Climate is an average pattern of weather and temperature over a period of time.
It is a region’s climate, together with physical landscape, that determines plant life found there.
The climate is influenced by its latitude or how far to the north or south of the equator it lays. Regions around the equator are the hottest in the world.
Closer to the poles, the colder it gets. Africa’s climatic zones fall into three broad categories: humid equatorial, dry and humid tem- perate.
In West and Central Africa, along the Guinea Coast, in Gabon, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, north-eastern Republic of the Congo, and in East Africa south of the equator in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar the climate is humid.
The regions nearest the equator receive year-round rainfall, while those north and south of it experience short dry winters and a lower average annual amount of rainfall.
Where the dry seasons are long enough, equatorial regions give way to dry regions.
In the north, the Sahel desert stretches from east to west through Mali, Niger, Chad, and Sudan and borders the Sahara.
In the deserts themselves, rainfall is extremely scarce and temperatures are very extreme.
Although the daytime temperatures in the desert are high, due to the lack of plants and moisture, nights can be extremely cold.
The coastal regions of North Africa and southern tip of Africa experience temperate or “Mediterranean” weather, including dry summers and wet winters, due to their proximity to the oceans
Africa is the world’s second-largest continent — 30 065 000km² covering approximately 20 percent of the Earth’s land and 6 percent of the Earth’s surface .
It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Indian Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the north.
The Red Sea and Suez Canal lie to the north-east and separate Africa from Asia.
The longest river in the World, The Nile, measuring 6 695km — flows north ending in a delta that empties into the Mediterranean Sea.
The world’s largest desert, The Sahara, measuring 9 000 000km², covers much of North Africa.
The Kalahari Desert in south-west Africa measures 259 000km².
The Atlas mountain range lies in the north-west of Africa and the highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, 5 895m, is in Tanzania.
Regions and seasons
Africa is broadly divided into five regions as shown on the map right.
The seasons are fairly well-defined in those regions that lie in the northern and southern hemispheres — the north and south of Africa.
Spring March, April, May Summer June, July, August
Autumn September, October,
Winter December, January, February
Spring August, September, October
Summer November, December,
Autumn February, March, April
Winter May, June, July
The seasons of western, central and eastern Africa are less easy to define since these regions lie between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and tend to have a more constant temperature range throughout the year.
The climate of Africa is governed by its position on the globe and can be broadly divided into five different climate types:
Rainforest — This region is characterised by very high temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year.
Savanna — This region has very high temperatures all year and rain during the summer season only.
Steppe—This region has high temperatures all year and only limited rainfall during the summer season.
Desert — High temperatures throughout the year with very little rainfall.
Mediterranean — Warm to high temperatures with rainfall in the autumn and winter months.
There are 54 countries in Africa
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo (DRC), Cote d’Ivoire,
Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The plant life of Africa is wide and varied and differs according to climatic region.
The desert regions are home to those plants that can survive the arid conditions and include varieties of cypress, olive trees and cactii.
The steppe and savanna regions are characterised by large open areas of tall grass.
The rainforest areas are jungles of dense, wet forests.
The grassland areas of Africa are home to many well-known wild animals including aardvark, African elephant, antelope, baboon, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, gnu, hippopotamus, hyena, impala, jackal, leopard, lion, meerkat, mongoose, ostrich, rhinoceros, vulture, wildebeest and zebra.
The rainforest areas are home to a wide variety of insects, birds and animals including — antelope, chimpanzee, gorilla, Mandrill, okapi, hippopotamus and parrots. — www.naturalgeostands.com