Quirky facts - Africa

  • You might have heard of  Africa’s ‘Big Five’, but they tend to overshadow a few of the continent’s lesser-known animal achievements. For instance,  did you know that chameleons have a tongue that is twice as long as their body? They’re some good-licking lizards, that’s for sure. 
  • Africa is also the home of the world’s largest frog - the ‘Goliath frog’, native to Cameroon. You won’t have to worry about accidently stepping on one of them - they’re bigger than your foot. 
  • If you thought Africa was all deserts and grasslands, take a peek under the surface of Lake Malawi. You’ll find the largest number of fish species in the world, with over 500 different species of fish calling the lake home. Locals report that this makes finding nemo nearly impossible. 
  • In case you haven’t looked at a map recently, Africa’s a pretty big place. After Asia, it’s the second largest continent. Oh, and that big sandy bit you can see in the middle? That’s the Sahara Desert and, at 10.4 million square kilometres, it’s larger than continental USA.
  • You might know them for their little old pyramids, but the ancient Egyptians also invented beer, toilet paper, bowling, clocks and high-heeled shoes. 
  • Africa also has its fair share of enormous lakes and waterways. The most well known of these is the River Nile, the longest river in the world. With a total length of 6,650 km, it is over six times the length of the United Kingdom. 
  • The human species is widely believed to have originated in Africa. Human fossils found there have been dated as far back as seven million years. Since then, we’ve spread out a bit, of course, but it’s always good to remember where we came from.
  • Speaking of origin stories, the waterways of the Okavango Delta have a pretty unique one: 70% of the estimated 150,000 islands in the delta began life as a termite mound. These days, the mounds are maintained by some diligent hippos - who dig new channels and fertilise them with their dung.
  • The Okavango Delta is also home to one of the planet’s more peculiar species - the world’s only fish-eating-owl.