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27 SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT AFRICA

Africa is the world’s second-biggest continent and home to some of the most beautiful countries on the planet, as well as some of the most unusual scenery and animals, making it a popular tourist destination. Here are 27 interesting facts about Africa, which we hope will pique your interest in this magnificent continent…

AFRICA IS MADE UP OF 54 COUNTRIES.

Africa is the world’s second largest continent, with more countries than Asia, the world’s largest continent. The countries are listed alphabetically as follows: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi,

AFRICA EXTENDS OVER 30 MILLION SQUARE KILOMETHRES

Africa is a vast continent separated into five regions: North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa. Africa comprises about 10 million square miles, accounting for more than 20% of the world’s land area!

ARABIC IS THE MOST WIDELY SPOKEN LANGUAGE.

This may be an unexpected fun truth about Africa. Because Africa is made up of 54 countries, there are many distinct languages spoken. However, Arabic (spoken by 170 million people) is the most widely spoken language here, followed by English (spoken by 130 million people), Swahili, French, Bereber, Hausa, and Portuguese. There are also numerous different languages spoken here that we doubt you’ve heard of…

MORE THAN 2,000 LANGUAGES ARE RECOGNIZED.

Over a quarter of all languages spoken in the world are spoken in Africa in their respective regions. There are over 2,000 different recognized languages spoken in Africa, with around 200 of these being Afro-Asian languages spoken in Northern Africa including Central Sahara, 140 being Nilo-Saharan languages spoken in Central and Eastern Africa, and over 1,000 being Niger-Saharan languages.

ILLITERACY REACHES UP TO 40% ACROSS THE CONTINENT.

Despite the fact that Africa is rich in natural resources, many of its countries have large populations that live in poverty. As a result, 40% of adults in Africa are illiterate. Ethiopia, Chad, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso are the hardest hit countries, with frightening illiteracy rates of above 50%.

AFRICA IS THE HOTTEST CONTINENT IN THE WORLD.

Africa, as you are surely aware, has a very warm climate and is regarded the world’s hottest continent. Around 60% of the area is arid and desert, and the Sahara is the world’s largest desert, with temperatures frequently exceeding 100°F (or 40°C). However, while the hottest recorded temperature on Earth was once in Africa at El Azizia, Libya at 136.4°F (58°C), the continent also has the coldest temperate in Africa, with temperatures as low as 11°F (23.9 °C) in Ifrane, Morocco. This merely demonstrates the diversity of the various African countries, and the distinctions do not end with the climate!

AFRICA WAS ONCE COMPRISED OF 10,000 STATES.

Prior to colonial occupation, Africa was divided into 10,000 independent states and autonomous groupings, each with its own distinct language and customs. This pre-colonial, fractured Africa could explain why so many languages are spoken and why many of the languages spoken in Africa are not spoken elsewhere.

IN THE 1960s, ZAMBIA HAD A SPACE PROGRAM.

Although it may seem implausible, Zambia had a space program in the 1960s, however it was not very successful. It all began when a Zambian citizen set out to be the first to send a man to the moon, beating out the Americans and Russians. Apart from the space program, a £7 million grant was applied for in order to transport 12 people and a cat to Mars, but it was denied, and the space program failed. This is perhaps our favorite African fun fact.

THE NUMBER OF TWINS BORN IN NIGERIA IS THE HIGHEST IN THE WORLD.

Nigeria, one of Africa’s largest countries, has been dubbed “The Land of Twins” by the BBC due to the world’s highest rate of twin births. Twin birth rates in West Africa are four times greater than everywhere else in the world, according to statistics, and the epicenter of it all is a peaceful little town in Nigeria called Igbo-Ora, where the most recent figures revealed an average of 50 sets of twins in every 1,000 births.

THE SECOND CONGO WAR KILLED OVER 5 MILLION PEOPLE.

The Second Congo War, which began in August 1998, occurred only one year after the First Congo War and is the world’s second deadliest conflict, after only World War II. The Second Congo War began as a political and military conflict between Rwanda and Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) and grew to include seven other nations; more than 5 million people died throughout the conflict. A peace accord was negotiated in 2002 to protect the calm and limit the death toll from escalating, but part of the violence persists today, making the DRC a risky place to visit. However, do not confuse this with the Republic of Congo, which is a very secure (and excellent!) safari destination.

AFRICA PARTICIPATED IN THE SHORTEST WAR IN HISTORY.

Africa not only hosted the world’s second deadliest war, but it also hosted the world’s shortest recorded conflict. The war began in August 1896 between Zanzibar and the United Kingdom. It began when the British refused to acknowledge Sultan Khalid bin Barghash’s succession following the previous pro-British Sultan Hamad ibn Thuwaini. War broke out as British forces invaded the palace grounds, but the conflict lasted only 38 minutes before Sultan Khalid ibn Barghash raised the white flag of surrender. He then fled to German East Africa, while the British took control of the situation and named a new Sultan.

AFRICA HAS AROUND 90% OF ALL MALARIA CASES IN THE WORLD.

Malaria, as you are surely aware, is a highly lethal disease, particularly in Africa. Every day, almost 3,000 children die from Malaria in Africa, and 90% of all Malaria cases worldwide occur here. We urge anybody who can to donate to one of the charities listed below to help save children in need of medical care: Malaria No More, Christian Aid, UNICEF, or the Against Malaria Foundation. This is a terrible sickness that is difficult to combat given the country’s poverty, therefore any assistance from the Western world is greatly appreciated.

THE SAHARA DESERT IN AFRICA IS LARGER THAN THE USA.

As previously stated, Africa is the world’s hottest continent, and much of its terrain is desert. The Sahara Desert, the world’s largest desert, is truly huge. It covers 9.4 million square kilometers, which is larger than the entire United States! Another fascinating statistic about the Sahara is that it is spreading in the southern sections at a rate of half a mile per month, which equals to six miles per year!

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN AFRICA AND EUROPE IS LESS THAN 9 MILES.

There are significant cultural distinctions between Africa and Europe, first and foremost because they both host a diverse range of countries and civilizations. They are, nevertheless, fewer than nine miles apart at their closest point. The distance across the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain is less than nine miles, and the two countries are currently discussing an undersea train network to make Africa-Europe travel easier and more comfortable, which would be wonderful for future safari excursions…

IT HAS ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST UNIVERSITIES.

Despite the fact that many adults remain illiterate in Africa, the continent is home to one of the world’s oldest colleges. Timbuktu, Mali, was built in the 12th century and became the center of all intelligentsia, earning it the moniker “Paris of Medieval Times” by historians. The University of Timbuktu was founded in 982 CE and is one of the world’s earliest recognized educational institutions.

AFRICA HOUSES THE WORLD’S LARGEST FROG SPECIES.

It may come as no surprise that Africa is home to the world’s largest frog species. It is known as the Goliath Frog, and it may grow to be a foot long and weigh up to 8lb (more than the typical human new born infant!). This cute tiny (or not so small) creature is located in Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon and is harmless.

Throughout mining history, it has been the largest single source of gold.

As previously said, Africa is home to certain valuable resources sought for by the Western world. Almost half of all gold mined on Earth has originated from Africa, notably the Witwatersrand region of South Africa. Despite the reduction in production, gold exports in 2005 were valued at $3.8 billion USD. South Africa is also well-known for its diamonds, albeit Botswana is the leading producer.

THE BIGGEST LAND MAMMALS ARE AFRICAN ELEPHANTS.

African elephants are the largest living terrestrial creatures, weighing up to six tonnes and measuring up to seven meters in length. They are sometimes compared to their Asian counterparts, although they have numerous obvious distinctions, including being larger in size! They also have larger ears, wrinkles, and rings on their trunks than their Asian ancestors. This is a terrific animal to look out for the next time you go on safari…

FISH BONES ARE USED IN THE MAKING OF TUNISIAN BUILDINGS.

Many people in Tunisia, a North African country, believe that fish have mystical powers and that they may protect them from evil spirits. Some families will just place photos of fish in their homes as protection, but there are many houses here that have fish bones imbedded in the walls and floors to protect the residents from evil spirits.

THE NOBEL PRIZE HAS BEEN AWARDED TO 23 AFRICANS.

Africans have received 23 Nobel Prizes. Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, and the most recent Denis Mukwege are among those who have received the award.

EGYPT HAS MORE PYRAMIDS THAN SUDAN.

Although Egypt is well-known for its pyramids, many people are unaware that Sudan, in Africa, has a total of 223 pyramids. This is twice as many pyramids as Egypt has! These vanished pyramids are the Meroe Pyramids, which were formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, which was ruled by Nubian monarchs.

MORE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE INTERNET ACCESS THAN IN ALL OF AFRICA.

As one might anticipate, Africa lags far behind in terms of the “digital divide,” with more individuals having internet connection in New York than in the entire continent and its 54 countries!

SOUTH AFRICA HAS 280,000 WINDMILLS.

Although the Netherlands is most known for its windmills, South Africa has 280,000 of them. These may be found on farms throughout the country, and the numbers here are significantly larger than the figures from the Netherlands, which have only ever reported a total of 10,000 windmills.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO IS AFRICA’S HIGHEST POINT.

Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular destination and a challenge for many people from all over the world who visit Africa. You might be surprised to learn that Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is Africa’s highest point. It rises up to 19,340 feet above sea level and is one of the most difficult climbs for professional climbers today. However, it is one of the most perilous climbing adventures, with over 1,000 people rescued each year and an annual fatality rate of roughly 10 individuals on average, implying that this climb is not for the faint of heart!

LIBYA’S EL AZIZIAIN WAS RECORDED AS THE HOTTEST PLACE IN THE WORLD.

El Azizia in Libya, North Africa, was once thought to be the hottest site on the planet. The validity and accuracy of the recorded 58°C high were called into question, and it was later overturned by investigative experts. It was recently stripped of its title, however, when records revealed a temperature of 56.7°C (134°F) in Death Valley, California in 1913. El Azizia, title or no title, is still a very hot location…

DEFORESTATION IS A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM.

We may hear about it on the news and in the papers, but it is not something we seriously consider. However, Africa’s deforestation rate is double that of the rest of the globe. Every year, four million hectares of forest are destroyed, and some African countries have fewer than 1% of their primary forest surviving.

MALAWI LAKE HAS THE MOST NUMBER OF FISH SPECIES.

Lake Malawi is one of Africa’s most stunning safari and beach destinations, and it also has the most fish species, which may or may not surprise you! There are over 500 different types of fish, more species than in any other lake in the world, so keep an eye out for some intriguing ones when you get the chance to visit.

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////my-lifestyle.co
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!
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