What Are the Great Grasslands of Africa?

The great grasslands of Africa, also known as savannas and velds, are located across the continent just south of the Sahara desert, along the eastern coast, south of the Congo rain forest and east of the Namib Desert. These grasslands contain a variety of unique plant and animal life. Most of the plants are grasses with widely scattered trees and brush. Animals commonly found in this area include wildebeest, gazelles and zebras.

One of the best-known savannas in Africa is the Serengeti. This large expanse of grassland, estimated to be about 12,000 square miles, straddles the countries of Kenya and Tanzania. Every year, millions of animals migrate between its northern and southern areas in search of better grazing. Much of the Serengeti is protected by networks of national parks and conservation areas. A large portion of these grasslands are protected in Tanzania with the Serengeti National Park, and in Kenya with the Masaai-Mara game reserve.

In southern areas of the African contentment, some grasslands are called "velds." Velds are similar to savannas in that they are both dominated by grasses, attracting grazing animals. Because of their locations south of the Equator, they tend to have varied weather patterns, including frosts and fires. This has resulted in a variety of plant life being resistant to these hazards.