Physical Characteristics of Sub-Saharan Africa

Physical Characteristics of Sub-Saharan Africa

Physical Characteristics of Sub-Saharan Africa Francisci WG.4 Climate The equator runs through the middle of Africa through the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Climates found north of the equator are similar to the climates found south of the equator. Climate

The climates include: Tropical Wet (Rainforest): Area located in or near equator; Rainforest soil is not fertile. Tropical Wet & Dry: Savannas found on the outskirts of the rainforest; Africas national parks found here. Semi-Arid Climate (Steppe): grassland area north and south of the savanna; Sahel is shrinking. Arid Climate (Desert): extreme north and south of the continent;

Namib Desert, Kalahari Desert and Sahara Desert (growing larger). Growth of Deserts Drought, climate change, over farming and over grazing are causing Africas deserts to get larger. The Sahel (grassland region) is getting smaller due to desertification - type of land degradation in which a

relatively dry land region becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife. Landforms Sub-Saharan Africa is a series of plateaus: a flat, elevated landform that rises sharply above the surrounding area on at least one side. Plateaus cover most of the African continent. Landforms

Great Rift Valley: series of mountains and valleys in East Africa (rich in minerals and metals). Escarpments: steep slopes or long cliffs separating two areas of differing elevation. Cataracts: Large waterfall or where the flow of water changes dramatically. Bodies of Water

Several lakes are found along the Great Rift Valley: Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria (main source of the Nile River). Because of cliffs and waterfalls, the rivers cannot be used for transportation or trade. The Zambezi River is useful for hydroelectric power: the renewable energy contained

in flowing water creates electricity. The Zambezi River is also the site of a huge waterfall called Victoria Falls. Landlocked Countries The interior countries of Africa are landlocked. They have no coastline.

These countries are at a disadvantage for trading with other regions of the world. Natural Resources Africa is rich in mineral resources, including gold, copper, petroleum and diamonds. Soils of the rainforest

areas are not fertile. Crops can be grown on rain forest soil for only a few years because of infertility. Slash-and-burn agriculture is used in these areas. Africas Native Animals Antelope, buffalo, giraffe, zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, leopards, lion,

elephants, ostriches, crocodiles, hippopotamus, flamingos, pelicans, storks, chimpanzees, and monkeys. Poaching and destruction of habitats are threatening wildlife. Africas Native Plant Life Oil palm, ebony, mahogany trees,

acacias, mangrove trees.

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