Facts about Africa

Nile River entering Southern Sudan from Uganda - Gallo Images - Mike D Kock/Riser/Getty Images


Find facts about Africa below including basic geography facts, fun facts, trivia and Africa travel facts. Also see individual African country facts.


Africa Geography Facts

  • Number of Countries in Africa – 54 and a couple of disputed territories (Western Sahara and Somaliland). South Sudan is Africa’s newest country, officially born on July 9, 2011. 
  • Tallest mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania: 19,340 feet / 5895 meters. See what the climb is like in pictures. 
  • Lowest point in Africa – Lake Assal in Djibouti which lies at 515 feet (155m) below sea level. 
  • Largest desert in Africa is – The Sahara Desert which spans almost 3.5 million square miles (9,000,000 square kilometers). It stretches across North Africa and makes up a large part of a dozen countries. 
  • Longest river in Africa – The Nile which is also the longest river in the world. It runs fromUganda all the way to Egypt for 4,132 miles (6650 km). 
  • Largest lake in Africa – Lake Victoria in East Africa, bordering Uganda, Kenya andTanzania. The Lake is the second largest in the world, at 26,560 square miles (68,800 square kilometres). It is the main source of the Nile River. 
  • Largest island in Africa – Madagascar off the East coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean is the largest island in Africa and the 4th largest island in the world. Madagascar is just over 1000 miles (1580 km) long and 350 miles (570 km) wide. 
  • Largest waterfall in Africa – The Victoria Falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. TheVictoria Falls are just over 1 mile wide (1.7 km) and 355 feet (108 m) high. During the wet season over 500 million liters (19 million cubic feet) of water plummets over the edge into theZambezi River. The spray can be seen from over 30 miles away. 
  • The Equator – In Africa, the equator runs along for almost 2500 miles, passing through 6 countries: Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Kenya and Somalia. 



Facts About Africa’s Population

  • Most populated country in Africa – Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa with an estimated population of 125 – 145 million people. (Population statistics are politically loaded and that’s why these numbers vary so much). Egypt is second with over 76 million people
  • Least populated country – The Seychelles has the lowest population of any country in Africa with around 80,000 people. But Namibia is the least densely populated country in Africa. 
  • Most populated city in Africa – Cairo in Egypt is Africa’s most populated city with an estimated 17 million residents living in the metropolitan area. 
  • Least populated capital city in Africa – Maseru, the capital of the Kingdom of Lesotho has a population of around 14,000. 
  • Number of Ethnic Groups (tribes) in Africa – Difficult to estimate but there are at least 3,000 distinct ethnic groups in Africa. A large country like Nigeria has more than 370recognized tribes. 
  • Number of Languages Spoken in Africa – There are over 2000 languages spoken in Africa. Arabic (in various dialects) has the highest number of speakers with over 170 million speakers, mostly living in North Africa and the Horn of Africa. 
  • Africa’s Capital Cities – There are 54 official African capital cities. See list of Africa’s capital cities.



Africa Travel Facts

  • Most Visited Country in Africa – Egypt is the most popular tourist destination in Africa. In 2007, Egypt attracted around 10 million visitors. The Pyramids have been a prime tourist attraction for the past 2000 years. South Africa came a close second with 9 million visitors in 2007 (based on figures from UNWTO). 
  • Most Visited East African Countries – Kenya and Tanzania are the most popular East African countries for visitors. However, in 2008 Kenya’s tourist numbers declined drastically due to political instability. Both countries tend to attract visitors interested in combing a safari with some beach time. 
  • Most Visited Country in Southern Africa – South Africa is by far the most popular country in the region. Visitors are attracted to its cities, beaches, wildlife parks as well as niche tourism like bird watching and medical tourism. Mozambique is the fastest emerging tourist destination in the region. 
  • Most Visited Countries in West Africa – The Gambia and Senegal attract the most tourists in this region of Africa (which along with Central Africa draws the least amount of tourists on the continent). Both The Gambia and Senegal are popular beach destinations for Europeans fleeing the cold winter weather. 
  • Most Visited Countries in North Africa – Egypt is the most popular tourist destination inNorth Africa, but Morocco has seen the largest growth in its tourism industry (14% in 2007 according to the UNTWO). Tunisia is also extremely popular, particularly with Europeans. 

Fun Africa Travel Facts

Over the years running this site, I’ve compiled some fun Africa travel related facts. Here’s a sample ….



  • When you visit Eritrea’s capital Asmara, you can sip a perfect macchiato in an outdoor cafe and enjoy some lovely 1930’s, Italian architecture. 
  • Lake Malawi is the cheapest place in the world to get your open-water diving certification; enjoy more than 500 varieties of tropical fish while you’re learning. 
  • The original Star Wars movie sets in the deserts of Tunisia (a.k.a. planet Tatooine) are very well preserved and you can even stay in Luke Skywalker’s home. 
  • Sudan has more Pyramids than Egypt. The 223 pyramids are smaller and steeper than their Egyptian counter parts, but the Nubians were obviously very busy people around 4 BC – 3 AD.

Written by PH

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