Searching for some fun and interesting facts about Africa? Well, look no further, because I’ve put together a super fun list of amazing facts that’ll have you learn all about this wondrous continent!
Africa is a diverse landmass, filled to the brim with wildlife, history, and multiple cultures. The continent boasts 8 of the 11 major biomes and is often thought to be the birthplace of humankind. Although often overlooked and misunderstood, this stunning piece of land is more than its sometimes dismal reputation of poverty, war, and illness.
Here are some captivating little-known facts about the continent of Africa, as well as some general information you may not have heard before!
What Is Africa Famous For?
Africa is arguably most famous for its wildlife. Ask anyone what the best part of an Africa vacation is and they’re bound to say a wildlife safari. It’s also well-known as one of the hottest, and sometimes driest, places on earth.
Another renowned feature of the African continent is, of course, the pyramids of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians left us many amazing mysteries and they paved the way for modern civilization in Africa.
Fun Facts About Africa
1) Africa’s most commonly spoken language is Arabic. English is second.
2) Nearly half of all gold mined has come from Witwatersrand, South Africa.
3) Africa is the most centrally-located continent on the planet. Both the equator and the Greenwich Meridian line cross it.
4) Morocco in Africa and Spain in Europe have less than 9 miles of ocean between them – creating the two continents’ shortest distance.
5) Victoria Falls is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It’s located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
6) You can hear the thunder of Victoria Falls’ water up to 40km away.
7) Nigeria has seen the most twins born in the world. This has earned the country the nickname “The Land of Twins”.
8) Africa has 135 UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered across the continent.
9) Inside the country of South Africa is a smaller, landlocked country called Lesotho.
10) Some houses in Tunisia are made from fish bones. This is because the locals believe fish have supernatural powers and will protect against evil spirits.
11) South African law allows car owners to install flame throwers on their cars to prevent hijacking. Although you won’t see many flame-throwing cars in the country’s streets.
12) 100 million Africans have Facebook accounts.
13) There’s an African beer brewed from bananas. This is widely made in East Africa and goes by various names in different countries.
14) Senegal has a pink lake called Lac Rose. The pink color is caused by a type of bacteria, but the lake is completely safe to swim in.
15) There’s a bar built into a 6000-year-old baobab tree, located in South Africa. You can visit to enjoy a drink all through the year.
Entertaining Facts about South Africa
16) In rural markets in the province of Limpopo, Mopane worms can be found being sold as food. These are high in protein and the locals love them as a smoky snack.
17) In Cape Town, there is a large nuclear power station built on a fault line. The last tremor was felt in 1809 and measured 6.5 on the Richter Scale. Scientists aren’t sure when the next one will happen.
18) Both Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu were influential South Africans who were awarded the Nobel Prize. They also happened to live on the same street at one time.
19) The Western Cape of South Africa is home to the longest wine route in the world. Route 62 spans 850kms and boasts some superb wineries.
20) The author of the well-loved Lord of The Rings books, J.R.R Tolkien was a South African-born author from Bloemfontein, Free State.
21) Johannesburg is also known as ‘The City of Gold’. This is because it was largely established when gold was discovered in the surrounding areas, and it became a mining town.
Fascinating West Africa Facts
22) Ghana is the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa.
23) Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood, is technically bigger than Hollywood.
North Africa Facts
24) The 365-day calendar is believed to have been invented by the Egyptians. This helped them predict the annual Nile flooding.
25) It’s considered rude to decline an offering of meat at meals in Morocco – vegetarians may have a hard time with this.
Facts about East Africa
26) The gemstone Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania. It was discovered in the 1800s by a Masai warrior and today it’s seen as one of the most precious gems in the world.
27) Four of the five fastest land animals can be found in East Africa. These are the lion, the gazelle, the wildebeest, and the cheetah.
28) Men and women across East and Central Africa are often seen wearing brightly patterned cloths called Kanga.
Africa Facts For Kids
29) Africa is home to the largest land animal in the world – the African elephant.
30) It’s also home to the tallest animal in the world – the giraffe.
31) As well as the fastest animal in the world – the cheetah.
32) The Big Five (lion, rhinoceros, elephant, leopard, and Cape buffalo) can be found in many places in Africa.
33) One of the largest nature reserves in the world is found in South Africa – The Kruger National Park.
34) Ethiopia has its own alphabet. It’s the only country in Africa to have its very own.
35) Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt (200+ pyramids). But the largest pyramid is actually found in Mexico!
36) The world’s largest frog lives in Cameroon. It’s named the Goliath Frog and it can grow to be more than 13 inches long.
37) Africa is home to 25% of the world’s bird species. There are over 2500 kinds of birds found throughout its countries.
38) In Rwanda, you can go gorilla tracking. Tourists are taken into the mountains and shown gorillas in their natural habitat. This raises money for the protection of these animals.
39) Currently, there are two female presidents in Africa.
40) The cold currents on South Africa’s west coast make it the ideal home to the African Penguin.
Creepy-crawly Facts About Africa For Kids
41) The Dung Beetle is a beetle that rolls around large balls of dung.
42) Zambia has termite hills that get as large as houses.
Incredible Facts About Africa for Kids
43) The Sahara desert is currently larger than the entire United States. And it continues to grow each year!
44) Africa’s deadliest animal is the hippopotamus. This is because it has caused the most human deaths.
Interesting Facts About Africa
45) In Morocco, instead of the heart being considered a symbol of love, it’s the liver. If someone states “You have conquered my liver” then, it’s a match made in, well, Morocco.
46) Plastic packaging and non-biodegradable polythene bags are 100% banned in Rwanda. They’re not allowed in the country at all and all luggage is searched at the airport to make sure of this.
47) There are more than 3000 recognized ethnic tribes in Africa. Some of these are well-known, like the Zulu. While others keep to themselves and avoid contact with the modern world completely.
48) The Kalenjins are a Kenyan tribe, and from them, we have seen many of the world’s fastest runners. These include Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto.
49) French is spoken by more people in Africa than in France. And Portuguese is spoken by a larger number of people in Africa than in Portugal.
50) Luanda, Angola is often referred to as the ‘Paris of Africa’. This comes from the city’s sophisticated atmosphere.
51) In fact, Miss Universe 2011 was Leila Lopes, an Angolan beauty queen.
52) All selling of second-hand underwear in Ghana was banned in 2010, and Zimbabwe followed suit in 2012.
53) The only African countries that weren’t colonized by Europeans were Ethiopia and Liberia.
54) The movie Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, had many of its most dramatic scenes shot in Maputo, Mozambique.
55) Mauritius was once home to the dodo – an extinct bird that inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
56) There are more people with internet connection in New York than there are in the whole of Africa.
57) Nearly 40% of the African population is illiterate. Women make up two-thirds of this statistic.
58) The Second Congo War was the second-deadliest war in history (the first being World War 2).
59) 90% of all platinum metals are mined Africa, and over 40% of the world’s gold comes from here. The continent is rich in natural resources, and this is how many countries make their money.
60) South Africa has more than 200,000 windmills. Which is much more than the 10,000 recorded in the Netherlands, although the Dutch windmills are more popular.
61) The CAT Scan was first done in South Africa, as was the very first heart transplant.
62) Africa’s deforestation rates are double those of the rest of the world.
63) 18 million slaves were captured from Africa and taken overseas in the 7th – 20th century.
64) During the 16th to 19th centuries, Europeans were enslaved by Barbary pirates and sold to Northern Africans. This was known as the Barbary Slave Trade.
65) The famous singer Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, a group of islands just off the coast of Tanzania.
66) Anyone living in Egypt that has a social media following of more than 5000 will be subject to monitoring by the government. This is to stop the spreading of fake news.
67) Despotic Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, had a slightly longer official title. It was: “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.
68) Moroccans consider white to be the color of mourning. A widow will wear all white for 40 days after her husband passes away.
69) Star Wars fans can visit and stay at some of the movies’ set in Southern Tunisia.
70) Namibia is made up of a lot of desert land, and the Sossusvlei Sand Dunes rank in the top for the highest in the world. Sandboarding is a lot of fun in this country!
71) Each year, in the dry season (around July), a gigantic herd made up of millions of wildebeest migrates from Tanzania to Kenya, crossing the treacherous Mara River along the way. The Great Wildebeest Migration is a magnificent sight, and many come on safari just to see it.
72) Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak, but it’s also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. The dormant volcano is not part of a mountain range and stands on its own.
Not-so-Fun Fact About Africa
73) 90% of the world’s malaria cases originate in Africa. Thankfully this is only a problem in certain areas, and there are plenty of safe African countries to visit.
Quick Africa Trivia
74) Africa is a vast continent, with 54 countries. Although some confuse the entire continent with being a single country.
75) It’s the second-largest continent in the world. The largest being Asia, of course.
76) It’s home to over 1 billion people – half of which are younger than 25.
77) More than 1500 languages are spoken across the continent.
78) The longest river in the world, the Nile, is located in Egypt, Africa.
79) The world’s largest desert (Sahara) is also situated in Africa.
80) Africa is the world’s hottest continent, with a town in Ethiopia seeing average temperatures of 33.9 °C throughout the year.=
81) It’s also the world’s oldest populated continent.
82) Africa holds the name of being the biggest oil producer in the world.
General African Facts & General Information
83) Population: 1,415,045,928.
84) Land area: 30,370,000 km2 (11,730,000 square miles).
85) Most spoken languages: Arabic, English, Swahili, Amharic, Yoruba, Oromo, Hausa, Igbo and Zulu.
86) Religion: Islam and Christianity are the two most common religions.
87) Time zones: From UTC-1 to UTC+4.
88) The highest mountain on the continent is Mount Kilimanjaro.
89) Africa’s largest island is Madagascar.
90) The smallest country in Africa is the Seychelles, which is also an island.
91) The largest African country is Algeria.
92) The continent contains 30% of the planet’s mineral resources.
93) Africa is known to be the origin of civilization and written language.
94) 90% of the soil is not suitable for farming, however, a large portion of the African economy relies heavily on agriculture.
95) Africa emits only 4% of total carbon dioxide emissions, which is impressive for such a large continent.
96) There are a total of 3000 protected areas in Africa. These keep the fauna and flora safe and living naturally in their habitats.
97) One of the oldest universities in the world is found in Timbuktu in Mali.
98) The richest country in Africa is Equatorial Guinea while the poorest is Zimbabwe.
99) Al’Aziziyah in Libya is the hottest place recorded in the world.
Planning a Trip to Africa?
While my site doesn’t have too much content, I do have a few articles that might interest you, and I’d love for you to take a look through a few of my favorite posts below:
- The 12 Safest Countries in Africa
- The 12 Richest Countries in Africa by GDP
- Top 18 Coolest Airbnbs in Cape Town, South Africa
- Resort Hopping in Taba Heights, Egypt
- 101 Beautiful & Inspiring Nature Quotes
- The 78 BEST Road Trip To Inspire Your Next Adventure
- The 90 BEST Mountain Quotes To Inspire Your Next Adventure
- The 40 Best Festival Quotes For Music Lover’s
- 77 Fun & Inspirational BEACH Quotes & Captions
- The 50 Best Explore Quotes To Inspire Your Next Adventure
Summary of Facts on Africa
If these facts didn’t amaze, surprise, and amuse you, we just don’t know what will! It’s clear that the massive, wild continent offers much more than we first thought. Why not take the first step to better understanding the destination with a trip to one of Africa’s music festivals? Or take the traditional route and visit for a family safari vacation. Perhaps you should head out to try out the baobab tree pub, and perhaps try and spot some (or all) of the Big Five.
Damn! Dave, I can’t believe you just made me read through ’99 Facts about Africa,’ and it felt like 10 facts.
Very interesting and well-categorized read. I wish more content like this on Facts about Africa is put out.