Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Things You Didn't Know About Africa

Africa is a weird and wonderful continent. There are so many facts about Africa which we don’t really know at all. The continent of Africa possesses some unique and marvelous, biological and geological attributes. Also, the African people and the impressive amalgam of African cultures is what makes Africa a truly interesting continent.

1. Home to 55 000 Penguins
photo source
African Penguins are endangered, with around 55 000 remaining in the world.  Roughly 4 million penguins existed at the beginning of the last century. The total population fell to 200 000 in the year 2000; ten years later, in 2010, the number was estimated to be only at 55 000. If this decline is not halted, the African Penguin is expected to be extinct within 15 years.

2. The World's Largest Producer Of Diamonds
photo source
Africa is the world's largest producer of diamonds, producing as much as 50% of global production. To date, Africa has produced over 75%, in value, of the world's diamonds with more than 1.9 billion carats worth an estimated $US 158 billion mined. Angola, Botswana and South Africa are leading producers of diamods.

3. The Only African Country That Has Never Been Colonized
EthiopiaOldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years. The country comprises of more than 80 ethnic groups and as many languages. Primarily their shared independent existence unites Ethiopia's many nations. Unique among African countries, Ethiopia has never been colonised, one exception being the Italian occupation in 1936-41.

4. Lake With the Largest Number of Fish Species
photo source
Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, probably over 500 from ten families. Particularly noteworthy are the Cichlidae, of which all but five of over 400 species are endemic to Lake Malawi. The lake contains 30% of all known cichlid species. Of particular interest is the 'mbuna' rock fish.

5. Sudan Has Twice as Many Pyramids Than Egypt
Sudanese Pyramids  photo source
Sudan has more pyramids than any other country on Earth - even more than Egypt. There are at least 223 pyramids in the Sudanese cities of Al Kurru, Nuri, Gebel Barkal and Meroë (Egypt is home to some 110 pyramids). They are generally 20 to 30 metres (65 -100 ft) high and steep sided.

6. The Second Largest Hospital in the World
photo source
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the second largest hospital in the world after West China hospital of Medical Sciences, Sichuan University, occupying 173 acres (0.70 km2), with 3 200 beds and 6 760 staff members. The hospital is in the Soweto area of Johannesburg, South Africa.

7. Richest Country in Africa
Equatorial Guinea is the richest country in Africa. Most people have never heard of it. This country flew into stardom after 1996 when large oil reserves were found in the nation of only 0,5 million people. While being one of the largest producers of oil in Africa, little has been made to improve the living conditions of the people. Corruption is widespread and ordinary people are mostly living in poverty. The gap between rich and poor is probably the largest in the world. The GDP per capita is $30,200. Botswana is second with a GDP of $15,800. Coming in last is Zimbabwe at $200 per year.

8. Disappearing Lake Chad
Lake Chad, once the fourth-largest body of water in Africa, has shrunk by almost 95 % over the past 38 years, according to research sponsored by the US space agency Nasa. Worse, climate change and increasing demands for water have drained the lake to such an extent that it will shortly be nothing more than a “puddle”.

9.  The Expansion of the Sahara Desert
photo source
The Sahara Desert is expanding because of desertification; the process of earth/land turning into desert due to the loss of moisture in the soil and loss of vegetation. Also it may be caused by human activity and an increase in the human population in one area. The largest Desert in the world, the Sahara is growing by about ½ a mile a month.

10. Country With the Largest Concentration of Wild Animals
photo source
Tanzania has the largest concentration of wild animals. The country contains some 20 % of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its 14 national parks, reserves, conservation areas and marine parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 sq km (16,000 sq mi) and forming more than one-third of the country's territory.

11.  Three Capitals of South Africa
Cape Town  stadium wallpapers
South Africa is definitely a unique destination for visitors – as opposed to any other country in the world, South Africa has three different capital cities. Cape Town is the legislative capital, Pretoria is the executive capital, and Bloemfontein the judicial capital.

12. Endemic Species of Madagascar
The ring-tailed lemur is one of around 100 known species and subspecies of lemur found only in Madagascar photo source
As a result of the island's long isolation from neighboring continents, Madagascar is home to a vast array of plants and animals, many found nowhere else on Earth. Approximately 80% of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic, including the lemur infraorder of primates, the carnivorous fossa and three avian families. Over 10,000 plant species are native to Madagascar, of which 90% are found nowhere else in the world. This distinctive ecology has led some ecologists to refer to Madagascar as the "eighth continent", and the island has been classified by Conservation International as a biodiversity hotspot.
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