Elephant Teacher Guide to the Continent of Africa

Africa is an exotic and faraway land for most residents of other countries and other continents. There are 53 countries and some areas that are in dispute, on the continent. The tallest mountain is Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, at a soaring height of 19,340 feet or nearly 5900 meters. The lowest part of Africa is Djibouti's Lake Assal, which is 515 feet or 155 meters below sea level.

There is more than one desert in Africa, which may be news to people who think that the whole continent is a desert. The largest African desert is the Sahara, which covers nearly 3.5 million square miles, or about 9 million square kilometers. It stretches through twelve countries on the continent.

Most people have heard of the Nile River, which is not only Africa's longest river, but also the longest river worldwide. It runs from Egypt to Uganda, or about 4100 miles, which is roughly 6650 kilometers.

Africa is certainly not all desert - the largest lake on the continent is Lake Victoria, which borders in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Lake Victoria is the second largest lake in the entire world, covering over 26,000 square miles or about 69,000 square kilometers.

Africa is not densely populated, but it is the second most populous continent in the world, second only to Asia. Nigeria has the largest African population, with about 125-140 million people. The largest city in terms of population in Africa is Cairo, located in Egypt. There are estimated to be about seventeen million people who live in Cairo.

There are over 3000 ethnic groups who call the continent of Africa home. In larger countries like Nigeria, you may find over 350 tribes in one country alone. Africans speak over 2000 languages, including Arabic, which is the most used language. Roughly 170 million people in Africa speak Arabic, most of which are found in the Horn of Africa and the North African area.

The country in Africa that is visited most often by tourists is Egypt, which sees about ten million visitors a year. The great Pyramids have been a busy attraction for two thousand years. The second country most-traveled to is South Africa, having seen nine million visitors yearly. These statistics are based on 2007 facts.

Tanzania and Kenya are the most visited countries in East Africa, although Kenya's numbers have fallen due to the instability of the area, politically. Visitors to Tanzania and Kenya enjoy the beaches and guided safaris.

Southern Africa is a very popular tourist area, and South Africa itself has had the most visitors for the region. Visitors come to see its wildlife parks, beaches and cities. The most popular recent place to visit is Mozambique.

In West Africa, Senegal and The Gambia attract more tourists than other countries of the region. They are very popular winter vacation beaches for Europeans getting away from their colder winters.

Africa has some largely-unknown places to visit, including Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, where you can view Italian architecture from the 1930's.

The least expensive place world-wide to get a diving certification is at Lake Malawi, and there are over 500 kinds of fish to view.

The first Star Wars movie sets in Tunisia (called Planet Tatooine in the movies) are still preserved for visitors. You can even book a stay in the home of Luke Skywalker.

Egypt is famous for pyramids, but the Sudan has more of them! They have 223 pyramids which are steeper and smaller than Egyptian pyramids.


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