Africa is the second largest continent in the world and has great geographical along with natural resource significance. There is a total of 54 countries in Africa, making it the continent with a most number of countries. Although Asia is the bigger of the two continents the fact that it has Russia, India and China, three of the biggest countries in the world, means that it has 50 countries. The rich diversity, wildlife and geographical wonders make it prudent to explore some amazing and fascinating facts about Africa.
Fascinating Facts about Africa – Interesting
13. Population and GDP
Over a billion people in the world call Africa their home continent. Africa is an extremely poverty-ridden continent, and only a handful countries have less than 30% people below the poverty line. Even though Africa comprises 15% of the total world population, it only contributes 2.5% to the GDP of the world. It is one of the reasons why there are so many untimely deaths and illnesses in the continent, especially the Sub-Saharan Africa.
12. Gibraltar Strait
The Gibraltar Strait is a small opening of water that connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to each other. Apart from that, it also acts as the separator between Europe and Africa by a mere 8.9 miles. There have been propositions in a discussion about building a bridge between two continents. If that ever happens, it will be the longest bridge in the world by a long shot.
11. Diamond is Gold
Now it may seem a little baffling considering the impoverished state of the continent but over 60% of world’s gold comes from Africa and around 50% of the diamonds as well. South Africa is an especially well to do country against the run of play of the continent because of their massive gold and diamond reserves. One of the fascinating facts about Africa is that about half of world’s gold is mined in a single location in South Africa known as the Witwatersrand.
10. Chinese Are Taking Over
Well, not really. But there are still an astounding number of Chinese people, 1 million to be exact, that live in Africa, and they have been settled there for generations. There are big regions and towns in Angola especially that are dominated by the Chinese community as around 350,000 Chinese live in that country alone.
9. Nelson Mandela
Philanthropist politician Nelson Mandela served as South African President for five years from 1994 to 1999. He was voted as the most respected personality in the world in 2012 as he won the poll by a landslide. Mandela lived for the betterment of the continent, and he breathed Africa. One of the mind-blowing facts about Africa is that Mandela’s handprint makes an almost perfect map of Africa in the middle.
8. Diverse Wildlife
It might be a no-brainer for the most of those who have made this far in the articles – kudos on that by the way – that Africa is home to one of the most diverse wildlife. The African wild elephant is the largest animal on land and the tallest, giraffes, are also found in the continent. So many people believe that Tigers are a common species of African wildlife. Think again. In fact, there is not a single wild tiger in Africa. They are only found in the neighboring continent, Asia.
7. Wonders of Nile
Nile is the longest river in the world (6650 km), and it has been attributed for the very reason that many people still live in the mostly barren Africa. The reason for that is that over 90% of the total soil is totally unfit for agricultural use. Less than 1% is legible for moderate farming. The rest has little to no potential for farming. The Nile has been an important source of irrigation agriculture and also electrical energy. There are over 500 dams that are built across the River Nile.
6. Not the Driest Place in the World
Over 25% of the total African surface is covered by the Sahara desert which is bigger than the USA regarding the area. 90% is dry land unfit for agricultural use. You might think that it is the driest continent in the world, but that is not the fact. That distinction goes to Australia. One of the most amazing facts about Africa is that it has the second biggest freshwater lake in the world; Lake Victoria. It is listed as one of the modern wonders of the world.
5. Diverse Place
Over 1 billion people in Africa speak more than 1,500 languages. The continent is well known for its cultural diversity as it represents nearly 40% of the languages spoken in the world; 25% of which are only spoken in Africa. Another one of crazy facts about Africa is that South Africa alone has 11 official languages, and there are many more that are spoken. It is called the country of rainbows precisely because of that attribute.
4. Deadliest Animal
Guess which animal is the most ferocious and deadliest to human beings in Africa? If you guessed lions, then you are sorely mistaken. Even crocodile is the wrong answer. The correct answer is hippopotamus which kills more people in Africa than lions and crocodiles combined. You would get an imaginary cookie if you guessed right. 4. Go ahead; give yourself a pat on the back.
3. Lesotho is Very High (Pun Intended)
Lesotho is a small landlocked country smack dab in the middle of South Africa surrounded on every side. It is just over 30,000 km square in area and has a population of just over 2 million. One of the interesting and eye opening facts about Africa that we are talking about here is that Lesotho has a very high mean altitude. In fact, it is the only country in the world which is entirely above 1000 meters altitude from the sea level.
2. Famous Personalities
Aside from Nelson Mandela, there are quite many personalities and celebrities who have either done or have had something amazing done to them. One of them is Didier Drogba, the famous Ivory Coast footballer, who brokered a cease fire in his war torn home country that ended a five-year long civil war. Graca Machel is the only woman in the world that has been the First Lady of two separate nations; South Africa and Mozambique. Latter of which has an AK-47 on its flag.
1. Fast and the Furious
There is a tribe in Kenya that exclusively produces most of the fastest runners, male or female, in the world. The tribe is called Kalenjins. And speaking of fast and the furious, South Africa has a law in place that allows car owners to attach flamethrowers to the car side to 1. protect from carjackers.
There are significant research and evidence that all of the continents were attached to Africa as a single continent known as the Pangaea before the presence of human beings. As such, it has a very central location on the world map as it is the only continent that has land in all four hemispheres. It is also the only continent that has land in both the equator and the prime meridian.