Southern African defines the area from the verges of the rain forests until Africa’s south coast. In this area, almost all landscapes of the continent can be found. Savannahs and steppes alternate with majestic mountain ranges and endless deserts.
In the south, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet. Madagascar, Africa’s biggest island, lies in the Indian Ocean.
The Namib Desert in the southwest of Africa
The Namib Desert is a very dry desert at the Atlantic Ocean. It ranges from Angola to Namibia. The Namib is the oldest desert on earth and has been unchanged since many million years. Its name means “empty place” and indeed is regarded as one of the most inhospitable places of the planet. Evidence of humans living in the Namib through time extends back to the early stone age era. Signs of their existence can still be seen existence can still be seen today in the many rock paintings. Barely anything grows in the Namib and it is extremely hot. Only few animals have adapted to this harsh desert.
More about animals of the Southern Deserts
Kalahari Desert is a semi-desert in southern Africa
Kalahari stands for “Land of the great thirst”. The Kalahari Desert is a semi-desert made up of red sand. It is three times the size of Germany and extends across the borders of five countries. In the middle of Kalahari is an animal paradise, the Okavango Delta. The green oasis is created by the river Okavango, one of the longest rivers in Africa. It does not flow into the Atlantic Ocean but seeps away into the desert sand. As if by magic, the river makes the desert blossom. No wonder, that Africa’s densest animal world lives here.
The Zambesi – Africa’s most beautiful river
The Zambesi has its source in the mountains of the republic of Congo and winds through southern Africa, until it flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It runs through the most beautiful landscapes of southern Africa and offers a true spectacle: The Victoria Falls. At the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambesi falls into a 110-metre-deep canyon. The Zambians call the river “smoke that thunders”, because the falling masses of water can be heard from many kilometres away.
The majestic Drakensberg Mountains
Drakensberg means dragon mountains. The jagged mountain peaks are indeed similar to the arched back of a dragon. They are the highest mountains of southern Africa. Some mountains are three-and-a-half-thousand metres high and are snowed in in winter. There are deep ravines and valleys, clear rivers and untouched meadows. Some rare animal species, such as the bearded vulture, have only survived in this spectacular mountain world.
Africa’s most southern point
The Cape of Good Hope is Africa’s most southern point. Here, Table Mountain towers. Over the course of millions of years, it arose through wind and erosions. On this mountain grow more various plant species than in all of Great Britain, and some of them can only be found on this mountain. The Table Mountain lies in Cape Town and is considered as one of the landmarks of South Africa.
Peoples in southern Africa
In southern Africa live Bantu peoples such as the Ndebele, the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi and Sotho. Minorities descend from Dutch, English and Asian settlers. However, the native inhabitants are the Bushmen or the San. Most of them live in the Kalahari, a semi desert. They are hunters and gatherers. No other people knows more about the animals and plants of the savannah and the deserts.
Countries belonging to southern Africa