Africa Homepage

Africa Header

Welcome to the Africa Homepage! As educators we selected to present the Continent of Africa because of it's colorful culture, unique climate and diverse population! Africa is comprised of many different religious groups and the citizens speak many different languages. Africa enables classrooms to go on a Safari through its different countries to see all they have to offer. While students will never see a Zebra or Lion in their own backyard, they can visit the local zoo to see such wildlife! Students can explore a culture completely different from their own and will enjoy learning a new way of life.

Population: 1,022,234,000
Most Practice Religions: Islam, Christianity, African Religious Traditions
Most Practiced Languages: Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, Niger-Congo, Khosian,
Countries: 56
Longest River: Nile River - 4,135 mi long.
Highest Point: Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania - 19,341 ft
Largest Lake: Lake Victoria - 26,828 sq miles
Largest Desert: Sahara - Largest in the world!
Surrounding Oceans: Indian & Atlantic Ocean
(African Cultural Center, 2011)

Countries of Africa
Countries of Africa

Africa is a large country that lies between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. It is home to some of the world's most popular and majestic animals.
The continent of Africa is almost as old as the earth itself! In Africa today, you can find plants that have existed since the age of the dinosaurs. Africa has a unique culture with different foods, ethnic dancing and beautiful music! Welcome to the Wild, thanks for visiting!

Animals of Africa
Animals of Africa

Today, Africa's natural habitats are suffering and being destroyed by human interference. This is causing deforestation and desertific

ation which is causing many animals and wild life to lose their homes in the woodlands and deserts. Game reserves are helping to protect endangered species.

Conservationists look at Africa’s wildlife as a last remnant of past biological wealth. In most of the world, large mammals like elephants died around 10

,000 years ago! However, in Africa, where animals and people lived together for more than 2 million years, large mammals that roam forests and savannas survived. Sparse human population enabled large animals and many rain forest species including rare plants to survive.

“During the last hundred years, the people in sub-Saharan Africa increased in numbers six fold. Industrial countries have made it profitable for Africans to kill elephants for ivory, cut down trees for timber, and plant forests and fertile lands in cash crops like cacao.” (African Cultural Center, par. 3, 2011)

Wildlife and wild lands have been lost due to the continent’s ever increasing population. Two thirds of people in Africa are rural, and survive on raising crops and livestock on any available land. Competition for land is intense around Lake Victoria and along the coast of West Africa.Hungry people seldom rally around the cause of the wildlife preservation. Therefore, many programs promote conservation by giving rural people an economic stake in the survival of ecosystems and habitat. (Africa Cultural Center, 2011)

What can your school or classroom do about this problem in Africa? Does your own country encounter these kinds of things?

Africa's Climate

The climate is influenced by how north or south of the equator a specific region lies. Regions closest to the equator are the hottest in the world. Regions closer to the poles, are colder. Africa's climate zones range from humid temperate, to humid equatorial, to dry.

In the Western and Central countries of Africa, along the Guinea Coast, and East Africa south of the equator, climates are humid. Some countries include Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mozambique, Gabon,and Congo.

The countries nearest the equator experience year-round rainfall. Those north or south of the equator experience short, dry winters and an average amount of rainfall per year.

In the north the Sahel desert stretches from east to west through Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan and borders the Sahara. These regions experience a very dry climate. In the desert itself, rainfall is very scare and temperatures are extremely high. During the day, temperatures are very high, however at nighttime, the temperature drops due to the plants and moisture.

Here is a map of Africa with the segregated climatic zones.
(African Cultural Center USA, 1991)

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Library of Alexandria
In Zimbabwe, South Africa, you will find the "Smoke of Thunders." It's more commonly known as the Victoria Falls and it is twice the size of Niagra Falls.
( Famous Landmarks in Africa, n.d.)
In Alexandria, Egypt, you can find the Library of Alexandria. It was the largest and greatest library of the ancient world. Unfortunately, it was accidentally burned down. The current library was built as close to the original location as possible and in an attempt to keep the spirit of the library alive (World Review, n.d.).

The Sahara Desert
Mount Kilimanjaro
The Sahara Desert stretches across most of Northern Africa. It covers about 9,400,000 square km and is the 2nd largest desert in the world (Wikipedia, n.d.).
Mount Kilimanjaro can be found at the Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. This is the 4th tallest peak in the world. Although it is a volcano, it is considered dormant. In fact, there are no recorded eruptions from Mount Kilimanjaro in history (Wikipedia, n.d.).

The Great Pyramid of Giza
Leptis Magna Roman Ruins
In Giza, Egypt is the Great Pyramid at Giza. This is the largest pyramid ever built and it is oriented
almost perfectly North. It is built of about 2.3 million stone blocks and includes three burial chambers.
This is only one of many pyramids located in Egypt (National Geographic, 1996).
The Leptis Magna can be found in Libya. This historical city is the most complete of the Roman ruins in all of North
Africa. It was originally used as a trading point city by the Phoenicians, but later became part of the Roman Empire.
(Kjeilan, n.d.)

Africa's culture is very diverse. It varies greatly from country to country. There are a few similarities you will see throughout the continent though. Like many places, cultures in Africa centers around family and ethnic groups. Food,music, art, and literature are four areas of Africa's culture that are seen throughout the world.

Africans tend to live in rural areas and most of them are substinent farmers. This means that they live off of the food that they grow for themselves. Americans are used to fast food and supermarkets. In the majority part of Africa, these do not exist. Instead there are outdoor markets where people sell clothes, food, and other supplies. Women and girls do most of the cooking. There are certain foods that are found in different countries in Africa. In Western Africa, people eat cassava, millet, maize, and plantains.
Here is a list of countries with foods that are popular there:
  • Egypt-Ful
  • Morocco and Algeria-Couscous
  • Kenya- Chicken curry, Madalas
  • Botswana- millet and sorghum porridge

Moroccans eating Couscous

There are many instruments that are used in African music. Some include bells, drums, guitars, likembes (thumb pianos), strung bows, trumpets, and xylophones. All forms of instruments originated in Africa whether it be strings, winds, or percussions. African music is part of all aspects of life. Drums are definitely a common instrument, but where there are no trees flutes and trumpets are more common. A lot of the African music are work chants. These are typically sung while workers are planting seeds or harvesting the crop. Children sing and dance along. They are sometimes taught to build their own instruments. On African radio, traditional songs are played as well as jazz, rock, and reggae.

African Band

Folktales are common in Africa. They are passed down from generation to generation. Skilled storytellers would memorize stories and recite them to an audience. Many of these folktales have morals or lessons. Click here for an example of an African folktale!!

Africa has made many contributions in art. One of their biggest contributions is sculpture. African sculpture is highly developed and has been around for years. In earlier days, the people of Africa would create painting and engrave pictures on rocks. They would sometimes engrave animals such as elephants,rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses, and buffaloes, which are now extinct in the area. Cattle, camels, horses and sheep, animals still around today, have also been drawn. Masks are popular to African art. Different masks made from different materials are worn with elaborate costumes in different seasons. Sometimes, cults wear masks. Some communities paint their bodies. Often masks are worn at the initiation rites to symbolize cult heroes, royalty, the political structure and arts and crafts. Egypt influences the rest of Africa in art. Islam and Christianity are other infuences in art (African culture center, n.d.).
Here is an example of a Dogon ceremonial mask:

African Mask

Flags of Africa
Flags of Africa

10 Fun Facts About Africa

1. The Nile is the longest river in the world – the 6,670 kms takes you through Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt.
2. African elephants are the largest living land animals. They can weigh up to 6-7 tons and drink over 160 liters of water a day.
3. Almost 100 species of lemurs are found in Madagascar.
4.Eighteen people from Africa have been awarded a Nobel prize. They come from Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
5. Nigeria is the most populated country with over 145 million people.
6. There are over 2300 species of birds in Africa
7. Africa is the second largest continent in the world, after Asia.
8. Historians and archaeologists believe that Africa is where all of mankind originally came from.
9. Africa is the home of the world’s biggest hospital – the Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto South Africa.

10. Almost 100 species of lemurs are found in Madagascar, Africa.

(Kirigha, n.d.)
(Hike Bike Travel, 2010)

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Page Created by Samantha Zamudio, Rachael Caise, Nicole Hanna, Megan Bernitt, Mark Higdon ©
smzamud@ilstu,edu , , ,,
Created: 11/28/11
Last Modified: 12/9/11