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25 Interesting Facts about Africa

25 Interesting Facts about Africa

Photo: Shutterstock

Want to know more about Africa? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Africa that you probably didn’t know before reading this!

To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Africa facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!

1. Rwanda has better gender equality than the USA

Only the Scandinavian countries have higher gender equality than Rwanda. That’s very impressive, considering that Rwanda is listed as #46 least developed countries in the world and the Scandinavian countries in the top of the most developed countries. 

With that said, Rwanda has better gender equality than the USA, Great Britain, France and basically every developed country except the Nordics. 

Rwanda gender equality

Photo: Sarine Arslanian /

2. It’s the second largest continent on Earth

With an area of 30,370,000 km2 (11,730,000 square miles) Africa comes in as the second largest continent on the planet. Only Asia is larger by total land area. 

Africa is, however, the continent with the highest number of sovereign states, 54 countries in total. 

3. Hippos kill more Africans than Lions, Great White Sharks and Crocodiles combined

Lions are always portrayed as mighty and dangerous animals. So are crocodiles and the Great White Shark as well, but in reality, more deaths occur from Hippo encounters than these 3 predators combined. 


Photo: Shutterstock

4. The average age on the continent is less than 20 years

According to the U.N, the median age of all Africans is 19,5 years, that’s half compared with Europe’s median age of 42.9 years.

5. Algeria is the largest African country

At 2,381,741 km2 (919,595 sq mi), Algeria claims the title as the largest African country by size. At second place comes the Democratic Republic of Congo with 2,344,858 km2 (905,355 sq mi). 

Most of Algeria is desert though, and in terms of population, it’s only at 9th place with about 40 million citizens.  

Largest country in Africa

Photo: Shutterstock

6. More than 1000 languages are being spoken here

Conservative experts estimate that around 1000 African languages are being spoken on a regular basis. However, several other sources, including UNESCO claim that this number is much closer to 2000 languages. 

Before Africa was colonized, there were more than 10 000 independent states and tribes, all with their own unique language. Definitely one of the most fascinating facts about Africa!

7. Africa is home to the Black Mamba and…

There are many feared snakes on the African continent. For example, while visiting one could encounter the King Cobra, the Black Mamba, the Green Mamba, or even worse the puff adder, which accounts for the most human deaths by snakes. 

If you think those were the only snakes to watch out for, then guess again. Africa is also home to the Gabon Viper, Boomslang, West African Carpet Viper or other Cobra species that could kill you with its venom. 

Africa facts

Photo: Shutterstock

8. It’s estimated that Africa’s population will double in 2050

While the population of Western countries is steadily declining, the African countries are rapidly increasing their populations. Experts estimate that in 2050, there will be at least 2 billion people living on the African continent.

9. Women and children walk an average of 3.7 miles a day just to get the water they need to survive

A large portion of Africans suffers from water scarcity and food scarcity. On average, women and children walk 3,7 miles every single day, just to get the water needed to survive. 

The way they carry the heavy buckets of water has become famous worldwide because they carry them on top of their head. 

African women

Photo: Rashad Mammadov /

10. Lagos is the biggest city on the continent

The Nigerian capital has over 1.5 times more citizens than New York, which makes it easy to understand that Lagos is truly a megacity. The government says that the city is home to about 17,5 million people, but other estimates take that number as far as 21 million. 

11. There are 135 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa

It’s a country filled with natural heritage sites and man-made sites. The most famous is obviously the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the only remaining monument from the old seven wonders of the world.

But, Africa has plenty of interesting historical sites such as the cradle of humankind or one of the 200+ pyramids in Sudan, or the Rock church pictured below in Ethiopia. 

Lalibela Church

Oscar Espinosa /

12. China is making a big effort to do business on the continent

More and more Chinese companies establish their presence in Africa. They are now the biggest trading partner with more than $300 USD billion worth of trade annually.

According to Forbes and a report from McKinsey & Company, more than 10.000 companies in Africa are Chinese-owned. It’s also estimated that one million Chinese citizens now reside in a country on the African continent. 

13. Africa is home to the world’s largest desert, Sahara

Sahara covers a massive land area of 9 200 000 km², the size of the Saharan desert is comparable to China and USA!

Sahara Desert

Photo: Shutterstock

14. There are only 9 miles of water separating Spain from Morocco

Technically, Spain is situated on the African continent if you count the Spanish gated territories Ceuta and Melilla. But if you measure the actual distance that separates Africa and Europe, it’s just 9 miles of water in the strait of Gibraltar. 

There have been plans discussing whether an underwater railway between the two continents should be built or not. 

15. Africa also has the world’s longest river, the Nile (4,132 miles)

Going on a Nile River Cruise is a popular thing to do in Egypt, and by doing so, you can visit many historical places from Ancient Egypt.

It is also here that the infamous Nile Crocodile lives, which can grow up to 4 meters in length and weigh up to 550 kilos. 

Nile River

Photo: Shutterstock

More random facts about Africa and its countries

  • 90% of the world’s malaria cases occur here
  • There’s a small country within South Africa’s borders, it’s called Lesotho
  • More than 50% of the world’s French-speaking population lives here on the continent
  • Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet, it’s called Ge’ez
  • The world’s biggest frog lives in Cameroon, it’s known as the Goliath frog
  • About 30% of the Earth’s natural mineral resources can be found here
  • Between 1525 and 1866, 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Americas
  • Niger has the youngest population on average at 14,5 years
  • Angola has more Portuguese speakers than Portugal
  • The Second Congo War claimed over 5.4 million lives
  • Equatorial Guinea is Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country
  • Almost 40% of adults in Africa are illiterate, two third of them are women
  • Some of the African countries are known as the most corrupt countries in the world, such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Eritrea, and Burundi just to mention a few examples.

Lesotho is a small country within the borders of South Africa – Photo: Shutterstock

5 x Fun Facts about Africa

  • There’s a beer brewed from bananas
  • You can visit a bar inside a 6,000-year-old baobab tree
  • There’s a pink lake in Senegal
  • Nollywood in Nigeria produces about 50 movies each week
  • There’s a beetle that rolls around dung balls, it’s known as the dung beetle
The dung beetle

Photo: Shutterstock

5 x Africa Facts for Kids

  • The first humans originated here
  • More than 100 million people speak Swahili
  • It’s home to the largest land animal – The African Elephant
  • Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain at 5 895 meters
  • The University of Timbuktu in Mali is one of the oldest universities in the world. It was founded in the 12th century

kenya elephant

General Facts about Africa

Below are some general info such as total population, land area, biggest lake, highest mountain and other general facts about Africa that might be interesting to know.

  • Total Population: 1,415,045,928
  • Number of Countries: 54
  • Highest Mountain: Kilimanjaro (5 895 meters)
  • Land area: 30,370,000 km2 (11,730,000 square miles)
  • Largest lake: Lake Victoria
  • Tallest waterfall: Tugela Falls
  • Most spoken languages: Arabic, English, Swahili, Amharic, Yoruba, Oromo, Hausa, Igbo and Zulu
  • Religion: Islam and Christianity are the two most common religions
  • Time zones: From UTC-1 to UTC+4

The Biggest Countries in Africa

If you’re looking for facts about Africa, it might also be interesting to know which are the biggest countries. Here’s a list of the top 10 biggest African countries ranked after population.

Nigeria Ethiopia
Egypt The Democratic Republic of Congo
South Africa Tanzania
Kenya Sudan
Algeria Uganda

Map of Africa

Africa Map

Photo: Shutterstock

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How many of these Africa Facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!

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