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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.