Geogrphy of Southern Africa

By Esther 2nd

Namib Desert

This desert is the world's oldest desert. It has existed for 43 million years remaining unchanged in the last 2 million. The Namib is a desert that stretches along the entire coastline. It is made up of gravely plains and dunes of all kinds.

Cape of Good Hope

This cape was discovered by Portuguese navigator, Bartolomeu Dias. It is a beautiful long stretching outbound cape with a view of the ocean. This cape is a rocky headland formed by sandstones.


This is the largest city in South Africa. It is on the eastern plateau of South Africa. The city's streams contribute 2 major rivers the Limpopo and the Orange. The area has a subtropical highland climate and has a high elevation. The people there enjoy mild temperatures and a sunny winter.

Zambezi River

The Zambezi starts in a black marshy area in Zambia. It is split into three parts the upper, middle and lower. The upper part flows to the southwest and ends in Angola for about 150 miles. It then flows to the east for 120 miles and enters the Lake Cahora Bassa. The lower part flows from there to the Indian Ocean.

Limpopo River

This river flows slowly with a lot of silt. It flows in a great arc, starts zigzagging north and northeast then turns east and lastly southeast. The river serves as a border separating South Africa from Botswana. The Limpopo provides a good irrigation area.


Lusaka is the capital and the largest city of Zambia. The city's population is about 1.7 million. It has a high altitude and a humid subtropical climate. English is the official language in the city. Lusaka is important because it is the center f business and trade in Zambia

Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari desert is a large sandy savanna. It covers a lot of Botswana, parts of Namibia and South Africa. The desert has vast land covered with red sand. But unlike regular deserts the Kalahari desert receives a decent amount of rainfall. The Bushmen have lived there for almost 20,000 years as hunters and gatherers. The Kalahari Desert provides shelter, nutrients and food for many plants as well as animals.


Cabinda is a province and an exclave of Angola. It is in west central Africa and is 7,283 square kilometers. Cabinda is divided into four municipalities: Belize, Buco Zau, Cabinda and Cacongo. It is not connected to Angola. The population is about 264,584 and about 3,500 are in refugee camps. While under Portuguese rule Cabinda developed as an important agricultural and forestry center, and in 1967 it discovered huge offshore oil fields.

Orange River

This river starts in the Drakensberg Mountains along the border of South Africa and Lesotho. The river then runs westward through South Africa, forming the south-western boundary of the Free State province. From the border of Lesotho to below the VanderKloof Dam the river bed is deep. Further downstream the land is flatter, and the river is used for irrigation. The Orange River is very important because it provides a belt of green vegetation through an otherwise hot and dry desert.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. This waterfall is claimed to be the largest. It has a width of 5,604 ft and a height of 354 ft. It is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The falls are important because they were named after Queen Victoria by Livingstone in 1885.