Africa

Africa includes the regions of Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa. Countries and territories include, on the Atlantic Coast: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Western Sahara and offshore Cape Verde (West Africa); on the Indian Ocean coast: Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda with the islands of Madagascar, Réunion, and the Seychelles (East Africa); on the Mediterranean Sea are the coastlines of Algeria, Egypt, Libyan Arab Jmahiriya, Morocco, Tunisia (North Africa) and in the inland centre Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Zaire with the River Congo draining into the Atlantic Ocean (Central Africa). Near the south Atlantic, Southern or Indian Oceans lie Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and offshore islands Mauritius, Mayotte, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha (Southern Africa). The general term Africa South of Sahara includes countries on both sides of the Continent.
 
The east coast of Africa borders the Indian Ocean, which is the smallest and shallowest of the ocean basins, lying primarily in the Southern Hemisphere. Its continental shelf is relatively narrow. In the north, the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf discharge warm, saline, subsurface water. A few large islands are present in the Indian Ocean, especially in the western part (Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion); many are volcanoes, some still active. There are several groups of low-lying limestone islands with extensive reefs (Maldives, Seychelles). The South Atlantic Ocean, bordering the west coast of Africa, is deeper with variable width continental margins. The Congo River flows into the equatorial Atlantic, as well as drainage from most of the African continent. There are relatively few islands such as the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and St Helena. The Mediterranean Sea, a marginal basin, lies between the continents of Europe and Africa, to the north. To the south, the African continent dips into the Southern Ocean, a region of special importance in ocean circulation.

More information and images on Africa provided by our National Geographic partner.