The geography of Africa is distinctive with its climate and vegetation ranging from equatorial rainforests, tropical deserts and grassland to Mediterranean. These climates and physical conditions exist in both the southern part and the northern part, which are divided almost equally by the Equator.
Africa is the second largest continent, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It straddles the Equator and covers all four hemispheres. The continent has eight major physical regions, each of which has unique animals and plants. They are the Sahara, the Sahel, the Ethiopian Highlands and the Savannah, as well as the Swahili Coast, the rainforest, the African Great Lakes and Southern Africa.
The Savannahs, or the grasslands, cover almost half of Africa at the center. The Serengeti is the most well-known grassland, which is home to many large mammal species, including lions, hyenas, zebras, giraffes and elephants.
Located in the north of Africa, the Sahara is the world's largest hot desert. It covers an area about the size of Brazil. Across the Sahara, distinctive features include sand dunes, plains of sand and gravel, plateaus of rock and stone, and oases, or hubs of water in the desert.
Africa's highest mountain is Mount Kilimanjaro, which is also the location of the only glacier of the continent. Its longest river is the Nile, which is also considered the world's longest river. Lake Victoria is the largest lake.