaggy tails.
Meanwhile they have some glaring differences too.
The blue wildebeest are larger, weighing between 180 and 250 kg while the black wildebeest are smaller, weighing in at between 155 and 180 kg. The blue wildebeest have horns that curve sideways out from the head while the black wildebeest horns curve forward.
The best time to see the wildebeest in their glory is when they are in their natural habitat.
Fact About Africa #19
Did you know? Over 25% of the world’s languages are spoken only in Africa. Over 25% of all languages are spoken only in Africa with over 2,000 recognized languages spoken on the Continent. Africa is rich in linguistic diversity.
According to some linguists, Nigeria is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world as it has over 500 languages. Ethiopia is the only African country with its own Alphabet “Ethiopic” and probably one of the longest alphabets with its 345 letters.
There are thousands of languages spoken in Africa, but most of them fall neatly into just a few categories. Language scholars have classified the languages of Africa into six different families, or phyla: the Niger-Congo languages, the Afroasiatic languages, the Nilo-Saharan languages, the Khoisan languages, the Austronesian languages, and the Indo-European languages.
Join African Vibes Community for more positive African news and interesting discussions.