Africa | East, West, South, North, Relief And Drainage

Africa’s diverse topography can be categorized into distinctive relief regions, each contributing to the continent’s geographical tapestry. These regions play a crucial role in shaping Africa’s landscapes and influencing various aspects of life, from climate to economic activities.   East Africa: This region boasts an impressive array of mountains, with notable peaks such as Kilimanjaro, […]

Africa’s diverse topography can be categorized into distinctive relief regions, each contributing to the continent’s geographical tapestry. These regions play a crucial role in shaping Africa’s landscapes and influencing various aspects of life, from climate to economic activities.

 

  1. East Africa:

This region boasts an impressive array of mountains, with notable peaks such as Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, as well as Cameroun, Ethiopia, Elgon, Ruwenzori, and Kenya mountains.

 

  1. West Africa:

Characterized by highlands, including the Fouta Djallon, Guinea, Adamawa highland, and the Jos plateau, West Africa’s topography contributes to the region’s unique environmental features.

 

  1. South Africa:

Dominated by plateaux, the southern part of the continent features a continuous escarpment, reaching its zenith in the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.

 

  1. North Africa:

Marked by ranges such as Ahagger, Tasilli, Tibesti, Darfur, and the iconic Atlas Mountain, North Africa showcases a variety of elevated landscapes.

 

Beyond these relief regions, Africa also exhibits areas of lowland, primarily along its coasts and the Rift Valley in East Africa.

 

The East Africa Rift Valley System:

Location:

Stretching approximately 5000-6000 km from the Red Sea to the Zambezi River in Zambia, it traverses Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi.

 

Origin/Formation:

Formed through block faulting, the subsidence of land between parallel faults resulted from tension forces.

 

Nature of the Floor/Depth:

The rift valley features a narrow flat floor with lakes, some of which fall below sea level. Steep walls enclose the valley, and it hosts significant lakes like Tanganyika (the world’s second-deepest lake) and Lake Malawi.

 

Importance:

The East Africa Rift Valley is vital for tourism, fishing, salt mining, and agriculture due to its rich and diverse landscapes.

 

Drainage in Africa:

Africa boasts a multitude of rivers, with four standing out due to their length and volume:

  1. Nile River (6,600 km) – the longest
  2. Niger River (4,200 km)
  3. Zambezi River (2,400 km)
  4. Orange River (1,600 km)

 

Lakes in Africa:

Natural Lakes:

Lake Victoria, Chad, Tanganyika, Malawi, and Turkana.

 

Artificial/Man-Made Lakes:

Including Lake Nassir on the Nile, Lake Volta on the Volta River, Lake Kanji on the Niger, and Lake Kariba (the largest man-made lake in Africa) on the Zambezi River.

This geographical diversity not only defines Africa’s physical characteristics but also plays a crucial role in shaping the livelihoods and economies of its nations.

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