Geography of Southern Africa

V.S. 6

Geography of Southern Africa

Below, you will find pictures of ten different geographical features of Southern Africa: The Namib Desert, Cape of Good Hope, Johannesburg, Zambezi River, Limpopo River, Lusaka, The Kalahari Desert, Cabinda (an exclave), Orange River, and Victoria Falls. Following the pictures will be a small description of each geographical feature. Enjoy!

The Namib Desert

The Namib Desert

The Namib is a coastal desert in southern Africa. Did you know that the Namib is also the oldest desert in the world? The Namib stretches for more than 2,000 kilometers along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa. Temperatures along the coast are stable and generally range between 9–20 °C annually, though temperatures further inland vary. The Namib is an important location for mining of tungsten, salt, and diamonds!

Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. The Cape of Good Hope is at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula. When people would sail around the continent it was a sign that they were half way there, thus resulting in hope.



Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, by population. The city is one of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the world, and is also the world's largest city not situated on a river, lake, or coastline. The city is the source of a large-scale gold and diamond trade, due to its location on the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills. According to the 2007 Community Survey, the population of the City of Johannesburg was 4,434,827.

Zambezi River

The Zambezi River

The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 square kilometres. The 1,599 mile-long river has its source in Zambia and flows through eastern Angola. It ends in the Indian Ocean. The Zambezi's most noted feature is Victoria Falls! The Zambezi also supports several hundred species of fish. Did you know that one of the important species include cichlids? The river valley is rich in mineral deposits and fossil fuels, and coal mining is important in places. The dams along its length also provide employment for many people near them, in maintaining the hydroelectric power stations and the dams themselves. Several parts of the river are also very popular tourist destinations.

Limpopo River

The Limpopo River

The Limpopo River rises in central southern Africa, and flows generally eastwards to the Indian Ocean. The river is approximately 1,087 miles long, with a drainage basin 415,000 square kilometers in size. The Limpopo is the second largest river in Africa that drains to the Indian Ocean, after the Zambezi River. There is a lot of mining activity in the Limpopo River basin with about 1,900 mines, not counting about 1,700 abandoned mines.



Lusaka is the capital and largest city of Zambia. It is one of the fastest-developing cities in Southern Africa. In 2010, the city's population was about 1.7 million. In recent years, Lusaka has become a popular urban settlement for Zambians and tourists both. It is an important mesa of business.

Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a large semi-arid sandy savannah in Southern Africa extending 900,000 square kilometers. There are small amounts of rainfall and the summer temperature is very high. The only permanent river is the Okavango. In 1996 DeBeers evaluated the potential of diamond mining at Gope. So, in 1997 the Bushmen and Bakgalagadi tribes in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve were evicted from their land. But in 2006, the Law said that the tribes must return to their land, and that it was not fair. But still, DeBeers got permission to start mining in Kalahari. It is important.



Cabinda is an exclave and province of Angola. The province is divided into four municipalities—Belize, Buco Zau, Cabinda and Landana.nCabinda is bounded on the north by the Republic of the Congo, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Adjacent to the coast are some of the largest offshore oil fields in the world. Petroleum exploration began in 1954 by the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, when the territory was under Portuguese rule. So it is an important oil place.

Orange River

The Orange River

The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa. It rises in the Drakensburg mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. The Orange River plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation, as well as hydroelectric power.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is important, since it is a big place for tourism and tourism has increased significantly over the past few years.