.............................................................................................................................................................. Standard A.2>

On a map of the world, locate the continent of Africa, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Great Rift Valley. On a map of Africa, locate the northern, eastern, western, central, and southern regions of Africa, the Sahara Desert, the Nile River, Lake Victoria, Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Cape of Good Hope.

Link to Special Topic Page on Wildlife Diversity and the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

Regions of Africa


  • Click here on instructions on how to create maps of Africa with your students.


Multimedia.pngClick here for a song on African geography

Topographical Map
Topographical Map

Click here for an overview of African Geography from the African Cultural Center.

African nations bordering or containing the…

Atlantic Ocean:
(bordering) Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, South Africa

Indian Ocean:
(bordering) Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar (island), Mauritius (island), Mozambique, South Africa

Mediterranean Sea:
(bordering) Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt

Great Rift Valley

Great Rift Valley: a geologic fault—or split in the earth's crust that shifts up and down—running from Central Asia down through Africa from north to south. In Asia, countries containing the Great Rift Valley are Lebanon, Syria, and then the rift runs down through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
  • (quote) “The main section of the valley in Africa continues from the Red Sea SW across Ethiopia and south across Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi to the lower Zambezi River valley in Mozambique.
    • Many small lakes in Ethiopia and several long narrow lakes, notably lakes Turkana and Nyasa, lie on its course. Just north of Lake Nyasa there is a western branch, which runs north, chiefly along the eastern border of Congo (Kinshasa); this branch is marked by a chain of lakes, including lakes Tanganyika, Kivu, Edward, and Albert (Mobutu).
      • Lake Victoria does not lie in the Great Rift Valley but between its main and western branches. The Great Rift Valley ranges in elevation from c.1,300 ft (395 m) below sea level (the Dead Sea) to c.6,000 ft (1,830 m) above sea level in S Kenya.
        • Erosion has concealed some sections, but in places, notably in Kenya, there are sheer cliffs several thousand feet high.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 11.47.54 AM.pngClick here for a virtual interactive on the Great Rift Valley

Sahara Desert

This desert occupies most of the inland land mass of North Africa; (“sub-Saharan Africa” refers to roughly the Southern two-thirds of the continent).
  • Countries that are wholly or partly in the Saharan Desert are: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan.
    • It is the largest desert in the world.
Desert Dunes
Desert Dunes
sahara desert.jpg
Lighter Northern Area Contains the Sahara Desert

Multimedia.pngThe Sahara Desert on YouTube

Environmental History and Changes

One of the Driest Places on Earth, the Sahara Desert, Once Ran Water from USA Today

The Sahara Desert is Millions of Years Older Than Thought from Smithsonian

Lake Chad from Apollo 7
Lake Chad from Apollo 7

Scientists Discover Sahara Desert Once Contained the World's Largest Lake


The Nile River

Nile River at Luxor
Nile River at Luxor

Nile River: ends in Egypt as the Nile, runs down into Sudan and Uganda as the White Nile, and across into Ethiopia as the Blue Nile. One of the birthplaces of human civilization with the Pharaohs and the Nubians thriving in this valley, the Nile River basin is one of the most geographic and historically important places on Earth.

It is the world's longest river (4,160 miles) followed by the Amazon River (4,000 miles) and the Yangtze River (3,917 miles).

Rotating_globe-small.gifFor more on ancient Nuba, see Black Kingdoms of the Nile from PBS and Nubia: Lost Civilization of Egypt from the BBC.

lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan on the Nile River

rotating gif.gifWildlife Diversity and the Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

nile river.png
Map Showing the Nile River and Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

The end of the Nile, bordered by Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

  • It is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world. The lake contains over 200 different species of fish.

  • Click here for more information.

Satellite Photo of Lake Victoria

Elephants and Mount Kilimanjaro.  Image:  Dan Lundberg
Elephants and Mount Kilimanjaro. Image: Dan Lundberg

Mount Kilimanjaro

The highest peak in Africa at 5895 meters (19,298 feet) high; on the border of Kenya and Tanzania.

It is also the highest free standing mountain in the world.It is a very popular mountain to climb; it is possible to reach the crater rim with a walking stick as your equipment.Click here for more information.

lessonplan.jpgClick here for the Nova site on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Cape of Good Hope

The southern tip of Africa, on the coast of South Africa. Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias spotted the Cape on a journey to discover the lowest points of Africa. It is the place where warm currents from the Indian Ocean meet cold currents from the Antarctic. Because of this, the Cape is known for having rough storms.

  • For more information, click here.

Map Showing Location of the Cape of Good Hope

Multimedia.pngGood video Introduction to the geography of Southern Africa

external image Red_apple.jpg Click here for a lesson plan on African Geography and Culture from the California Academy of Sciences.


unless otherwise noted, information compiled using the Oxford Atlas of the World, 2005