Africa is the world's second largest continent and has more than 54 countries. More than three times the size of the United States, it is home to enormous mountains, tropical rain forests, grassy savannas, three large deserts, and the world's longest river.
Africa also has many islands off the mainland. Most of the continent is warm because it is located along the Equator. There are thousands of miles of coastline but few natural harbors.
Almost the whole region lies on a series of plateaus. A plateau is a raised area of level land.
Other Major Landforms:
The Great Rift Valley of East Africa is a huge crack in the earth's surface. The result is a stunning landscape stretching along the eastern side of the continent. Many lakes have formed in the Great Rift Valley. Lake Tanganyika formed in a rift and is almost a mile deep. Lake Victoria, on the border of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya, is the world's second largest freshwater lake. Victoria is a source of the Nile, the world's longest river.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro is a volcano that is no longer active. Kilimanjaro is located near the equator, but is so high that its peak is always covered with snow.
Most of the land near the equator is a lush, tropical rain forest. The climate is hot and wet; an average of more than 70 inches of rain falls annually. The rain forest is home to two-thirds of all of the living animal and plant species on earth.
The Sahara Desert is located in northern Africa and the Kalahari Desert is in the south. The climate in these regions is hot and dry. The climate of many of the regions in Africa make it difficult for Africans to make a living.
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