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Africa: Physical Geography Section 1 of Chapter 11 Land and Water The Four Regions of Africa The Four Regions of Africa North Africa – includes some mountains as well as the Sahara Desert, the world’s largest desert. West Africa – Most populated region. Mostly grasslands which are good for farming. East Africa – Contains many mountains and plateaus. There are also grasslands and hills. plateau – large, mostly flat area that rises above the surrounding land; at least one side has a steep slope. Central and Southern Africa – Contains flat or rolling grasslands. There are also thick rain forests, mountains and swamps. There are also desert regions (Namibia and Kalahari.) Africa’s Major Landforms 1. The Plateau Continent Africa is called this because the elevation of much of the country is high. Elevation – height of land above sea level. 2. Coastal Plains Edge the Continent There is a strip of coastal plain on many coasts of Africa. In parts it is dry and sandy, in other parts, marshy and moist. Escarpment – a steep cliff about 100 stories high. 3.The Great Rift Valley Located in East Africa (where Mt. Kilimanjaro is located – Africa’s tallest mountain.) Rift – a deep crack in the Earth’s surface. The rift that cuts through east Africa is 4000 miles long and contains many lakes. Africa’s Rivers Cataracts – a rock filled rapid (river.) These make sailing from the rivers to the sea impossible. Nile River Longest river in the world. It flows from two points (White Nile in Sudan and Blue Nile in Ethiopia) north towards the Mediterranean Sea. The land surrounding it is good for farming. Silt – bits of rock and dirt on river bottom. This helps to make the soil fertile – containing substances that plants need in order to grow well. The Aswan High Dam controls the flow of water from the Nile. When it was built, Lake Nasserformed. Africa’s Rivers 2. Congo River – Africa’s 2nd longest Flows through the rainforest in Congo in Central Africa. Hundreds of tributaries flow into it. Tributary – small rivers or streams that flow into larger rivers. People in this region grow grains and cassava (like potato) as well as catch fish in baskets The Niger River – 3rd longest in Africa Begins in Guinea and flows north. People make a living catching fish here and the river provides water for nearby farms. The Zambezi River – 4th longest in Africa Located in Southern Africa. It runs through or forms border for six countries. The river’s strong current has been used to make electricity. Victoria Falls is a waterfall that is part of the river.