Africa is the second-largest and most populated continent after Asia. It covers around 6% of Earth’s total surface, and it’s the only continent that stretches across the four hemispheres. Considered the oldest mainland, it’s widely believed to be the home of the first human. The continent is also home to the largest desert globally— the Sahara.
In terms of geography, Africa is divided into five major territories:
- North Africa
- East Africa
- Central Africa
- South Africa
- West Africa
Quick Facts About Africa
Here are some interesting facts about Africa:
30.3 million km²
Number of countries
54 (plus two de facto independencies)
Biggest country (by area)
Most populated country
Number of languages spoken
Over 2,000 languages across the continent
Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti)
Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
How Many Countries Are There in Africa?
Africa has 54 independent countries, which include the following:
|Burkina Faso||Ouagadougou||274,200||21.4 million|
|Central African Republic||Bangui||622,984||4.9 million|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||Kinshasa||2,345,410||92.3 million|
|Equatorial Guinea||Malabo||28,051||1.4 million|
|Ethiopia||Addis Ababa||1,127,127||117.8 million|
|Ivory Coast||Abidjan,||322,460||27 million|
|Mauritius||Port Louis||2,040||1.2 million|
|Republic of the Congo||Brazzaville||342,000||5.6 million|
|Sao Tome and Principe||Sao Tome||1,001||223,368|
|Sierra Leone||Freetown||71,740||8.1 million|
|South Africa||Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Pretoria||1,219,912||60 million|
|South Sudan||Juba||619,745||11.3 million|
|The Gambia||Banjul||11,300||2.4 million|
Somaliland, and Western Sahara, are two de facto independent territories that are yet to be fully recognized as sovereign states in Africa.
Map of African Countries
Languages Spoken in Africa
According to UNESCO, more than 2,000 languages are recognized across the continent, but the following languages are the most spoken in Africa:
|Language||Territory||Number of speakers|
|The Democratic Republic of Congo|
|Arabic||Egypt||100- 120 million|
|Sao Tome and Principe|
|Sao Tome and Principe|
|Zulu||South Africa||10 million|
Best Countries to Visit in Africa
Here are some of the most visited countries in Africa:
- Egypt. Home to the famous Pyramids, Egypt saw around 13 million visitors in 2019. It has a lot to offer to tourists starting from the Nile, Valley of the Kings, and the Saqqara complex. Not to mention you can explore the birthplace of one of the oldest civilizations in the world.
- Morocco. Similar to Egypt, in 2019, Morocco saw over 12 million visitors. The foreign visitors were mainly from Europe and the US, and the most visited destinations included Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, and Rabat.
- Namibia. Located in South Africa, Namibia sees over a million visitors annually. It’s mostly known for its ecotourism which allows visitors to experience the wildlife in the country.
- Algeria. With 2.4 million visitors in 2019, Algeria is another famous country in Africa. It has plenty to offer, and one of the most attractive structures in the country is the Sahara Desert. Moreover, in Algeria, you will find Constantine, known for its stunning bridges.
- Tanzania. This African country sees over a million visitors each year, where in only 2019, the number of tourists reached 1.5 million. Tanzania has many national parks and several UNESCO heritage sites that are very attractive to tourists. Additionally, in Zanzibar (an archipelago in Tanzania), you can explore some of the best beaches in Africa.
Most Popular Tourist Destinations in Africa
Africa has plenty to offer to tourists, but some of the most popular attractions include:
- Serengeti National Park. This national park is located in Tanzania and is a World Heritage Site. The park is home to over 2 million animals in Africa, and it’s open to the public for daily tours or even weekly stays. It’s also where the Great Migration happens— a yearly event in which the wildebeest migrates from Serengeti to Masai Mara reserve in Kenya.
- Lake Nakuru. The lake is found in the Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya— one of the most visited parks in the region. It serves as a sanctuary for many endangered species. However, the lake is inhabited by the pink flamingos, which cover the entire area, and from above, you can only see a pink blob instead of the lake.
- Table Mountain. Located in Cape Town, South Africa, Table Mountain is the most visited site in that region, with 4.2 million visitors each year. Unlike other high peaks, the mountain is called a “table mountain” due to its flat top. Moreover, it has diverse flora and fauna, and any visitor can explore the territory via cableway or by just hiking up the mountain.
- Okavango Delta. Known as the “Jewel of the Kalahari,” the Okavango Delta is a must-see phenomenon in Africa. This water sanctuary grows to double its size during the rainy season— becoming the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. Located in Botswana, it’s home to several species of wildlife and new species undiscovered by science before, so you have the opportunity to explore one of nature’s greatest wonders.
- Pyramids of Egypt. There are over 100 identified pyramids located in Egypt— the most famous being the Giza Pyramids. These buildings are some of the oldest man-made structures, and one of them — the Pyramid of Khufu— is a part of the world’s seven wonders.
- Lake Retba. Found in Senegal, Retba is named after its unique pink color. Because of the high salt content, the algae “Dunaliella salina” thrives, making the lake pink and sometimes even blood-red.
Getting a Visa to Visit Africa
Every country in Africa regulates its visa policy, so to visit the continent, you need to apply for an entry permit for your destination country— see below how to get a visa for Africa:
- Algeria visa
- Egypt visa
- Ethiopia visa
- Guinea visa
- Liberia visa
- Morocco visa
- Senegal visa
- Togo visa
- Tunisia visa
- Zambia visa