Africa is the second largest continent, approximately three times the size of the United States. The African continent measures 5,200 miles from north to south, and at its broadest point, is nearly as wide as it is long.
Africa contains both the world’s largest desert (the Sahara) and the world’s longest river (the Nile). Africa’s 11,636,846 square miles of land are divided into 55 countries (including South Sudan).
Africa has a wide variety of climates:
Tropical rainforest – found particularly in the centre of the continent and also along the eastern coast of Madagascar.
Humid sub-tropical – found in the southwest.
Mediterranean – mostly on the northwest (Mediterranean) coast and in the southeast
Savannah – found to the north and south where it replaces the rain forest. There are distinct wet and dry seasons.
Steppe – away from the Equator, to the north and south, the savannah grades into drier steppe.
Desert – here there is little rainfall and wide differences between day and night temperatures. The Sahara in the north is the world’s largest desert (only three countries have a greater area – Russia, Canada and China). The Kalahari in southern Africa covers an area larger than France.
Highland – largely found in the east, below the Horn of Africa.
Marine – largely in the southeast.
The highest temperature recorded anywhere in the world was at Al’Aziziya, Libya, which reached 57.8°C (136°F) on September 13, 1922. The lowest recorded temperature in Africa is -24°C (-11°F) at Ilfrane, Morocco, on February 11, 1935.