Top 50 Most Interesting Facts About Africa You Should Know

Top 50 Most Interesting Facts About Africa

Africa is a distinctively unique continent among all seven continents of the world. Africa has a very diverse culture, perhaps the most diverse continent in the world. Africa is rich in cultural heritage and diversity, natural resources with over 60% of the world’s total mineral reserves and ranks first in the number of world reserves of bauxite, cobalt, industrial diamond, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals (PGM), vermiculite, and zirconium, and lastly breathtaking tourist attractions. Although, with all these amazing historical facts about Africa, not much positive is known about the continent and that is why The African Dream bring to you the Top 50 Most Interesting Facts About Africa.

Here are the Top 50 Most Interesting Facts About Africa you should know:

  1. Africa is the second largest continent in the world covering 11.7 million square miles (30.3 million sq. km) accounting for 20% of the world’s land area.
  2. Around 2,000 different languages are spoken in Africa and each of them has different dialects.
  3. The world’s longest river – the Nile – and the world’s largest desert – the Sahara desert — can be found in Africa.
  4. Algeria is the biggest country in Africa by land area of 2,381,741 km²
  5. The Danakil Depression, in the northeastern corner of Ethiopia, holds the record of being the hottest place on earth, with recorded temperatures of 125 degrees. It’s sometimes called “the gateway to Hell.” The lava lake in the Erta Ale volcano is one of only 4 living lava lakes in the world.
  6. The largest waterfall in Africa is the Victoria Falls traditionally known as Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning “the smoke that thunders”. It is located on the Zimbabwe and Zambia border. It has a height of 355 feet and the width of the waterfall runs almost a mile.
  7. Africa is home to the only remaining original member of the 7 Wonders of the World.
  8. Africa has the world’s largest combination of density, population and variety of free-roaming wild animals.
  9. Africa has the largest collection of carnivore animals in the world.
  10. Africa is the only continent in the world that is home to the Big 7 which includes the: lion, leopard, crocodile, elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and the lowland gorilla.
  11. The Fish River Canyon located in Namibia stretches 100 miles (160 km) in length and reaches a width of 16.7 miles (27 km) wide is Africa’s largest canyon.
  12. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. It has a height of 19,340 feet (5,895 m), and it is one of the largest stratovolcanoes in the world.
  13. Ngorongoro Crater, located in Africa, is the world’s largest unbroken caldera in the world. It is often referred to as “Africa’s Garden of Eden,” and affectionately described as a fishbowl of wildlife. The crater is home to over 30,000 animals including the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and hippopotamus of the Big 7.
  14. The Okavango Delta located in Botswana, Southern Africa, is the largest inland delta that has not been ravished by war or poaching.
  15. The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world and the third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic. The desert stretches 2,983 miles (4,800 km) from east to west and 1,118 miles (1,800 km) from north to south. It covers an area of 3,552,140 square miles (9,200,000 sq. km). The Sahara Desert is bigger than the whole of the United States of America.
  16. Angola has more Portuguese speakers than Portugal.
  17. More than 50% of the world’s French-speaking population lives here on the continent.
  18. Lake Malawi, located in Malawi is home to the largest number of fish species in the world. There are around 500 different types of fish, more species than in any other lake in the world.
  19. Africa is home to the largest number of windmills in the world. South Africa has the highest number of windmills in the world, 280,000 windmills.
  20. Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt. Even though Egypt is popular and known for its pyramids, Sudan has more (223 pyramids) compared to Egypt (111). The pyramids in Sudan are known as the Meroe Pyramids; which once made up the capital of the Kingdom of Kush, ruled by the Nubian kings.
  21. Africa has the largest elephants in the world. Elephants in Africa are the largest living land animals; they are so big that they can weigh over six tonnes and be up to seven metres long in size.
  22. As the richest continent in the world by natural mineral wealth, Africa is home to some great resources sought after by the Western world. Half of the gold ever mined on Earth has come from Africa, and more specifically, from South Africa.
  23. Africa is home to the world’s largest frog species resides named the Goliath Frog and can grow up to a foot long in size and can weigh up to 8lb (heavier than the average human newborn baby).
  24. Africa is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, The University of Timbuktu. It was built in the 12th Century in 982 CE, in Mali and was once the centre of all intelligentsia.
  25. Separating Africa and Europe, the distance between Africa and Europe at the closest point is less than 9 miles. This can be found at the Strait of Gibraltar between Morocco and Spain.
  26. Nicknamed “The Land of Twins”, Nigeria has the highest number of twins born in the world. A town in Nigeria called Igbo-Ora has an average of 50 sets of twins in every 1,000 births.
  27. Africa was once made up of 10,000 different states and autonomous groups before colonial rule, each with their own distinct languages and unique customs.
  28. Over a quarter of all of the different languages that are spoken in the world are spoken in Africa making the continent the world’s most diverse continent. There are over 2,000 different recognised languages spoken in Africa, around 200 of these are spoken in Northern Africa including Central Sahara and are known as Afro-Asiatic languages, 140 are spoken in Central and Eastern Africa known as Nilo-Saharan languages and more than 1,000 are Niger-Saharan languages.
  29. Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa and has an estimated population of 216,827,570 as of Sunday, August 7, 2022. Seychelles is the least populated country in Africa with a population of around 80,000 people.
  30.  If we go by the records of the fossil remains Africa seems to be the first continent where humans were found. The fossil remains have suggested that humans inhabited the African continent around 7 million years ago.
  31. Madagascar is the largest island in African and it lies just off the east coast of Africa. It has a length of around 1,000 miles with a width of around 350 miles. This island is also the 4th largest island in the world.
  32. Africa has the most flourishing wildlife in the entire world. It also houses some of the fastest animals on lands such as the cheetah, wildebeest, gazelle and lion.
  33. Africa produces at least 50% of the diamonds and gold in the whole world.
  34. The first organised fish farming took place in Africa some 90,000 years ago in Katanda, a region in northeastern Zaire (now Congo).
  35. Mining started in Africa first before anywhere in the world. Africans were the first to engage in mining 43,000 years ago. In 1964 a hematite mine was found in Swaziland at Bomvu Ridge in the Ngwenya mountain range and over 200,000 artefacts were unearthed including thousands of ancient stone-made mining tools.
  36. Basic Arithmetic started in Africa some 25,000 years ago.
  37. Agriculture basically started in Africa. Africans cultivated crops 12,000 years ago, the first known advances in agriculture.
  38. One of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is known to be the most extraordinary building in human history and in the history of construction. The height of the Great Pyramid of Giza stood at a staggering 481 feet tall – the equivalent of a 40-storey building. It was made of 2.3 million blocks of limestone and granite, some weighing 100 tons.
  39. The world’s first-ever planned city/urban city was built in Africa by the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Egyptian city of Kahun was the world’s first planned city.
  40. Africans were one of the first people to start developing a writing script. In around 300 BC, the Sudanese invented a writing script that had twenty-three letters of which four were vowels and there was also a word divider.
  41. Mansa Musa, an African from the Kingdom of Mali is the wealthiest man to ever lived. His net worth is estimated to be around $400 billion. On a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 AD, Mansa Musa brought so much money with him that his visit resulted in the collapse of gold prices in Egypt and Arabia. It took twelve years for the economies of the region to normalise.
  42. The ancient Malian city of Timbuktu had a 14th-century population of 115,000 – 5 times larger than mediaeval London.
  43. Ngazargamu, the capital city of Kanem-Borno (an empire once existed in areas which are now part of Niger, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad and Nigeria), became one of the largest cities in the seventeenth-century world.
  44. In 1851, the Nigerian city of Kano produced an estimated 10 million pairs of sandals and 5 million hides each year for export – the highest in the world at that time.
  45. Ethiopia minted its own coins over 1,500 years ago, earlier before the Romans.
  46. In Southern Africa, there are at least 600 stone-built ruins in the regions of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. These ruins are called Mazimbabwe in Shona, the Bantu language of the builders, and mean great revered house and “signifies court”.
  47. 1,500 years ago, East Africans were making steel for construction purposes.
  48. Before modern glass windows, glass windows existed in mediaeval Sudan. Some years ago, archaeologists found evidence of window glass in the Sudanese cities of Old Dongola and Hambukol.
  49. Sudan in the ninth century AD had housing complexes with bath rooms and piped water.
  50. Africa is CONTINENT and NOT a COUNTRY!

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: WhatsApp: +23276211583