Africa

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There are almost 200 sovereign states in the world today; in 1950 there were only 82. Over the last half-century national self-determination has been a driving force for many states with a history of colonialism and oppression. As more borders have been added to the world map, the number of international border disputes has increased. In many cases, where the impetus toward independence has been religious or ethnic, disputes with minority groups have also caused violent internal conflict. While many newly-formed states have moved peacefully toward independence, successfully establishing government by multiparty democracy, dictatorship by military regime or individual despot is often the result of the internal power-struggles which characterize the early stages in the lives of new nations.

World Route Planner provides a searchable Africa gazetteer based on Google Maps, Driving Directions and Google Street view in the cities of Africa. World Route Planner and Google Maps together are the most comprehensive Online Satellite Imagery ever available on the Internet. Thousands of cities in Africa divided into countries, counties, administrative regions and cities. World Route Planner also provides detailed Time Zones and Daylight map for Africa. Google Maps is here for you, do not wait, explore Africa now!

The Google Street View service, i.e. to activate Street View on any city of Africa, drag above the Zoom feature the yellow little man in the map.

Facts of Africa

The world’s second largest continent, Africa covers an area of 11,712,434 sq miles (30,355,000 sq km). It has 57 separate countries, including Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean – the highest number of any continent.

 
  • Greatest extent, North–South: 4737 miles / 7623 km
  • Greatest extent, East–West: 4511 miles / 7260 km
  • Most northerly point: Jalta, Tunisia 37° 31’ N
  • Most southerly point: Cape Agulhas, South Africa 34° 52’ S
  • Most easterly point: Raas Xaafuun, Somalia 51° 24’ E
  • Highest recorded temperature: Al ‘Aziziyah, Libya 136°F (58°C)
  • Lowest recorded temperature: Ifrane, Morocco -11°F (-24°C)
  • Most westerly point: Santo Antão, Cape Verde 25° 11’ W
  • Largest lake: Lake Victoria, Uganda/Kenya/Tanzania 26,560 sq miles (68,880 sq km)
  • Highest point: Kilimanjaro, Tanzania 19,341 ft (5895 m)
  • Lowest point: Lac ‘Assal, Djibouti -512 ft (-156 m) below sea level
The structure of Africa was dramatically influenced by the break up of the supercontinent Gondwanaland about 160 million years ago and, more recently, rifting and hot spot activity. Today, much of Africa is remote from active plate boundaries and comprises a series of extensive plateaus and deep basins, which influence the drainage patterns of major rivers. The relief rises to the east, where volcanic uplands and vast lakes mark the Great Rift Valley. In the far north and south sedimentary rocks have been folded to form the Atlas Mountains and the Great Karoo.

Northern Africa

Northern Africa comprises a system of basins and plateaus. The Tibesti and Ahaggar are volcanic uplands, whose uplift has been matched by subsidence within large surrounding basins. Many of the basins have been infilled with sand and gravel, creating the vast Saharan lands. The Atlas Mountains in the north were formed by convergence of the African and Eurasian plates.

Southern Africa

The Great Escarpment marks the southern boundary of Africa’s basement rock and includes the Drakensberg range. It was uplifted when Gondwanaland fragmented about 160 million years ago and it has gradually been eroded back from the coast. To the north, the relief drops steadily, forming the Kalahari Basin. In the far south are the fold mountains of the Great Karoo.

East Africa

The Great Rift Valley is the most striking feature of this region, running for 4475 miles (7200 km) from Lake Nyasa to the Red Sea. North of Lake Nyasa it splits into two arms and encloses an interior plateau which contains Lake Victoria. A number of elongated lakes and volcanoes lie along the fault lines. To the west lies the Congo Basin, a vast, shallow depression, which rises to form an almost circular rim of highlands.

Climate

The climates of Africa range from mediterranean to arid, dry savannah, and humid equatorial. In East Africa, where snow settles at the summit of volcanoes such as Kilimanjaro, climate is also modified by altitude. The winds of the Sahara export millions of tonnes of dust a year both northward and eastward.

Shaping the continent

African landscapes are shaped by the intensity of climatic extremes and by tectonic action. High aridity, wind action, and infrequent but heavy rainstorms, lead to the migration of sand dunes and dramatic flash flooding across much of the north and west. In the wetter areas, high precipitation increases the rate of weathering. To the east, the rift system has created a volcanic and lake environment and allowed rivers to erode weaknesses left in the crustal structure by faults.

Political Africa

The political map of modern Africa only emerged following the end of the Second World War. Over the next half-century, all of the countries formerly controlled by European powers gained independence from their colonial rulers – only Liberia and Ethiopia were never colonized. The postcolonial era has not been an easy period for many countries, but there have been moves toward multiparty democracy across much of the continent. In South Africa, democratic elections replaced the internationally-condemned apartheid system only in 1994. Other countries have still to find political stability; corruption in government, and ethnic tensions are serious problems. National infrastructures, based on the colonial transportation systems built to exploit Africa’s resources, are often inappropriate for independent economic development.

Transportation

African railroads were built to aid the exploitation of natural resources, and most offer passage only from the interior to the coastal cities, leaving large parts of the continent untouched – five landlocked countries have no railroads at all. The Congo, Nile, and Niger river networks offer limited access to land within the continental interior, but have a number of waterfalls and cataracts which prevent navigation from the sea. Many roads were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, but economic difficulties are making the maintenance and expansion of the networks difficult.

Population

Africa has a rapidly-growing population of over 900 million people, yet over 75% of the continent remains sparsely populated. Most Africans still pursue a traditional rural lifestyle, though urbanization is increasing as people move to the cities in search of employment. The greatest population densities occur where water is more readily available, such as in the Nile Valley, the coasts of North and West Africa, along the Niger, the eastern African highlands, and in South Africa.

Languages

Three major world languages act as lingua francas across the African continent: Arabic in North Africa; English in southern and eastern Africa and Nigeria; and French in Central and West Africa, and in Madagascar. A huge number of African languages are spoken as well – over 2000 have been recorded, with more than 400 in Nigeria alone – reflecting the continuing importance of traditional cultures and values. In the north of the continent, the extensive use of Arabic reflects Middle Eastern influences while Bantu languages are widely-spoken across much of southern Africa.

African resources

The economies of most African countries are dominated by subsistence and cash crop agriculture, with limited industrialization. Manufacturing is largely confined to South Africa. Many countries depend on a single resource, such as copper or gold, or a cash crop, such as coffee, for export income, which can leave them vulnerable to fluctuations in world commodity prices. In order to diversify their economies and develop a wider industrial base, investment from overseas is being actively sought by many African governments.

Standard of living

Since the 1960s most countries in Africa have seen significant improvements in life expectancy, healthcare, and education. However, 28 of the 30 most deprived countries in the world are African, and the continent as a whole lies well behind the rest of the world in terms of meeting many basic human needs.

Industry

Many African industries concentrate on the extraction and processing of raw materials. These include the oil industry, food processing, mining, and textile production. South Africa accounts for over half of the continent’s industrial output with much of the remainder coming from the countries along the northern coast. Over 60% of Africa’s workforce is employed in agriculture.

Environmental issues

One of Africa’s most serious environmental problems occurs in marginal areas such as the Sahel where scrub and forest clearance, often for cooking fuel, combined with overgrazing, are causing desertification. Game reserves in southern and eastern Africa have helped to preserve many endangered animals, although the needs of growing populations have led to conflict over land use, and poaching is a serious problem.

Using the land and sea

Some of Africa’s most productive agricultural land is found in the eastern volcanic uplands, where fertile soils support a wide range of valuable export crops including vegetables, tea, and coffee. The most widelygrown grain is corn and peanuts are particularly important in West Africa. Without intensive irrigation, cultivation is not possible in desert regions and unreliable rainfall in other areas limits crop production. Pastoral herding is most commonly found in these marginal lands. Substantial local fishing industries are found along coasts and in vast lakes such as Lake Nyasa and Lake Victoria.

Mineral resources

Africa’s ancient plateaus contain some of the world’s most substantial reserves of precious stones and metals. About 15% of the world’s gold is mined in South Africa; Zambia has great copper deposits; and diamonds are mined in Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa. Oil has brought great economic benefits to Algeria, Libya, and Nigeria.

Countries in Africa with Google maps and Gazetteers

Browse the most comprehensive and up-to-date online directory of countries and administrative regions in Africa. Regions and Google maps with places in Africa are sorted in alphabetical order from level 1 to level 2 and eventually up to level 3 regions. Google Maps and Driving Directions to Africa are here for you, do not wait, explore Africa and the beautiful countries of this continent now!

Algeria (48 google map locations)
Angola (18 google map locations)
Bassas da India
Benin (3174 google map locations)
Botswana (9 google map locations)
British Indian Ocean Territory
Burkina Faso (45 google map locations)
Burundi (16 google map locations)
Cameroon (10 google map locations)
Cape Verde (51 google map locations)
Central African Republic (17 google map locations)
Chad (14 google map locations)
Comoros (3 google map locations)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the (11 google map locations)
Congo, Republic of the (246 google map locations)
Cote d'Ivoire (6124 google map locations)
Djibouti (6 google map locations)
Egypt (26 google map locations)
Equatorial Guinea (7 google map locations)
Eritrea (771 google map locations)
Ethiopia (6116 google map locations)
Europa Island
Gabon (9 google map locations)
Gambia, The (65 google map locations)
Ghana (10 google map locations)
Glorioso Islands
Guinea (34 google map locations)
Guinea-Bissau (107 google map locations)
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Juan de Nova Island
Kenya (8 google map locations)
Lesotho (10 google map locations)
Liberia (1098 google map locations)
Libya (48 google map locations)
Madagascar (6 google map locations)
Malawi (3711 google map locations)
Mali (3828 google map locations)
Mauritania (12 google map locations)
Mauritius (12 google map locations)
Mayotte (140 google map locations)
Morocco (16 google map locations)
Mozambique (11 google map locations)
Namibia (13 google map locations)
Niger (8 google map locations)
Nigeria (37 google map locations)
Reunion (321 google map locations)
Rwanda (10 google map locations)
Saint Helena (13 google map locations)
Sao Tome and Principe (2 google map locations)
Senegal (144 google map locations)
Seychelles (27 google map locations)
Sierra Leone (4 google map locations)
Somalia (16 google map locations)
South Africa (9 google map locations)
Sudan (5094 google map locations)
Swaziland (27 google map locations)
Tanzania (26 google map locations)
Togo (141 google map locations)
Tromelin Island
Tunisia (24 google map locations)
Uganda (3963 google map locations)
Western Sahara (28 google map locations)
Zambia (9 google map locations)
Zimbabwe (10 google map locations)

The nature of politics

Democracy is a broad term: it can range from the ideal of multiparty elections and fair representation to, in countries such as Singapore, a thin disguise for singleparty rule. In despotic regimes, on the other hand, a single, often personal authority has total power; institutions such as parliament and the military are mere instruments of the dictator.

The changing world map

Decolonization In 1950, large areas of the world remained under the control of a handful of European countries. The process of decolonization had begun in Asia, where, following the Second World War, much of southern and southeastern Asia sought and achieved self-determination. In the 1960s, a host of African states achieved independence, so that by 1965, most of the larger tracts of the European overseas empires had been substantially eroded. The final major stage in decolonization came with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc after 1990. The process continues today as the last toeholds of European colonialism, often tiny island nations, press increasingly for independence.

The determination of international boundaries can use a variety of criteria. Many of the borders between older states follow physical boundaries; some mirror religious and ethnic differences; others are the legacy of complex histories of conflict and colonialism, while others have been imposed by international agreements or arbitration.

Post-colonial borders

When the European colonial empires in Africa were dismantled during the second half of the 20th century, the outlines of the new African states mirrored colonial boundaries. These boundaries had been drawn up by colonial administrators, often based on inadequate geographical knowledge. Such arbitrary boundaries were imposed on people of different languages, racial groups, religions, and customs. This confused legacy often led to civil and international war.

Physical borders

Many of the world’s countries are divided by physical borders: lakes, rivers, mountains. The demarcation of such boundaries can, however, lead to disputes. Control of waterways, water supplies, and fisheries are frequent causes of international friction.

International disputes

There are more than 60 disputed borders or territories in the world today. Although many of these disputes can be settled by peaceful negotiation, some areas have become a focus for international conflict. Ethnic tensions have been a major source of territorial disagreement throughout history, as has the ownership of, and access to, valuable natural resources. The turmoil of the postcolonial era in many parts of Africa is partly a result of the 19th century “carve-up” of the continent, which created potential for conflict by drawing often arbitrary lines through linguistic and cultural areas.

This Africa map is for informational use only. No representation is made or warranty given as to its content. User assumes all risk of using Google maps and Google Driving Directions. World Route Planner assumes no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use of free Africa map.

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