Map Exercise: Africa


The Orange River begins on the eastern edge of the country Lesotho (enclosed within the country of South Africa), flows west through the country and out into the country of South Africa. After flowing west and a little north through the Kalahari Desert, it reaches the southern border of Namibia. It follows this border west until it reaches the city Oranjemund and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Congo River begins near the city of Kisangani, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the merging of many smaller rivers and the Stanley Falls. The river flows west, circling north and then swinging back to the south until it reaches the south-eastern border of Congo and the south-western border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The river continues south until it again moves entirely into the Democratic republic of the Congo for a short while until it reaches the northern edge of Angola and defines this border as it continues west until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
The Niger River begins just 120 miles from the Atlantic ocean near Mount Bintimani (6381 feet) in Sierra Leone. From there, it flows north-east away from the coast and into Guinea. The river traverses Guinea and into Mali where it continues its north-east route until it turns south-east around the higher grounds in Burkina Faso and then south into Niger. From here, it travels south-east and defines the northern border of Benin and then flows into Nigeria and turns south and finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea after all that way! (2,600 miles, and the third longest river in Africa)
The Wabe Shebele begins near the northern section of the Rift Valley and Mount Batu in Ethiopia. From here it flows down through the highlands until it reaches the south-eastern border of Ethiopia and then into Somalia where it runs along the coast for quite a way until it merges with the Jubba River and then out into the Indian Ocean.
Oued-ed Daoura flows south from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and then into Algeria and dissipates into the Saharan Desert.


The Ahmar Range is located in eastern Ethiopia, and follows the south-eastern edge of the northern portion of the Rift Valley. The eastern edge of the range touches the border between Ethiopia and Somalia. The western edge merges into a larger, but unnamed (in our atlas) collection of mountain ranges.
The Great Karoo range lies east and west along the southern tip of Africa in the Country of South Africa.
The Adamaoua Range follows the border between southern Nigeria and northern Cameroon.

Site and Situation

Africa comprises of 56 different countries and is the second largest and second most populous continent (after Asia). Northern Africa is dominated by the Saharan Desert. The northern edge is defined by the Mediterranean Sea where the vast majority of the population of northern Africa lives. The Atlas Mountains create an especially habitable area on the northern coast. At about the 12th southern parallel, the landscape dramatically changes as the winds from the southern oceans bring moisture to the land. The land grows increasingly greener as you travel south until you reach the African jungles near the equator and the Congo River Basin. From here, the landscape turns drier again as you travel south into woods and grassy plains. Once you reach about the 20th southern parallel, the Kalahari Desert covers much of the western portion of the southern area of Africa until you reach the Drakenberg range along the eastern coast. To the east of Africa is the large island of Madagascar (former home of the dodo bird) with the Mozambique Channel lying between it and the mainland of Africa.

Africa separates the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The only way to sail a boat from Europe to India before the construction of the Suex Canal was around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa (or through the strait of Magellan / Cape Horn of South America, but then you also had to sail across the Pacific). To the north of Africa is the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Africa is connected to the Middle East and Asia by a small piece of land at the north-eastern corner of Egypt. The Red Sea is a long, thin inlet of the Indian Ocean that separates the Arabian Peninsula from north-eastern Africa.


Name and explain one thing that most surprises you the most about the continent of Africa.

I had forgotten how big Africa really was compared to other continents. Also, I didn't realize how long the Rift Valley extended! All the way past Lake Victoria and to Lake Tanganyika.

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