Geography

Africa’s vegetation

Written by Oadeye

Africa's Vegetation

Africa, the second largest continent of the Earth, covers about 22 percent of the land area of the world. After Asia, Africa is the second most populated continent of the Earth. African vegetation can be classified according to rainfall and climatic zones. Nigerian, Libya, Algeria, and Angola are the world’s leading producers of petroleum. Although almost one-fourth of Africa’s land mass is covered with forest. The vegetation of Africa adheres to the distribution of heat and humidity very closely.

In the tropical rainforest area, where the average annual rainfall is more than 1270 mm (higher than 50), there is a dense surface of bushes, ferns, and mosses, above which there are several species of tower evergreen, oil palms, and tropical hardwoods trees. Generally, most of this part of Africa is warm and hot.

In the mountain forest area, the average annual rainfall is slightly lower than that of the tropical rain forests, found in high mountains of Cameroon, Angola, East Africa and parts of Ethiopia. Here a ground covered area of bushes gives oil palms, hardwood trees, and the path of primitive conifers. Some popular plants of the African continent are Bermuda grass, Elephant Grass, Manketti tree, Umbrella Thorn Acacia and river bush willow.

The largest desert in Africa is the Sahara. Also with the Sahara, there are two more hot large deserts on the continent: The Namib and the Kalahari. An estimated 25% of Africa’s land is covered with deserts. Other African deserts are the Ogaden desert, the Nubian Desert, the Libyan Desert, the Karoo Desert, the Blue Desert, and the Algerian Desert.

The Sahara Desert

The Sahara is the world’s largest warm weather desert and the third largest desert in the world. Most people believe that the Sahara is the biggest desert in the world, but it is not. The biggest desert in the world is the Antarctic Desert (14.2 million sq. km), followed in second by the Artic Desert (13.9 million sq. km). But the Sahara is pretty big and gets more significant each day.

It is spread over an area of 3.9 million square miles. The area of the Sahara is 9.2 million square kilometers, the desert comprises 8% of the world’s land, and it is unbelievable that we can fit three to four countries like the U.S.A. within the Sahara and will still have a few thousand square miles of desert left over.

The desert is located on the African continent, and the name ‘Sahara’ comes from the Arabic word ṣaḥrāʾ, which means desert.

The Sahara is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Red Sea in the east, the Mediterranean Sea in the north, and Sahel Savanna in the south. The Sahara has borders with Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Morocco, Eritrea, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, and Sudan.

The Sahara used to be fertile farmland. It was once poorly populated, until 6000 BC.

The Sahara is a hot desert, not fit for many living things to live and survive. It is short of water. From January to October, the Sahara has scarce water, making it impossible for the desert plants and animals to get enough wetness for their survival. The reason is said to be due to climate change and direct exposure to sun rays.

The direct fall of the sun’s rays and the earth’s warmth are the two critical factors in making the Sahara have a temperature of about 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.80C).

The Sahara records only about 20% of sand, while the rest of the Sahara consists of rock formations, gravelly plains, and towering mountains.

Most of this land is situated close to the Nile in Egypt, so many miles of the Sahara have been transformed by irrigation. This is unbelievable yet true.

Many plant species grow in the Sahara. A lack of water doesn’t mean Sahara has no plants. It has many species of plants that can hibernate and live without water day after day. Such plants are found in the South Libyan area of the Sahara.

Some may think that deserts with giant dunes are not real. In the south of Libya, the desert has dunes. It is famous for the dunes. In Egypt, the Qattara Depression is Sahara’s deepest point.

Niger is one of the top 10 sources of Uranium in the world.

The Ogaden Desert

The official name of the Somali region is Ogaden. The area of the Ogaden region is spread over 330,000 square kilometers and has more than 7 million people.

The desert is located on the Somali plateau in Southeast Ethiopia. The climate of the Ogaden desert is very hot. Ogaden has as neighbors Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya.

At the beginning of the 13th century, Ogden Somali was part of the Effat Sultanate.

Namibia and the Namib Desert

Namibia, also known as The Republic of Namibia, is a country in southern Africa. The Atlantic Ocean is the western border of it. Namibia is surrounded by Zambia and Angola in the north, Botswana in the east, and South Africa in the south.

Namibia got independence on 21 March 1990. Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, and it is the largest city of Namibia. Namibia is a member of the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth of Nations, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the United Nations (UN). The driest country in Sub-Saharan Africa is Namibia.

English is the official language of Namibia, and other recognized languages are Afrikaans and German. Otjiherero, Khoekhoe, Oshiwambo, Kwangali, Setswana, and Silozi are the national languages of Namibia, and Thimbukushu is the regional language of Namibia.

The total area of Namibia is 825,615 km2, and its estimated population is 2.6 million (2017).

The name of the country comes from the Namib Desert. Namib is believed to be the oldest desert in the world. It is a coastal desert.

The total area of the Namib is 81,000 km2 (31,000 square miles), and it stretches over 2000Km along the coastlines of Angola, South Africa, and Namibia. It has dunes that are 980 feet (300 meters) high and 32 km (20 miles) long. It has the second-largest dunes in the world after the Badain Jaran Desert Dunes. The climate of the Namib is arid.

Many desirable species of plants and animals are found in this desert, many of which are spatial and highly suitable for the specific climate of the region. Welwitschia mirabilis is the most endemic plant species in the desert. Welwitschia is well-known for its ability to survive in the aridest of climates.

Namibia is one of the top 10 sources of Uranium in the world.

The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari is a massive arid sandy savanna in Southern Africa. The area of the Kalahari is 930,000 km2 (350,000 square miles). The total length of the desert is 4,000 km (2,500 miles). The sand depth of the Kalahari exceeds 200 feet. The sand is red in many areas of the Kalahari Desert. The length of the dunes is at least one mile, with a hundred feet in width and twenty to two hundred feet in height.

The desert covers regions of South Africa and some parts of Namibia and Botswana. The Kalahari is hot, and the temperature of the desert is very high.

The name ‘Kalahari’ comes from the Tswana phrase ‘Kgalagadi’ (a waterless place) or ‘Kgala’ (the great thirst). The Kalahari has a wide area, and the area is covered with red sand without surface water. Very little water was ever used in the sea from Kalahari. Almost all the rain that falls immediately disappears in the deep sand. In the Kalahari desert, the soil is based mainly on the sand, and it is extremely dry.

The climate of the Kalahari is generally hot in the summer (42oC (107.6oF)–45 °C (113oF)). But it also drops on the same nights (21oC (69.8oF) –27 °C (80.6oF)) in the Kalahari. On winter nights, the temperature in the Kalahari is low (−10°C (14oF) to −12°C (10.4oF)). Many migratory birds and animals live in the Kalahari.

What type of economic activities do people who live in deserts engage in?

It’s challenging to carry out any economic activities in the desert. But the people of the desert make their economic progress by keeping animals (goats, cows, buffalos, sheep, camels), and, belts, bags, carpets, clothes, etc. are made out of leather. Dates are the traditional food for the deserts people. Farming and Breeding is an essential economic system for desert people.

15 % of Africa comprises of tropical rainforests. Which African countries have tropical rainforests?

The African rainforest is home to most of the birds and animals in Africa. African rainforests cover over 3.6 million square kilometers. The rainforests tend to be dry for half the year and wet for the other half. Essential medicines come from the rainforests. The peoples of rainforests depend on the forest for their food. They also grow crops and trade their crops. The major world producers of petroleum are Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, and Libya.

The list of African countries that have tropical rainforests:-

  • Cameroon
  • Congo
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia; and
  • Nigeria

Many people live in the savannahs and steppe regions of West, East, Central, and Southern Africa.

  • The Nubians
  • The Kualngo and the Akan
  • The Bushmen
  • The Hottentots
  • The Bantu
  • The Tswana; and
  • The Khoisan

About the author

Oadeye

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