As a whole, Africa is the warmest continent. Despite
Africa having a symmetrical position around the equator
(between 35 degrees north and 35 degrees south), there are
major differences in the climate zones. Farther north and
south there are zones of Mediterranean climate. Africa's
hottest regions are in southern Sahara with maximum
temperatures in many places of more than 50 degrees and
annual average temperatures of 28 degrees. Due to radiation
in clear desert air, there are large variations in day and
South of the equator, the climate zones are more
complicated due to topographic conditions and greater
influence from the sea. In central areas there is savanna
climate. Desert climate prevails in a narrow strip along the
west coast of Namibia, while large stretches of east coast
have tropical climates.
More than 60 percent of Africa is in the tropical climate
zone. At the equator there is a rain belt between the
subtropical high pressure belts. The most precipitous areas
are north and east of the Gulf of Guinea and on the east
coast of Madagascar, with local up to 10,000 millimeters of
annual rainfall. In the Sahara, the lowest measured rainfall
is 0–50 millimeters.
One third of mainland Africa receives more than 50
percent of rainfall in a three-month rainy season. Drying
time is only lacking around the equator and in some coastal
areas. There are two annual rainy seasons on the savannas.
On the African highlands and in the Sahel (the transitional
zone between the desert of the Southern Sahara and the
savannah), rain may be absent in whole or in part, leading
to mass deaths among animals and famine in populations.
Usually, there is little wind over Africa. However, low
pressure off the Mediterranean coast can cause strong desert
winds. A dusty stream of air, the Passat, blows off the
northeastern edge of the Sahara and occasionally reaches all
the way to the Caribbean. Surface water drives away from the
west coasts on both sides of the equator and provides a flow
of cool deep water that can give fog or mist.
Africa's vegetation follows the natural conditions and
vary from native forests as in eastern Congo to savannah as
in Kenya and nearly barren sand desert like the Sahara. High
mountains have a special alpine vegetation. The boundaries
of the Flora zones follow an axis from east to west.
Plant geography is closely associated with northern
Africa with the driest areas of southern Europe. In the
northwestern part of North Africa, there are evergreen
deciduous forests with, among others, aleppo fur, cork oak
and olive trees. Otherwise, North Africa is almost without
forest and is characterized by a vegetation of evergreen
shrubs. Forests are being planted in several places to stop
In North West Africa there are also salt steppes with
halophilic (salt-consuming) herbs and espartograss. In the
vast desert areas south of the Atlas Mountains and Tunisia,
Libya and Egypt there is scarce or virtually no vegetation.
In the dried-up river beds and oases, where groundwater
reaches the soil surface, grains, fruits and dates can be
grown as well as some vegetables in the winter.
South of the desert belt, steppe vegetation turns into
savanna, which is characteristic of South Sudan, Kenya and
Tanzania. The savannas vary from grass-savanna to actual
savannahs with the growth of thorn bushes, monkey bread
trees and scattered acacias, which, especially along rivers,
form a light forest with an undergrowth of bush growths.
In the lowland areas along the Gulf of Guinea and in
Central Africa, there are tropical rainforests with tall
trees and creeping plants. Since about 1900, woods have been
harvested from noble woods, and the rainforest had a much
wider distribution in the past than today. In many places,
the local people's sweat consumption has also made great
forays into the forest.
In the southern Congo, the rainforest is replaced by
wooded savanna. During the dry season, savannas are exposed
to fire; Smoke clouds from burning areas are characteristic.
On high mountains in East Africa there is a very
distinctive vegetation of, among other things, Lobelia
The flora around Cape Town in South Africa is unlike the
rest of Africa, with many species not found anywhere else in
the world, and is considered a separate flora kingdom. Also
in Madagascar there are many endemic plant species; here are
large areas characterized by logging.
Animal Geographical divided Africa into two regions: the
pale Arctic region north of the Sahara and the Ethiopian
region south of the Sahara. Sometimes excreted Madagascar
and the Indian Ocean as a separate region. See
Countryaah for more countries in these regions.
The fauna of North Africa is similar to that of southern
Europe. Mammals such as elephant, giraffe and leopard were
exterminated in North Africa during Roman times. The
dromedary, which is typical of North Africa today, was
introduced from Southwest Asia. Other things such as berry
monkey, jackal and desert reef are characteristic mammals.
Scorpions are common invertebrates in the desert.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the richest wildlife on the
savannah, with numerous grazing animals such as antelopes,
buffalo, rhino, giraffe and elephant. There are large herds
of wildebeest and zebras. Large predators on the savannah
are lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. There are hippos and
crocodiles in rivers.
In the rainforest there are many monkeys; Among the
largest are gorilla and chimpanzee. Also in the rain forest
are big game like elephant, buffalo and okapi. In the
wetlands, birds such as herons, ibises, pelicans and
flamingos live. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most important
wintering area for many of our migratory birds.
The reptiles are represented with chameleons and many
snake species, such as the dreaded poison snakes mamba and
cobra, as well as numerous lizard species. Africa's largest
snake is the rock python up to seven meters long, and the
largest lizard is the nilvaran, which can grow two meters
Africa has large incidences of invertebrates, among these
malaria mosquitoes and tsetse fly that are disease-bearing,
and has a major impact on both humans and livestock. In
tropical forests, the big goliath beetle and the savannahs
are grasshoppers and termites.
Many countries are working to preserve the original fauna
in national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation