Africa’s Physical Landscapes

Mount Maru Physical geography is the study of processes that shape the Earth’s surface. All of the rivers, mountains, fields, and valleys that make up our neighborhoods (and cities and states and countries) add up to create the physical geography of our planet.

And the African continent has one of the most unique physical geographies in the world: the world’s largest desert and longest river, plus mountains, plains, woodlands, valleys, volcanic rifts, and much, much more.

This great variety of landscapes makes Africa the perfect place to celebrate geography—and sets the backdrop for our Geography Awareness Week look at its cultures, wildlife, resources, and history. Explore the African continent and take a journey beyond your wildest imagination!

Photograph of Tanzania’s Mount Maru by Dan Westergren/National Geographic Image Collection


General Information

  • Africa Regions (PBS and National Geographic)

  • Africa People and Places (National Geographic)

  • Africa: The Living Land (ThinkQuest)

  • <a href=";Surviving the Sahara (National Geographic magazine)

  • The Blue Nile (National Geographic magazine)

  • The Strangest Volcano on Earth (National Geographic magazine)

  • Virtual Tour of Kilimanjaro (PBS)


  • MapMachine (National Geographic and ESRI)

  • Blank outline maps of Africa (National Geographic Xpeditions)

  • Google Earth 3-D Globe

    In Google Earth

  • Africa Megaflyover
    Get a rich, unique aerial view of Africa’s physical geography with this series of geo-referenced photos from conservationist Michael Fay. To view the photos, open Google Earth (get it free here) and click the box next to “Africa Megaflyover” in the Featured Content folder. Then zoom into the African continent, click on the red airplane icons, and explore! (Learn more about the Africa Megaflyover.)


  • African Countries (Addicting Games)

  • Africa Puzzle (SchoolNet)

  • Africa Geography Quizzes (TriviaPlaza)

  • Africa Landscapes Quiz (ThinkQuest)

    Lesson Plans

    From ESRI:

    From National Geographic Xpeditions:

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