As concerns the climate and weather, Africa displays remarkable contrast. The northern portion of the continent features wide deserts, while the southern portion is mostly green. Since the equator passing right through this continent, the summers can get unbearably hot. This results in extreme weather variations; for instance in the Sahara, where the temperature in winters nose-dives to the freezing point.
Another problem the continent faces is rainfall, which is neither regular nor sufficient. Which is why Africa contains one-third of the dry lands of the entire world. However, the vicinity of oceans gives the southern Africa a temperate climate, which is where most of the vegetation is concentrated.
Some of the largest, driest, and most menacing deserts are present in Africa. The Sahara Desert in the north of the continent is the largest desert in the world, occupying an area of 9 million square kilometers. That's 90% of the total area of the United States! This and the Kalahari Desert in the south generate giant sand storms that bring much dryness into the surrounding countries.
Other deserts are amply spread throughout, in and around countries such as Algeria, Libya, Kenya, Niger, and others.
In contrast to the dry deserts, Africa also has impressive rivers. The Nile River is the longest one in the continent, and is famous in the world for fostering the ancient Egyptian civilization. Next comes the Congo River, which discharges the highest amount of water among all African rivers. The arid areas are watered by the Niger River, which flows along half of the length of the continent.
There are also many large lakes in Africa, such as Lake Chad and Lake Victoria.
The Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain-range in Africa. This dormant volcano range is 19,341 feet above sea-level at its highest point. Residing mostly in Tanzania, it has three volcanic cones: Shira, Mawenzi, and Kibo. Mount Kenya features the highest peak in the country, and the second-highest in all of the continent. This stratovolcano almost touches the equator, and is estimated to the 3 million-years-old. It has 11 small glaciers.
Other mountain ranges in Africa are Rwenzori, Atlas Mountains, Bale Mountains, etc.
Africa is mostly surrounded by water. On the east is the Indian Ocean, which meets the Atlantic Ocean-which is at the west of Africa-in the south. To the north is the Mediterranean Sea, which can be quickly crossed to reach Europe!