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13 Surprising Facts About Africa You Should Know

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There are many facts about Africa that, despite what many people may believe, you probably do not know. It’s a place filled with astonishing and mind-blowing facts that will surprise you. 

Africa is incredibly diverse, from its unmatched biodiversity, which includes a wide variety of wildlife found nowhere else on Earth, to its varied landscapes, which range from vast deserts to lush rainforests.

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As a result, this article will take you on a discovery journey as we uncover facts about Africa.

13 Surprising Facts About Africa

Below are facts about Africa you probably didn’t know, starting from the bottom to the top. 

Favorite snack from Northern Africa.
Favorite snack from Northern Africa. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Africa’s Continent has 5 Sub-sections

As the second largest continent in the world, Africa occupies 30 million square kilometers of land across the globe.  This vast land, with 54 countries, is divided into subsections– North, South, Central, East, and West Africa. This makes it easy for geography education.

There are four oceans that border Africa: the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. As a result of the Equator, almost half of the continent is divided.

People Also Read: 10 Incredible African Tribal Traditions

Arabic is the Most Widely Spoken language

With 54 countries with diverse languages and dialects, Arabic is the most widely spoken language in Africa. About 170 million Africans speak Arabic, while 130 million speak English. 

Following these two are French, Berber, Hausa, Swahili, and Portuguese. The fact is Africa is the source of about 2,000 languages, according to UNESCO.

Africa is the Hottest Continent

Among the seven continents across the world, Africa has the hottest climate. With the Sahara desert recording 40°C or above, the land of Africa, about 60%, is mostly dry. 

What’s more, Africa has recorded the coldest temperature—23.9 °C—in Ifrane, Morocco.

Nigeria Recorded the Highest Number of Twins

There are more twins in Nigeria than any other country in Africa.
Twin ladies. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0.

You’ll indeed find twins born across the world, including triplets, quadruplets, and quintuplets. 

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, records the highest number of twins born worldwide. As such, the country was nicknamed “The Land of Twins” by the BBC.

Statistics show twin birth rates in West Africa are four times higher than anywhere else. However, a small village in Nigeria—Igbo-Ora—holds the highest record of an average of 50 sets of twins in every 1,000 births.

The Sahara Desert is Bigger than all the States in USA Combined

The vast land in Africa is located in the Sahara Desert, which is bigger than the entire USA. As the largest desert in the world, the Sahara Desert covers about 9.4 million square kilometers.

The Sahara is expanding in the southern regions at a rate of half a mile per month, which equates to six miles per year; another interesting fact about it. 

Africa Hosts One of the Oldest Universities

Although the illiteracy rate in Africa is about 40%, the University of Timbuktu, Mali, is one of the oldest universities in the world. 

It was built in the 12th Century, breeding notable spiritual historians. The University of Timbuktu is, thus, nicknamed “Paris of Medieval Times.”

Africa is Home to Natural Resources

The land of gold, bauxite, diamonds, cobalt, platinum, oil, copper, and agricultural produce, Africa, is home to natural resources. 

Half the gold you’ll see worldwide is mined in Africa, which boasts about 30% of the world’s mineral resources.

The value of gold exports from Ghana alone totaled roughly 1.64 billion dollars as of the second quarter of 2022. Additionally, 40% of the world’s gold, 60% of its cobalt, and 90% of its platinum reserves are in Africa. You can buy your gold jewelry at Amazon for starting from $11.

You’ll also find an abundance of produce like corn, coffee, wheat, and fruits.

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People Also Read: What Do Dreadlocks Symbolize? 10 Explanations

Sudan Hosts More Pyramids Than Egypt

When you hear pyramids, your mind automatically goes to Egypt. But did you know Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt? You’ll find about 223 pyramids in Sudan, located in the Kingdom of Kush which the Nubian kings ruled.

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s Highest Point

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, is a popular destination that many people from all over the world take on as a challenge in Africa. 

As the highest point in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is as high as 19,340 feet above sea level. If you plan to visit, be aware it’s one of the most dangerous climbing expeditions you can ever take. Every year, more than 1,000 people are saved, and 10 people, on average, pass away.  With the right information and preparation like getting your mountain climbing tools, you can surely climb Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Lake Malawi Hosts the Largest Number of Fish Species

Lake Malawi is one of the most beautiful safari and beach destinations in Africa.

It hosts the most significant number of fish species—more than 500— than in any other lake in the world. 

Africa has the Largest Animals

An elephant in the wild. Facts about Africa
An elephant in the wild. Image source: Freepik licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In Africa, you’ll find some of the largest mammals in the world. They include the giraffe, which is the tallest mammal and the fastest mammal; the cheetah, which can run at speeds of up to 113 km/h (70 mph); and the largest land mammal on earth, the African elephant.

Numerous endangered animals, including the White and Black Rhinoceros, can be found in Africa. 

Africa Hosts 1 Million Chinese Citizens

Since the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), China has invested heavily in Africa, but it is now approaching a point that could be characterized as exploitation.

As a result, Africa is home to more Chinese people than any other continent, with over 350,000 living in Angola alone.

It would be simple to accumulate debts that China knows Africa can’t repay. 

Rwanda was the First Country in Africa to Ban Single-Use Plastics

In 2008, Rwanda banned plastic bags, becoming the cleanest country in Africa in 2022.  The ban includes the use, importation, manufacture, and sale of plastic bags. If traveling to Rwanda, don’t carry plastic bags because you’ll be searched, fined, or sent back home.

In 2017, Kenya also outlawed single-use plastic bags, a move that was hailed as ground-breaking. According to the national environmental authority, 80% of the population has complied with the ban. Single-use plastics are no longer allowed in parks and forests, which are protected areas, as of 2020.

In addition, many African countries, including Tanzania, Mali, Cameroon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, South Africa, and Botswana, have strict laws against single-use plastics. 

People Also Read: 10 Interesting African Attires That Represent the Face of Africa

Africa stands as a true testament to our planet’s wonders. With a remarkable source of beautiful views from rivers, lakes, beaches, and wildlife, among others, you’ll be thrilled to explore Africa. Make a date!

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Sedi Djentuh
Sedi Djentuh
Hey, Sedi here, a content writer. She's fascinated by the interplay between people, lifestyle, relationships, tech and communication dedicated to empowering and spreading positive messages about humanity. She's an avid reader and a student of personal weekly workouts. When she's not writing, Sedi is busy advocating for plastic-free earth with her local NGO.


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