Africa Day

Welcome to Africa Day!

Learning Objectives:

To extend your locational knowledge and deepen your spatial awareness of the world’s countries using maps of the world to focus on Africa.

To focus on the environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries and major cities.

To build on your knowledge of globes, maps and atlases and apply and develop this knowledge routinely in the classroom and in the field.

To understand human geography relating to: population and urbanization; international development; economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors; and the use of natural resources.


For this study day we will be looking at the general characteristics of the continent, but also taking a deeper dive into a couple of the countries. I have chosen one of the smaller and lesser known countries for you to investigate, along with a better known State.

Session One – The Continent

  • Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia.
  • At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth’s total surface area and 20% of its land area.
  • With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world’s human population.
  • Africa’s average population is the youngest amongst all the continents; the median age in 2012 was 19.7, when the worldwide median age was 30.4.
  • The total number of independent states in Africa is 54.
  • The transcontinental country in this region is Egypt, also having a small part of its territory in Asia, on the other side of the Suez Canal, but politically it is a member of the African Union.

Here’s a fun little video. The speaker doesn’t know how to pronounce Wildebeest, but English possibly isn’t his first language so I don’t think it matters too much. It’s a good video.

More info about Africa and its history here.

The Regions

The African Continent consists of five distinct regions:

The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from people from sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in the Americas.

We are going to look at the regions of the African Union. This is not the only way African regions are divided.

Download (PDF, 153KB)

Activity One:

Explore this Interactive Map of Africa and then try on this quiz.

Session Two – Northern Africa

Northern African Countries

There are generally considered to be 6 countries in Northern Africa and one region. Arabic is the most spoken language in North African countries. Oil and natural gas are the biggest natural resources in Northern Africa.

The following is the list of Northern African countries. Mauritania is considered to be part of West Africa if you are not looking at the African Union. Western Sahara is a territory, not a country.

# Member state Capital Area (km2)
1 Algeria Algiers 2,381,740
2 Egypt Cairo 1,001,451
3 Libya Tripoli 1,759,540
4 Mauritania Nouakchott 1,030,700
5 Morocco Rabat 446,550
6 Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara) El Aaiún (proclaimed) 266,060
7 Tunisia Tunis 163,610

Activity Two:

Print out this PDF, label the countries, and shade it in a colour of your choosing.

Download (PDF, 117KB)

Session Three – Western Africa

Western African Countries

There are 15 countries and one territory in Western Africa.  The population of West Africa is estimated at about 381 million. Islam is the predominant religion of the West African interior and the far west coast of the continent (60% of West Africans); and was introduced to the region by traders in the 9th century.

The following is the list of Western African countries. (Saint Helena is a territory, not a country). Mauritania can also be included.

Burkina Faso
Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)
Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
The Gambia
Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom Overseas Territory)
Sierra Leone

Activity Three:

Print out this PDF, label the countries, and shade it in a colour of your choosing.

Download (PDF, 55KB)

Session Four – Eastern Africa

Eastern African Countries

There are 14 countries in Eastern Africa. South Sudan gained independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011, making it the most recent sovereign state or country with widespread recognition. Several of these countries are islands. Madagascar is the world’s second-largest island country.

The following is the list of Eastern African countries:

  • Comoros
  • Djibouti
  • Ethiopia
  • Eritrea
  • Kenya
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

Activity Four:

Print out this PDF, label the countries, and shade it in a colour of your choosing.

Download (PDF, 53KB)

Session Five – Central Africa

Central African Countries

There are 6 countries in Eastern Africa. Central Africa is primarily inhabited by Bantu peoples and Bantu languages predominate. The predominant religions of Central Africa are Christianity and traditional faiths. Islam is also practiced in some areas in Chad and the Central African Republic.

The following is the list of Central African countries:

Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
Equatorial Guinea
São Tomé and Príncipe

Activity Five:

Print out this PDF, label the countries, and shade it in a colour of your choosing.

Download (PDF, 51KB)

Session Six – Southern Africa

Southern African Countries

There are ten countries in Southern Africa. Angola may be included in Central Africa and Malawi and Mozambique may be included in Eastern Africa.

Southern Africa is home to many people. It was initially populated by indigenous or native Africans San, Khoikhoi, and Pygmies in widely dispersed concentrations. The process of colonization and settling resulted in a significant population of native European (Afrikaner, British, Portuguese Africans, etc.) and Asian descent (Cape Malays, Indian South Africans, etc.) in many southern African countries.

The term southern Africa or Southern Africa, generally includes:

  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini (also known as Swaziland)
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

(Angola may be included in Central Africa and Malawi and Mozambique in East Africa).

Activity Six:

Print out this PDF, label the countries, and shade it in a colour of your choosing.

Download (PDF, 55KB)

Session Seven – African Diaspora

A diaspora refers to people settled far from their ancestral homelands.

The African diaspora consists of the worldwide collection of communities descended from people from sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in the Americas. The diaspora has continued for millennia, but historically the term refers to the descendants of the West and Central Africans who were enslaved and shipped to the Americas via the Atlantic slave trade between the 16th and 19th centuries. Their largest populations in Brazil, the United States and Haiti. Prior to the Atlantic slave trade, Arab traders took slaves from other parts of Africa, selling them to markets in North Africa and the Middle East (Western Asia).


Where is the African Diaspora?

Activity Seven:

Print out this PDF and identify some of the countries that have members of the African Diaspora. Try to show which African countries they come from and give an approximate population, along with any other interesting information.

Download (PDF, 27KB)

Session Eight – African Countries (States)

First a quick word about Countries and States…

There is a difference between the terms nation, state, and country, even though the words are often used interchangeably.

Country and State basically mean the same thing. They have Sovereignty from outside sources or bodies. This is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference.

A nation is a group of people of the same ethnic family who share the same culture but do not have sovereignty. They often speak the same or  similar languages.

When the “s” of state is lowercase, it constitutes a part of a whole country, such as the different states of the United States of America. When the “S” of State is uppercase it signifies an independent country. The United States of America is a State or Country. The state of  Minnesota is a part of the country (it is not sovereign). Africa is part of a geographical Continent and a Union. The purpose of the African Union is to achieve greater unity between the African countries and the African nations.

There may be a time in the future when Africa will become The United States of Africa and then it will be one country, much like the USA, but right now each African State is sovereign.

This is a list of African States / Countries and their Capital Cities:

Country Capital City
Algeria Algiers
Angola Luanda
Benin Porto-Novo
Botswana Gaborone
Burkina Faso Ouagadougou
Burundi Gitega
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde) Praia
Cameroon Yaounde
Central African Republic Bangui
Chad N’Djamena
Comoros Moroni
Congo-Brazzaville Brazzaville
Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa
Cote d’Ivoire Yamoussoukro
Djibouti Djibouti
Egypt Cairo
Equatorial Guinea Malabo
Eritrea Asmara
Eswatini (Swaziland) Mbabane
Ethiopia Addis Ababa
Gabon Libreville
Gambia Banjul
Ghana Accra
Guinea Conakry
Guinea-Bissau Bissau
Kenya Nairobi
Lesotho Maseru
Liberia Monrovia
Libya Tripoli
Madagascar Antananarivo
Malawi Lilongwe
Mali Bamako
Mauritania Nouakchott
Mauritius Port Louis
Morocco Rabat
Mozambique Maputo
Namibia Windhoek
Niger Niamey
Nigeria Abuja
Rwanda Kigali
Sao Tome and Principe Sao Tome
Senegal Dakar
Seychelles Victoria
Sierra Leone Freetown
Somalia Mogadishu
South Africa Pretoria
South Sudan Juba
Sudan Khartoum
Tanzania Dodoma
Togo Lome
Tunisia Tunis
Uganda Kampala
Zambia Lusaka
Zimbabwe Harare

Activity Eight:

Connect your regions together.

Add the capital cities.

Session Nine – Biomes

Africa has biomes covering the Mediterranean climates, desert, subtropical, savanna, and jungle.

The tropical climate zone has hot summers and winters. During the summers rainfall occurs due to the influence of trade winds from the sea and during winters the climate is drier. The vegetation and animals found in this area correspond to those of the tropical forest, the trees are smaller and the soil is more clear.

Its climate is varied: The subtropical climate zone has warm summers and mild winters. Temperatures vary according to height. The rains fall in winter in the north and are distributed throughout the year to the south. The vegetation and the animals that are in this zone correspond to those of the subtropical forest and savannah. Man has modified the landscape using the land for the practice of livestock and agriculture.

Only the high mountains of East Africa have cold climates due to heights. Being near the sea, it receives humid winds that produce important rains, especially in summer.

The desert areas have totally sterile soils. They present summers are very hot, the winds dry and the rains almost nonexistent.

Look back here to remind yourself of the features of the biomes.

Activity Nine:

Complete biomes map. You can use these or I have a hand-painted one for you.

Download (PDF, 173KB)

Session Ten – Cameroon

Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south.

Cameroon is geographically and historically in West Africa. The country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa. Cameroon is home to over 250 native languages spoken by nearly 20 million people.

Activity Ten:

Create a Cameroonian snack of puff puffs and fever grass tea.


Fever Grass Tea Recipe

Session Eleven – Union of the Comoros

The Comoros , officially the Union of the Comoros, is an island country in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of Africa.

The capital and largest city in Comoros is Moroni. The religion of the majority of the population, and the official state religion, is Sunni Islam.

The Comoros is the only country in the Arab world which is entirely in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Union of the Comoros has three official languages—Comorian, French, and Arabic.

Read more about Comoros here and here and here.


Mkatra Foutra ~ Yeasted Bread from Comoros Islands

Activity Eleven:

Create Comoros Yeast Bread.

Session Twelve – African Country of Choice

Choose an African country and create a report or poster about it.

Identify the:

  • name of the country
  • capital
  • population
  • major languages
  • major religions
  • interesting facts

Activity Twelve:

Create a poster or report for the African country of your choice.

Africa Day Deliverables.

  • complete regions map
  • biome map
  • puffs (photos and recipe)
  • Fever grass tea (photos and recipe)
  • yeasted bread (photos and recipe)
  • Country of Choice report or poster

This work is assessed. Create a cover sheet and contents sheet. Ensure dates and names are included.

Wrap up!

African Union Quiz

Test your subject knowledge of the African Union.