How Many Countries Are in Southern Africa?

The southern region of Africa contains 15 countries, which include terrestrial and island nations. The countries belonging to southern Africa include Angola, Botswana, Congo, Lesotho, Mauritius, Malawi, Madagascar, Seychelles, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and South Africa. Of these countries, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius are classified as island countries, while the rest form the African landmass.

Although belonging to southern Africa, the nations in this region exhibit many differences. They serve as homes to diverse populations of people, have distinct languages and cultures, and vary in geography and biodiversity. Some, like Malawi, form along the coastline. Its maritime location produces mild weather. The abundance of rain facilitates farming and ranching, making agriculture Malawi's primary economic driver. Malawi historically supplies crops and livestock, but sees constant threats from natural disasters. An expanding population reduces the availability of farming land, in turn reducing its agricultural output.

Flora and fauna abound on Madagascar, however. This island nation belongs to Africa, but once existed as part of India. Madagascar serves as home to a wealth of biodiversity. Nearly 15,000 species of plants live in Madagascar, along with lemurs, parrots, chameleons and other unique wildlife. It is classified as the fourth largest island in the world and enjoys warm, tropical climates. Some of Madagascar's income, as with other southern African countries, comes from domestic and international tourism.