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What’s Africa’s Biggest Country? and Other Geographical Facts



Beautiful Africa sunset

What’s the biggest country in Africa? That is one of the most searched questions on In this article, we will answer that and other geographical questions about the continent you might have.

Africa is the second-largest continent on the earth’s surface with regards to landmass or geographic size. It covers a total land surface of 11.7 million square miles (8,000 km) and has a population of 1.2 billion people. Fifty-four sovereign nations make up the continent of Africa. The continent accounts for about 16% of the world’s population. 

What’s the Biggest Country in Africa?

Algeria is the biggest country in Africa by landmass. It resides in the northern part of the continent of Africa with a border on the Mediterranean Sea. Countries bordering Algeria include Tunisia to the northeast, Morocco to the west, Mauritania, Western Sahara and Mali to the southwest, Libya to the east, and Niger to the southeast. 

Though the biggest in Africa, Algeria’s population figure for 2016 stood at about 40.4 million. Africa’s biggest country is the tenth-largest country in the world by landmass. Four-fourth of Algeria’s landmass falls within the Sahara desert. Thus, making the country the hottest in Africa. The country spans about 2,381,741 square kilometers. Algeria comprises more of Muslims and falls within the Maghreb and Arab world. 

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There are several interesting sites to see in Algeria as it can boast of seven UNESCO sites. Its beaches, sand surfing, camel rides, and more will make your trip a delight.

What’s the biggest county in Africa, by population?

Nigeria, however, is the largest country in African in terms of population with at least four times the size of Algeria. In 2020, Nigeria’s population is estimated to be 206 million. Nigeria is ranked 7th in the world by population. 

Geographical Facts About the African Continent

Africa has a wide geography ranges, from tropical to subarctic, with deserts, savanna plains, and rainforest regions.

Which Oceans Surround Africa?

Uniquely positioned, Africa houses two outstanding ocean beds. They are the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The Mediterranean Sea resides on the northern axis of Africa. But parts of the continent shares coastlines on the Red Sea. 

The African continent seems to have an interesting historical attachment to the second spot geographically. And that has to do with the second-longest river in the world; the River Nile. 

The river Nile measures approximately 4,258 miles. It rises from the south of the Equator and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. River Nile covers nations like Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Egypt, DRC, Ethiopia, and Sudan. 

Does the Equator Divide Africa?

The Equator does divide Africa. That means the continent is also divided by two tropics, the Tropic of Cancer on the North and the Tropic of Capricorn in the South. The Tropic of Cancer, also known as the Northern Tropic, is the Latitude of the Earth, where the sun is directly overhead. Its position isn’t fixed as it is continuously changing. On the other hand, the Tropic of Capricorn is the southern Tropic with the same feature as its counterpart. 

We will find a bulge in the west of Africa. The bulge puts the majority of the countries on the North of the Equator. However, the African continent extends to the Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern Hemispheres. The Equator runs at about 2,500miles through the West, East, and Central Africa.

Is Africa Mostly Dessert?  

Another exciting feature of Africa includes ancient rocks, mountains, plateaus, and rivers scattered across the various nations. Africa is also known for its varied ecosystems and humid to warm tropical regions. Eight natural areas exist in African. They are the Sahara, the Sahel, Highlands, rainforest, Savanna, Coast, Great Lakes, and southern Africa.

Despite its size, Africa consists mostly of grasslands (Savannas) covering 5 million square miles. Thus, making the continent home to different types of animals. The grasslands extend from the south with the Sahara and Sahel to the North.

Towards the equator line, Africa has some of the most dense rainforests in the world.

What’s the size of the Sahara Dessert? 

biggest country in africa

The Sahara desert is one of Africa’s heritage to the world. It is one of the largest and hottest deserts in the world at 38-46°C. Do you know that the Sahara desert is nearly the size of the continent of the United States? Its length and breadth span approximately 8,600,000 square kilometers. The size, however, changes with the season due to expansion and contraction. 

Sahara desert interestingly shares almost one-third of the continent with the countries. It stretches across 11 countries on the continent. Countries such as Tunisia, Sudan, Western Sahara, Niger, Mali, Morocco, Egypt, Chad, Algeria, and Mauritania all fall within the desert. 

Contrary to its harsh weather feature, The Sahara has a wide range of wildlife. They overtime have adapted to the weather conditions but do migrate during seasons of drought (The Great Migration). 

Do people live in the Sahara Dessert?

You will find human life within the Sahara desert as about 2.5 million people live in settlements. Some of them are travelers, herdsmen, or permanent residents. The land’s surface has dunes and sheets as covering. Many of the dunes are as high as 180 meters, with the highest point being 3,415 meters. As part of its land features, gravel plains, salt flats, plateaus, and mountains are present.

What’s The Great Migration?

biggest country in africa

The Great Migration also refers to the Wildebeest migration. It’s a beautiful sight to behold as at least 1.5 million animals throng the desert floor. You find Burchell Zebra, gazelle, and more on a yearlong trek.

They migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and head to the Masai Mara region of Kenya. They cover at least 1,200 miles in search of food and water. But they will return once the climatic conditions normalize. It takes the animals from May till December to make the journey.

Where’s the Swahili coast?

The Swahili coast is located along the Indian Ocean and stretches at about 1,610km from Mozambique to Somalia. Due to its significant vegetation (mainly the mangrove forest), animal life is highly present here.

What Great Lakes are Located in Africa?

Also, Africa is home to some great Lakes. Of the 54 nations, about nine of them houses some of the greatest lakes in the world. An intriguing example is Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Edward and Lake Malawi contain the widest variety of fish species in the world. Others are Lake Albert, Lake Kivu, Lake Turkana, and Lake Tanganyika. These lakes constitute 25% of the planet’s unfrozen freshwater.

The Sahel

The Sahel is a semiarid land known for its fertility. Recently, events like deforestation, drought, and intense agricultural activities have fast turned the region more into a desert. 

The Mountains of Africa

Mountains are standard features in Africa. They are usually combined with wildlife experience if climbing is your aim. The historic Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mount in Africa and located in Tanzania. It also ranks as the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Other mountains include Mount Kenya, Mount Meru, Mount Elgon, the Atlas Mountain, the Drakensberg, and many more.

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most attractive tourist sites in Africa, attracting hikers and climbers globally. March to May offer the best seasons of the year for visiting.

Does Africa Have Bears?

This is actually a very good question.

Africa does not have bears. The Atlas Bear, a subspecies of a Brown Bear, is believed to have been Africa’s only native bear. It once inhabited the Atlas Mountains and neighboring areas, around Morocco and Libya. But the animal now is extinct.

There are countless questions to ask and to learn about Africa since mass media or our education system fails to shine much light on the continent. From ‘what’s the biggest country in Africa?’ to are there ‘any bears in Africa?’, keep Googling your questions!

Africa, to some extent, is still virgin land. It has excellent potentials with enormous natural and human resources requiring harnessing.  

Also, the continent has exceptional tourism potentials with some existing UN heritage sites, aside from the countless natural wonders.  There are hundreds more yet undiscovered.