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Africa.ppt Powered By Docstoc
    54 Countries

Over 1,000 languages

 797 million people
Africa’s Physical Features
       Africa’s Major Landforms
1. Sahara Desert
  – largest desert in the world
  – Topography includes areas of rock-strew
    plains, rolling sand dunes and numerous sand
  – Almost completely without rainfall, a few
    underground rivers flow from the Atlas
    Mountains, helping to irrigate isolated oases
  – In the east, the water's of the Nile help fertilize
    smaller parts of the landscape
2. The Kalahari Desert
  – covers much of Botswana, the southwestern
    region of South Africa and all of western
  – Along the coastal areas of that country it's
    commonly referred to as the Namib Desert
  – A few small mountain ranges are situated
    here including the Karas and the Huns
  – Large herds of wildlife are found in the
    Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
3. The Congo River Basin
  – The Congo River Basin of central Africa dominates
    the landscape of the Democratic Republic of the
    Congo and much of neighboring Congo
  – In addition, it stretches into Angola, Cameroon, the
    Central African Republic and Zambia
  – contains almost 20% of the world's rain forest
  – The Congo River is the second longest river in Africa
  – The Congo River and it's network of rivers, tributaries
    and streams help link the people and cities of the
4. The Great Rift Valley
  – A dramatic depression on the earth's surface,
    approximately 4,000 miles
  – In essence, it's a series of geological faults
    caused by huge volcanic eruptions centuries
    back, that subsequently created what we now
    call the Ethiopian Highlands, and a series of
    perpendicular cliffs, mountain ridges, rugged
    valleys and very deep lakes along it's entire
  – Many of Africa's highest mountains front the
    Rift Valley, including Mount Kilimanjaro
5. The Nile River System
  – The Nile River longest river in the world
  – The Nile River flows north
  – The Nile River rises from the highlands of
    southeastern Africa and runs about 4,160
    miles (6,693 km) in length, to then drain in the
    Mediterranean Sea
  – In simple terms, it's a series of dams, rapids,
    streams, swamps, tributaries and waterfalls
  – Numerous (major) rivers comprise the overall
    system, including the Albert Nile, Blue Nile,
    Victoria Nile and White Nile
6. The Sahel
  – The Sahel is a wide stretch of land running
    completely across north-central Africa, just on
    the southern edges of the ever-expanding
    Sahara Desert
  – This border region is the transition zone
    between the dry areas of the north and the
    tropical areas of the south
  – It receives very little rain (six - eight inches a
    year) and most of the vegetation is a savanna
    growth of sparse grasses and shrubs




The Sahara
            Sahara: Overview
• The world's largest desert, its size defies
  imagination: 3.3 million square miles or around
  25 percent of Africa
• Camel caravans looking for gold, ivory, grain,
  salt and slaves made the Sahara the world's first
  gateway to Africa
• oil and gas operations today promise far greater
  riches than gold and ivory ever could
• The Saharan city Cairo; at roughly 10 million
  people, is Africa's largest
• one of the planet's lowest population densities
           Sahara: People

For nearly 500,000 years, the Sahara has
   attracted people from throughout North
   Africa. Early residents came when the
Sahara was lush and teeming with wildlife.
As the region became desert, the Sahara's
 residents turned to livestock herding; and
 to trade caravans that brought gold, ivory,
   salt and slaves north, and commercial
           goods and metals south.
The Tuareg, a semi-nomadic group known
 for their salt caravans and distinctive blue
 veils, are the region's best-known people.
• Religion
  – The Tuareg were slow to adopt to Islam, and
    native beliefs still hold strong.
  – The supernatural world of the Sahara has
    been mixed with the Tuareg Islamic beliefs.
  – Talismen are commonly worn to ward off the
    negative effects of these forces.
• Customs & Traditions
  – The Tuareg's blue veil is one of their best-
    known insignia. It is used not only for
    protection from wind and heat, but, also, to
    ward off evil spirits, who supposedly try to
    enter humans through the mouth.
          Sahara: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – Rain in the Sahara is a rarity.
  – More than 75 percent of the Sahara receives
    less than four inches of rain per year.
  – The Sahara holds the world record for heat:
    136 degrees in El Aziza, Libya on September
    13, 1922.
  – Daytime highs reach 109 degrees, but
    nighttime lows can reach freezing or lower.
• Topography
  – Made up mostly of flat plains of rock, rocky stream
    beds, gravel and sand, each of the Sahara's land
    formations has its own name and characteristics.
  – Mountains, situated in Algeria, Libya, Chad and
    Morocco, provide additional variety.
  – The Sahara's major water source is the Nile.
  – An oasis can vary in size from about 2.5 acres for a
    tiny village to larger farm lands.
     • At its hub is water, often in the form of natural springs,
       artesian wells or entire irrigation systems.
     • About 75 percent of the Sahara's population live in oases.
• Vegetation
  – The Sahara boasts tons of plant life: 1,620
  – Saharan plants survive thanks to root systems
    that plunge as far as 80 ft. under ground to
    suck up subterranean moisture.
  – Most vegetation is located in the Atlas
    Mountains and along the Atlantic coast where
    rainfall is heavier.
  – In parts of the southern Libyan Desert no
    greenery exists for more than 120 miles.
• Animals
  – Prehistoric rock paintings in Algeria's Tassili-
    N'Ajjer park show that giraffes, elephants and
    lions once roamed a green Sahara.
  – These days, animal life is based on what can
    best survive the heat and lack of water.
  – Rodents, snakes and scorpions thrive here.
The Sahel
                   Sahel: Overview
• A narrow band of semi-arid land south of the Sahara, the Sahel
  attracted both Arabs looking for gold from Sudan and Europeans
  looking for slaves from West Africa.
• But the region, one of the poorest and most environmentally
  damaged places on earth, has deep troubles.
• In the 1970s, the Sahel captured international attention when
  drought and famine killed nearly 200,000 people.
• Though conditions have since improved, it has yet to shake a
  vicious cycle of soil erosion, insufficient irrigation, deforestation,
  overpopulation, desertification and drought.
• As the environment has suffered, the scramble for income has
• Instead of sticking to the land, rural workers are now heading for the
• Open sewers are common, and electricity, running water and trash
  collection all too infrequent.
              Sahel: People
  Both desert and grazing land, the Sahel has
       attracted a population as varied as its
   environment. Some are semi-nomadic cattle
  herders, moving with the seasonal flooding of
 the Niger. Others are farmers, eking out a living
from millet and sorghum. The Fulani, the world's
   largest group of nomadic herders, have long
  played an influential role in the region not only
  for their cattle, but for their advocacy of Islam.
   Their neighbors, the Dogon, practice a set of
 traditional beliefs that illustrate the power of the
      relationship between Africans and their
• Religion
  – Islam has long been used by the Fulani as
    part of their cultural identity
  – However, like other West African people, the
    Fulani are not above using the services of
    traditional religious leaders who may have
    special curative or supernatural powers.
  – Most Dogon practice a traditional religion
    based around worship of the god, Amma, and
    the Dogon ancestors.
  – All rituals involve masks and are open only to
    male initiates who can assume the personality
    of Dogon spirits.
• Customs & Traditions
  – The work of Dogon craftsmen abounds in galleries
    throughout the world.
  – To the outside world, Dogon culture means Dogon
  – The Kanaga mask, perhaps the most popular, is worn
    at the dama, a rite that celebrates the passage of the
    dead into the spirit world.
  – The Fulani’s artifacts reflect thei sense of the land's
    power and glorify the products - gold and amber
     - that it produces.
          Sahel: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – The wet season comes between June and
    September, but rainfall is usually moderate.
  – The Sahel received as much rain in 1999 as
    Florida received in one month.
  – On average, the Sahel ranks as the hottest
    place on earth.
  – Year-round temperatures hover between 77
    and 86 degrees.
• Topography
  – The Sahel's most distinctive feature is its flat,
    barren plains.
  – This sandy, scrubby land stretches roughly
    2,400 miles across Africa, from The Gambia
    to Chad.
  – It contains the fertile delta of the Niger, one of
    Africa's longest and most powerful rivers.
  – Other notable bodies of water include the
    Senegal, Gambia and Nile and Lake Chad.
• Vegetation
  – Plants that can make it in the Sahel have got
    to be tough.
  – This is vegetation that knows about survival.
  – For nine months of the year, the Sahel is a
    vast expanse of brown.
  – Greenery comes with the rainy season, but
    can be quickly consumed by animals in
    search of food or farmers in search of crop
• Animals
  – The Sahel's wildlife is constantly on the move,
    scavenging for water and spotty vegetation.
  – Elephants and giraffes frequently raid farmers'
    plots for greenery.
  – But tough living conditions mean you're more
    likely to see herds of cattle, sheep and goats.
  – Rodents already reign as the region's most
    common animal.
The Ethiopian Highlands
    Ethiopian Highlands: Overview
• Hailed as the "cradle of humanity," Ethiopia boasts a human history
  that dates back millions of years--at its heart lie the Ethiopian
• Home to 80 percent of Africa's tallest mountains, the highlands have
  helped shelter Ethiopia from foreign conquest and preserve one of
  the world's most distinct cultures.
• The Blue Nile courses through this region, the Great Rift Valley
  sprawls in its center, and the Simien and Bale Mountains enclose it
  on either side.
• After 7,000 years of agriculture, the land is tiring out.
• Plagued by recurring drought, the area saw the worst of Ethiopia's
  1985 famine.
• Soil erosion from clearing lands for the cultivation of coffee,
  Ethiopia's main export, and teff, an endemic grain, remains
• Famine, long the scourge of Ethiopia, is an ever-present threat.
   Ethiopian Highlands: People

Isolated by their homeland's rugged geography,
    the people of the Ethiopian highlands have
     preserved their cultures largely intact from
 outside influences. The Amharas have been the
    most influential among the highlands' many
 ethnic groups. For nearly 1,000 years, they have
  been the driving force behind Ethiopia's history,
    religion and language. Their neighbors, the
 Gurage, offer an example of a traditional culture
        trying to survive in the modern world.
• Religion
  – Most Amharas consider it impossible to be
    Amhara and non-Christian.
  – The Ethiopian Orthodox Church combines a
    blend of Christian and Judaic practices.
  – The Gurage are mostly Ethiopian Orthodox
    Christians, but also practice Islam, Roman
    Catholicism and traditional religious beliefs.
  – Both Christianity and Islam were outside
    religions imposed on the Gurage by invasion.
  – Today, a Gurage Christian or Muslim could
    just as easily also observe rituals to honor
    Waq, the Gurage sky god.
• Customs & Traditions
  – One of the first countries to adopt Christianity as a
    state religion, Ethiopia sees its Christian beliefs as an
    integral part of the national treasure chest of ancient
  – The ensete, or so-called "false banana," is at the
    heart of Gurage daily life.
  – Ensete is believed to cure all illnesses and several
    species of the plant are usually grown next to Gurage
  – The plant , able to thrive with little cultivation, staves
    off famine and is a traditional offering to the Gurage
    god in charge of human welfare.
  Ethiopian Highlands: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – The region gets most of Ethiopia's rain, about
    80 inches per year.
  – When rainfall is normal, the highlands can
    receive half the annual total in just two to
    three months.
  – With an average temperature of 61 degrees,
    the highlands are cool and temperate with
    steady sunshine.
• Topography
  – The Great Rift Valley - one of Africa's most
    spectacular natural sites - cuts the Ethiopian
    highlands from northwest to southeast.
  – The Bale and Simien Mountains dominate the
    land on either side of the Rift Valley.
  – To the northwest lies the Blue Nile Valley,
    which rivals the Grand Canyon in size and
• Vegetation
  – This is where coffee got its start.
  – Vegetation in the Ethiopian highlands
    contains both variety and breathtaking beauty.
  – Both teff, a durable grain, and coffee -
    Ethiopia's trademark crops - are grown in the
  – In the south and east, grassy savannas with
    three to six-acre-farm plots give way to east
    Africa's most extensive forests.
• Animals
  – Known as the "African Alps," this craggy,
    isolated region is a bird lover's heaven.
  – It also has one of Africa's largest native
    animal populations.
  – Most highland fauna live in the Simien and
    Bale National Parks, the home of such
    celebrity mammals as the gelada baboon and
    the Ethiopian wolf.
The Savanna
                   Savanna: Overview
•   When most non-Africans think of Africa, this is the region they picture.
•   Africa's great savannas are a place dominated by sky and rolling grassland.
•   Of Africa's great plains regions, the Serengeti is the most famous, it is the
    only part of Africa where vast, annual migrations of animals -- wildebeest
    and zebras -- still occur.
•   Today, the plains boast a wide range of cultures, from Maasai nomads to
    Kikuyu farmers and Dorobo hunter-gatherers.
•   Sporadic droughts, soil erosion and overgrazing are tiring the land out, while
    demands on it from impoverished human populations continue to grow.
•   Like other African savannas, the Serengeti is the location of several state-
    run wildlife preserves.
             Savanna: People
The people of Africa's vast savanna are united by their
  strong identity with the sprawling plains that surround
    them. Originally, these pastoral groups came to the
savanna looking for food, scavenging after leftover game
  killed by large predators. Today, these original hunter-
  gatherers exist in the form of the Dorobo tribes of the
 eastern Serengeti, who survive by hunting small game
   and collecting honey and wild fruits and vegetables.
   Long ago, the Dorobo were joined by herdsmen and
    pastoralists from northern Africa. Among these, the
  Maasai. These tall, dark skinned herdsmen in striking
  red cloaks and beadwork have come to symbolize the
face of Africa's savanna people to the outside world. The
 Maasai share the plains with the Kikuyu, traditionally a
      nation of farmers, who now form the backbone of
                       Kenyan society.
• Religion
   – Various Dorobo tribes believe in one god called Torooret.
   – Spirits, however, play a large role in everyday occurrences,
     especially when there is trouble.
   – Many Dorobo, however, have also converted to Christianity.
   – The Kikuyu’s traditional religion revolves around a single
     supreme god called Ngai, a generally benevolent entity who is
     credited with creation of the universe.
   – Today, although many Kikuyu have converted to Christianity,
     daily problems are usually brought to the attention of traditional
     healers who can intercede with the Kikuyu spirits and ancestors.
   – The Maasai believe in one ominscient god, Enkai (or Nkai).
   – Enkai is not represented by any human-like shape.
   – A man acts as spiritual leader, medicine man, diviner and
     political leader.
• Customs & Traditions
  – The Dorobo are often isolated and live in
    tightly knit communal groups.
  – Ceremonies mark various transitions in life:
    naming, adulthood initation rites and marriage
    are commonplace.
  – Often, Dorobo groups do not have a defined
    leader, and instead use meetings as a way to
    resolve problems and conflicts.
  – Traditional Kikuyu communities place much
    importance on age-related rites of passage,
    and the bonds that form between individuals
    of a similar age.
         Savanna: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – Annual Savanna rainfall fluctuates between
    20 to 47 inches.
  – The Savanna has a semi-arid climate.
  – Temperatures are moderate all year long, with
    highs in the mid to upper 80s and lows in the
• Topography
  – Among Africa's many savanna regions, the
    Serengeti is the best known for its size and
    the majestic annual migration of thousands of
  – The Serengeti is a vast undulating plain
    stretching 11,583 sq. miles, from Kenya's
    Maasai-Mara game reserve south across the
    boarder to encompass Tanzania's Serengeti
    National Park.
• Vegetation
  – Savanna vegetation means lots of grass.
  – For much of the African savanna's wildlife,
    grass is the key to survival.
  – Most savannas are dominated by grasses of
    varying species, depending on the area's
    rainfall and top soil conditions.
  – Many savanna regions are also dotted with
    hardy trees like the drought-resistant
    acacia and the
    water-conserving baobab.
• Animals
  – Of the many African savannas, the Serengeti
    is most well known for its vast herds of
    wildebeest, gazelle and zebras.
  – It is also home to one of the highest
    concentrations of large predators in the world.
  – Here, lions and hyenas seldom go hungry.
  – From the grass-grazing zebras to tall tree-
    foragers like the giraffe and elephant, each of
    the Serengeti's wildlife makes the most of all
    available food sources.
The Swahili Coast
       Swahili Coast: Overview
• Perched on the edge of the Indian Ocean, the Swahili
  Coast is among Africa's most distinct regions.
• The Indian Ocean's monsoon winds lay the foundation
  for what would be one of Africa's oldest and richest
  trading histories.
• Today, most people who call themselves Swahili are
  also Muslim and trace their roots back to Arab traders.
• Tourists regularly comb through Zanzibar's Stone Town
  and the ruins of Kenya's Gedi.
        Swahili Coast: People
The sandy shores of the Swahili Coast have
     long been a magnet for East Africa's
  inhabitants. Some came by choice, others
      came in chains. Those who stayed
   assimilated with the cultures of the Arab
     and Indian merchants working in the
   region. The result was the unique ethnic
    mix called Swahili. Today, religion and
 with it, kind of self-imposed social isolation
  maintain Swahili culture as a fixture of the
                  Swahili Coast
• Religion
  – Since the 12th century, most Swahilis have
    practiced Sunni Islam.
  – Belief in spirits called jini is widespread.
  – Depending on circumstances, jini can be good
    or mischievously evil.
  – Most communities rely upon people
    knowledgeable in the ways of the jini who try
    to solve problems by appeasing or invoking
    the spirits' powers.
• Customs & Traditions
  – Swahili design styles, with their curling
    arabesques and geometric shapes, reflect
    Arab tastes, but the uses to which these
    designs are put have also been shaped by
    purely African customs and spiritual beliefs
  – Whether veiled or covered head to toe,
    Swahili women, for instance, favor vividly
    colored kanga robes.
      Swahili Coast: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – The western Indian Ocean monsoon cycle
    dictates rainfall on the Swahili Coast.
  – Between November and March and July and
    September, monsoon winds blow from India
    and the Arabian Peninsula.
  – Annual rainfall can reach as much as 60
  – The Swahili Coast’s climate is tempered by its
    proximity to the ocean, and temperatures
    average in the mid 80s all year long.
• Topography
  – The Swahili Coast stretches for approximately
    1,000 miles along the Indian Ocean from
    Somalia to Mozambique.
  – Protected by a rim of coral reefs, and several
    islands (the largest is Zanzibar) the coast line
    is generally flat and free of significant
    changes in elevation.
  – Some coastal areas are interrupted by cliffs
    which have formed after centuries of soil
• Vegetation
   – The Swahili Coast is known more for its beaches than its flora,
     but lovers of greenery need not go disappointed.
   – Further inland, citrus and spice plants introduced by Omani
     traders centuries ago can still be found.
   – While most top soil along the Swahili Coast soil is too poor and
     sandy to support a wide variety of plant life, a 10-mile-wide strip
     of fertile land just beyond the coast provides an ample source for
     cultivating crops like rice and citrus plants introduced by Omani
• Animals
  – Overall, the Swahili Coast does not produce
    sufficient vegetation to sustain diverse animal
  – Within the region’s forested areas, however,
    there are as many as 50 species of mammal
    and 200 species of bird.
  – Bushpig, small antelope, bush-babies,
    monkeys and the occasional elephant make
    up most of the coastal mammals.
  – Still present, but much depleted, are
    predators such as leopards and lions.
The Rainforest
            Rainforest: Overview
• Home to half of the continent's animal species.
• Deforestation, road construction and slash-and-burn
  farming have already wiped out roughly 90 percent of the
  West Africa's rainforests.
• Today, the governments of rainforest countries are now
  torn between the need to protect their endangered
  rainforests and the need for the money, roads and jobs
  that foreign logging companies bring in.
• Growing populations, swollen by war refugees, are
  razing rainforest to make way for farm land; poachers
  are picking off chimpanzees and gorillas to sell to the
  profitable bushmeat trade.
• In 1999, the six countries of the Congo Basin pledged to
  harmonize forestry laws and form a joint watchdog
  system to track the effects of logging and poaching.
        Rainforest: People
Since the Stone Ages, groups of native
 hunter-gatherers have inhabited Africa's
 rainforests. These people are commonly
    known as "pygmies," though this is
considered a derogatory term. They share
   a short stature (less than 5" tall) and
dependence on the rainforest eco-system.
There are some 200,000 - 250,000 native
 rainforest inhabitants. All have separate
languages, religions and customs, and all
    are under threat from deforestation.
• Religion
  – For the Baka, as with many African people,
    the spirit world is part of everyday life.
  – The Baka do not practice set religious
  – The spiritual force that is the most powerful
    for them is Komba, who they believe created
    the world and the rainforest.
  – The forest spirit Jengi, however, makes its
    presence known much more frequently.
• Customs & Traditions
  – The forest, for these groups, is not just a
    collection of trees, but a living being that must
    be treated with respect for the goods it
  – The Jengi spirit ritual is a rite of passage for
    Baka males.
  – The initiation is for men only and is conducted
    in total secrecy over several days deep in the
    heart of
    the rainforest.
        Rainforest: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – Rain from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
    exerts the largest influence on this region's
    tropical climate.
  – The West and Central African rainforests
    receive about 63 to 79 inches of rainfall each
  – Temperatures are usually a humid 80 degrees
    with lows around 73 degrees.
• Topography
  – West Africa's forests have been mostly
  – Eighty percent of the continent's rainforests
    are now concentrated in Central Africa, in the
    basin of the Congo River.
  – The 2,900-mile-long Congo, the most
    important means of transportation in Central
    Africa, is the second longest river in Africa
    and the fifth longest in the world.
• Vegetation
  – Good luck finding two identical tree species in
    any one acre of African rainforest.
  – This sea of dense vegetation is a botanist's
  – With an estimated 8,000 plant species, this
    region ranks second in vegetation
    variety only to South Africa's
    legendary Cape floral
• Animals
  – The rainforests have Africa's richest
    assortment of animals.
  – So rich, in fact, that identifying them all is a
    mind-boggling task for biologists.
  – Animal life can vary hugely in any one spot
    depending on vegetation.
  – A four-mile patch of rainforest could contain
    up to 400 species of birds, 150 species of
    butterflies and 60 species of amphibians!
The Great Lakes
          Great Lakes: Overview
• The Great Lakes of Africa include some of the largest and most
  ecologically diverse freshwater systems on the planet.
• Twisting down the two arms of the Great Rift Valley like a chain of
  sapphires, the lakes are located in nine countries in east and central
• Lake Victoria ranks as the second-largest freshwater lake in the
  world after the U.S.'s Lake Superior.
• Each lake has its own eco-system, dependent on rainfall, proximity
  to the equator and land elevation.
• Rich soils provide a powerful lure for humans.
• Fishing provides the main livelihood for the Great Lakes' inhabitants.
• But, pollution, introduction of non-native fish and over-fishing have
  all wreaked havoc.
• The Great Lakes are now one of the world's most endangered water
           Great Lakes: People
Blessed with fish and fertile lands, the Great Lakes region
  has attracted a wide range of people over the centuries.
   But despite this region's idyllic appearance, it has not
  escaped bloody conflict. This is the case in Rwanda and
     Burundi, where Tutsi herdsmen conquered Bantu-
   speaking Hutu farmers, setting off centuries of violent
   clashes that culminated in the early 1990s. Yet in the
    midst of chaos, the peoples of the Great Lakes have
     flourished. In Uganda, the Baganda people, have
   survived blood-soaked regimes, to emerge as strong
   today as in centuries past. They are a well-structured
  and upwardly mobile group that make up the majority of
                    Uganda's population.
• Religion
  – In both Rwanda and Burundi, over half of the
    population is Christian.
  – Today, traditional religious practices continue
    to be used, in matters of health and good
  – Traditional religion calls upon a supreme god
    called Imana, who oversees life. People can
    seek divine aid in several ways, depending on
    the specific need.
• Customs & Traditions
  – Some of Africa's most famous weaving and
    body art come from this region.
  – The Tutsi originally had many ceremonies
    relating to the perpetuation of their kingdom.
  – They were known as highly trained dancers
    and musicians.
     Great Lakes: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – A short rainy season around October is
    followed by a longer one in April-May.
  – Mostly located on or near the equator, this
    region is hot and generally humid.
  – Highland lakes like Ethiopia's Lake Turkana
    are a bit cooler and dryer than those in lower
    elevations like Lake Victoria.
  – Average highland temperatures range in the
    mid-60s while lowland tropical areas hover in
    the mid-80s.
• Topography
  – Filling up the cracks formed by the Great Rift
    Valley, the Great Lakes of East Africa range
    over diverse ecosystems from dry cool
    mountain highlands to lush tropical rain
  – Unique ecosystems survive within the shores
    of each lake thanks to variations in water
    temperature, oxygen levels and a host of
    other factors.
  – Today, those systems are under threat from
    pollution and disruptions from alien plants and
• Vegetation
  – Plant life abounds in this part of Africa, but
    even as the greenery sooths the eye, it also
    threatens the existence of several of the
    region's lakes.
  – Inside the shoreline of some lakes, however,
    vegetation has become a problem in the form
    of rapidly growing invasive
   plants, like the surface-choking
   water hyacinth and shore-
   clogging papyrus.
• Animals
  – Animals living in the areas around the lakes
    range form savanna natives like the
    wildebeest, to water-lovers like the chubby
  – The fish-life inside the lake shores, is just as
Southern Africa
       Southern Africa: Overview
• At the bottom of the continent, under the soil of Southern Africa, lies
  a very old and huge rock.
• This massive geologic formation is over 2.6 billion years old, and is
  one of the most stable continental formations on the planet.
• It contains some of the world's richest mineral deposits, ranging
  from gold and diamonds to platinum and asbestos.
• Beginning in 1910, a series of laws were introduced that restricted
  black ownership of the land and limited skilled, high-paying mining
  jobs to whites. The framework for the policy of apartheid was laid.
• Nearly a century later, with apartheid disbanded, the struggle to
  overcome the past lives on.
• Dominated by South Africa, the region is dogged by the legacy of
  racial and economic disparity, the ravages of mining and wars.
• Southern Africa has among the world's highest rates of HIV
      Southern Africa: People
  In Southern Africa, the land offers rich soil,
     temperate climate and regular rains. Not
   surprisingly, it has attracted diverse groups,
many descended from the migrant Bantu people
   whose influences have been left all over the
continent. Two of the largest groups descended
    from these original Bantu pioneers are the
Xhosa and Zulu, who, together, make up about
 40 percent of South Africa's population. These
   groups have subsumed much of the former
lands of the native hunter-gatherer San people,
who are today relegated to the desert regions of
                     the Kalahari.
• Religion

   – For the San, healing is done though the same type of spirit
     doctor who can call upon supernatural aids to assist the sick.
   – Most everyday spiritual needs of the Xhosa people focus on
     paying homage to ancestors and spirits.
   – Traditional healers can be consulted for everything from ill health
     to emotional complaints.
   – Today, many Xhosa have adopted Christianity, but still rely on
     the amaguira for particular complaints.
   – Traditional Zulu believe in a supreme being called "The one who
     came first."
   – Everyday needs and complaints can sometimes be resolved by
     consulting a traditional healer who can come up with remedies.
   – Although many Zulu have converted to Christianity, this does not
     bar them from frequenting traditional healers for spiritual,
     emotional or physical matters.
• Customs & Traditions
  – The Zulu have a long and glorious history as
    a nation of mighty warriors.
  – Zulu shields, one of the group's best-known
    symbols, are de rigueur at museums and
    African art galleries.
  – The hand-painted houses of the Ndebele
    people of South Africa are one of the most
   Southern Africa: Ecosystem
• Rainfall & Temperature
  – Located far from the equator, Southern Africa has
    more seasonal weather than elsewhere in Africa.
  – Precipitation can range from as low as two inches per
    year in the Kalahari and Karoo deserts to 40 inches
    per year in South Africa's KwaZulu/Natal province.
  – With some exceptions, winds from Antarctica and
    highland elevation keep Southern Africa's
    temperatures generally mild.
  – During the summer (November-March), highs reach
    the low 80s.
  – Winter (April-September) brings cooler, drier weather
    with lows in the low 60s.
• Topography
  – Southern Africa is like a compressed version
    of the continent as a whole with grassy
    savanna, rolling woodlands, rocky highlands,
    long sandy shores, two deserts, and a floral
    kingdom all its own.
  – Home to all of the so-called Big-five animals
    (Lions, Elephants, Giraffe, Hippos and
    Rhinos) the region is as rich in animal life as it
    is in landscape.
• Vegetation

   – Blessed with multiple eco-systems (grasslands, mountains,
     fertile coastal areas and deserts), Southern Africa boasts
     spectacular vegetation.
   – The Republic of South Africa alone contains more than 9,000
     plant species and 68 separate vegetation types.
   – The most famous vegetation group is the southern coast's Cape
     Floral Kingdom,
    one of the smallest and most
    diverse floral eco-systems on
    the planet.
• Animals
  – Think safari wildlife and think Southern Africa.
  – The region has over 20 state-sponsored
    reserve areas.
  – Though few free-roaming animal populations
    remain (except baboons and some antelope
    species) in South Africa, the country's Kruger
    National Park hosts the world's largest
    concentration of elephants, lions, zebras,
    giraffe, rhinos and more.

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