Despite its delayed development, Africa is the most populous and only black continent. The geographical location is famed for its abundant natural resources, including lots of tourist attractions, unique talents and great potentials. Unfortunately, there are ample online data about all other continents except Africa, which is rarely recognized for its contributions to world economic development.
Here are 10 fun facts about Africa that will certainly tickle your fancy:
- Lake Victoria
Africa is endowed with many natural wonders which make it a tourist’s best location for holidays. Covering an area of 26,830sq miles (about 69,490 square kilometres), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake and second-largest among all freshwater lakes in the world. Lake Victoria is famed for its spectacular sheets of falling water which is also largest in the world.
- The Nile
River Nile is one of the wonders of the world. Closely associated with Egypt even though only about 22% of its course runs through the North African country, the rest flows through Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. History has it that oldest civilization in the world started from the banks of River Nile.
- Home to the Largest Mammals
African elephants are the largest known mammals. The continent provides home to these largest living land animals which weigh about 7 tons, with the males and females measuring up to 13 and 9 feet high at the shoulder respectively. African elephants are found in the east, south and west regions of the continent.
- Population and Language
Africa is home to about 15% of the world’s population (around 1 billion people) and its cultural diversity explains why over a quarter of languages originate from the continent. For example, English is the first language (lingua franca) in Nigeria but there are dozens of local dialects though Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba are considered the major languages. Africa is synonymous with underdevelopment, population explosion and low life expectancy rates and a large number of the population are below 30 years old.
- Sahara Desert
Africa’s Sahara is the world’s largest non-polar desert. It is located in the northern part of Africa, covering a surface area of 9 million square kilometres (about 3.5 million square miles).
- Origin of the Human Species
According to historical data provided by the Human Origins, early humans first migrated from Africa into Asia about 2 million years ago before entering Europe about 200 years later. Modern human species found everywhere on the planet, as shown in the image below, points to the fact that first civilizations and rudimentary agriculture started about 12,000 years ago from this part of the world.
- Lake Assal
Research findings show that the lowest point in Africa is Lake Assal, which is located in Central East Djibouti at the west end of the Gulf of Tadjoura. Situated between Tadjoura Region and part of Dikhil Region, atop the Great Rift Valley, Lake Assal measures around 160 meters below sea level and its level of saltiness is 10 times more concentrated than samples taken from the sea. Lake Assal ranks third for low land depression behind the Dead Sea (1st) and Sea of Galilee (2nd). In addition, Lake Assal has the largest salt reserve in the world and media reports confirm this natural resource is currently exploited under four concessions awarded in 2002.
In Africa, hippopotamus kills more people than any other large animal. This is because most African communities depend on rivers as their only source of good drinking water, a circumstance which brings them in constant territorial wars with hippos. Findings show that male hippos are more aggressive while defending their territories which, most times, include river banks—especially if they perceive any kind of threats towards their young ones which normally stay far off in the water while mother hippos search for food on the river banks. Hippos have good dentition with jaws that hold canine teeth measuring up to 20 inches.
- Continental Pride
Africa is the 2nd largest continent in the world—both in population and land mass. It covers about one-fifth (6%) of the world’s geographical land mass.
Africa’s 30.3 square kilometres include adjacent islands but one important theory, most importantly, claims that the continent was once (in the early Mesozoic era) connected to Australia, Antartica, North/South America, India and Asia. However, the links were today separated by what researchers called “continental drift”. Abraham Ortelius first proposed this theory in 1596, citing fossil evidence, but in 1912 another researcher Alfred Wagener’s theory “plate tectonics” inquired into Ortelius’ hypotheses and findings which were found to be true.