Tropical Africa

African Pygmies living in the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve
Ituri Rainforest
African forest elephant

Mostly familiar to the West for its rainforests, this biogeographic realm of Africa is far more diverse.

- Tropical Africa

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Relationships among apes. The branch lengths are a measure of evolutionary distinctness. Based on genome sequencing by The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium. Figure from Yousaf et al. 2021, adapted from Prado-Martinez et al. 2013.
Two juvenile central chimpanzees, the subspecies Pan troglodytes troglodytes
Overnight nest in a tree
A mother with young eating Ficus fruit in Kibale National Park, Uganda
Chimpanzee named "Gregoire" on 9 December 2006, born in 1944 (Jane Goodall sanctuary of Tchimpounga, Republic of the Congo)
The chimpanzee louse Pediculus schaeffi is closely related to the human body louse P. humanus.
Group in Uganda
Mutual grooming, removing lice
Males in Mahale National Park, Tanzania
Infant and mother
Adult male eastern chimpanzee snatches a dead bushbuck antelope from a baboon in Gombe Stream National Park
Human and chimpanzee skull and brain. Diagram by Paul Gervais from Histoire naturelle des mammifères (1854)
Hugo Rheinhold's Affe mit Schädel ("Ape with skull"), c. 1893
Chimpanzee mask, Gio tribe, Liberia
Poster for the 1931 film Aping Hollywood. Media like this relied on the novelty of performing apes to carry their gags.
Ham, the first great ape in space, before being inserted into his Mercury-Redstone 2 capsule on 31 January 1961
Feeding station at Gombe, where Jane Goodall used to feed and observe the chimpanzees
Cameroonian chimpanzee at a rescue centre after its mother was killed by poachers

The chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), also known simply as chimp, is a species of great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa.

History of Africa

The history of Africa begins with the emergence of hominids, archaic humans and - around 300–250,000 years ago—anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens), in East Africa, and continues unbroken into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states.

Pre-colonial African states from different time periods
Contemporary political map of Africa (Includes Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa)
Obelisk at temple of Luxor, Egypt. c. 1200 BC
Baguirmi knight in full padded armour suit
African biface artifact (spear point) dated in Late Stone Age period
Vegetation and water bodies in early Holocene (top), between about 12,000 and 7,000 years ago, and Eemian (bottom)
9th-century bronze staff head in form of a coiled snake, Igbo-Ukwu, Nigeria
Map of Ancient Egypt and nomes
The pyramids of Giza, symbols of the civilization of ancient Egypt
Nubian Empire at its greatest extent
Nubian Temple of Apedemak, Naqa
Carthaginian Empire
Ruins of Carthage
Reconstruction of the Oikumene (inhabited world) as described by Herodotus in the 5th century BC.
Ruins of Qa'ableh, an early center of Somali civilization
Northern Africa under Roman rule
Fayum mummy portrait of Demetrios, a citizen of Roman Egypt, c. 100 AD, Brooklyn Museum
Aksumite Empire
Aksum Obelisk, symbol of the Aksumite civilization
Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre
The Kanem and Bornu Empires in 1810
Major states of Middle Africa in 1750
Abéché, capital of Wadai, in 1918 after the French had taken over
Luba pottery
Lunda town and dwelling
Kongo in 1711
The Citadel of Gondershe, Somalia was an important city in the medieval Somali Ajuran Empire
Almnara Tower, Mogadishu.
King Fasilides's Castle
The Great Mosque of Kairouan (also known as the Mosque of Uqba), first built in 670 by the Umayyad general Uqba Ibn Nafi, is the oldest and most prestigious mosque in the Maghreb and North Africa, located in the city of Kairouan, Tunisia
Almohad Empire, c. 1200
The Almohad minaret in Safi
Fatimid Caliphate
Christian Nubia and the Nile cataracts
Towers of Great Zimbabwe.
Herero and Nama territories
South African ethnic groups
Political map of Southern Africa in 1885
A traditional Zanzibari-style Swahili coast door in Zanzibar.
Arab slave traders and their captives along the Ruvuma River in Mozambique along the Swahili coast.
Queen Ranavalona I
Maravi Kingdom
The Ghana Empire
Mali Empire at its greatest extent
The Songhai Empire, c. 1500
Comparison of Africa in the years 1880 and 1913
Ashanti Kente cloth patterns
Dahomey Amazons, an all-women fighting unit
Oyo Empire and surrounding states, c. 1625
"Benin Bronze" (brass)
Zulu warriors
Depiction of a Zulu attack on a Boer camp in February 1838
1895 .303 tripod mounted Maxim machine gun
David Livingstone, early European explorer of the interior of Africa, is attacked by a lion.
French explorer Paul Du Chaillu confirmed the existence of Pygmy peoples of central Africa
Central and east Africa, 1898, during the Fashoda Incident
Aerial view of one of the Dhulbahante garad & Darawiish king Diiriye Guure's Dhulbahante Garesa's (forts) in Taleh, Somalia, the capital of his Dervish State. Dhulbahante garesas were the first places to be airstriked in African history
Areas controlled by European colonial powers on the African continent in 1914; modern-day borders are shown
Italian invasion of Libya in 1911: propaganda postcard made by Italian Army
Riffian rebels during the Rif War in Spanish Morocco, 1922
The result of the Boer Wars was the annexation of the Boer Republics to the British Empire in 1902
1916 political map of Africa
The Battle of Ngomano in November 1917
Areas controlled by European powers in 1939. British (red) and Belgian (Orange) colonies fought with the Allies. Italian (green) with the Axis. French colonies (dark blue) fought alongside the Allies until the Fall of France in June 1940. Vichy was in control until the Free French prevailed in late 1942. Portuguese (brown) and Spanish (teal) colonies remained neutral.
Dates of independence of African countries
South African-occupied South West Africa (1915–1990) and maximum extent of South African and UNITA operations in Angola and Zambia during the Angolan Civil War
Ambazonian nationalism gained steam in 1982

The deadliest disease was malaria, endemic throughout Tropical Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara.

Geographical map of sub-Saharan Africa.
Red: Arab states in Africa (Arab League and UNESCO).
Simplified climatic map of Africa: sub-Saharan Africa consists of the Sahel and the Horn of Africa in the north (yellow), the tropical savannas (light green) and the tropical rainforests (dark green) of Equatorial Africa, and the arid Kalahari Basin (yellow) and the "Mediterranean" south coast (olive) of Southern Africa. The numbers shown correspond to the dates of all Iron Age artifacts associated with the Bantu expansion.
Ethnographic map of Africa, from Meyers Blitz-Lexikon (1932).
Climate zones of Africa, showing the ecological break between the hot desert climate of North Africa and the Horn of Africa (red), the hot semi-arid climate of the Sahel and areas surrounding deserts (orange) and the tropical climate of Central and Western Africa (blue). Southern Africa has a transition to semi-tropical or temperate climates (green), and more desert or semi-arid regions, centered on Namibia and Botswana.
Stone chopping tool from Olduvai Gorge.
Nok sculpture, terracotta, Louvre.
Fictionalised portrait of Nzinga, queen of the Ndongo and Matamba kingdoms.
Sphinx of the Nubian Emperor Taharqa.
Stone city of Gondershe, Somalia.
Fasilides Castle, Ethiopia.
The Tongoni Ruins south of Tanga in Tanzania
Great Zimbabwe: Tower in the Great Enclosure.
Population density in Africa, 2006.
Fertility rates and life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa.
Yoruba drummers (Niger-Congo).
A San man (Khoisan).
Maasai women and children (Nilo-Saharan).
Saho women (Afroasiatic).
A Boer European African family (Indo-European).
The Athlone Power Station in Cape Town, South Africa.
Energy sources in sub-Saharan Africa. Fossil Fuels and hydroelectric power make up the largest share of sub-Saharan African electricity.
Skyline of Libreville, Gabon.
Downtown Luanda, Angola.
Phenakite from the Jos Plateau, Plateau State, Nigeria.
Agricultural fields in Rwanda's Eastern Province.
The Naute Fruit Farm at the Naute Dam outside of Keetmanshoop, Namibia.
The University of Botswana's Earth Science building in Gaborone, Botswana.
The University of Antananarivo in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
The Komfo Anokye Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.
Estimated prevalence in % of HIV among young adults (15–49) per country as of 2011.
Ifá divination and its four digit binary code.
Two Bambara Chiwara c. undefined late 19th / early 20th centuries. Female (left) and male Vertical styles.
A traditional polyrhythmic kalimba.
A plate of fufu accompanied with peanut soup.
Ugali and cabbage.
This meal, consisting of injera and several kinds of wat (stew), is typical of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine.
The Akan Kente cloth patterns.
The Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The Namibia rugby team.
Geo-political map of Africa divided for ethnomusicological purposes, after Alan P. Merriam, 1959.

Tropical Africa encompasses tropical rainforest stretching along the southern coast of West Africa and across most of Central Africa (the Congo) west of the African Great Lakes.


Large cat of the genus Panthera native to Africa and India.

The upper cladogram is based on the 2006 study, the lower one on the 2010 and 2011 studies.
Range map showing distribution of subspecies and clades
Skull of an American lion on display at the National Museum of Natural History
red Panthera spelaeablue Panthera atroxgreen Panthera leoMaximal range of the modern lionand its prehistoric relativesin the late Pleistocene
Lion in Gir National Park
Lions in a tree near Lake Nakuru
Head rubbing among pride members is a common social behaviour
A lioness in Gir National Park
Two captive male Asiatic lions in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, India
Bas-relief of a wounded lioness from Nineveh, c. 645–635 BC
The Tsavo maneaters of East Africa on display in the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago
Granite statue of the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet from the Luxor Temple, dated 1403–1365 BC, exhibited in the National Museum of Denmark
Roaring and striding lion from the Throne Room of Nebuchadnezzar II, 6th century BC, from Babylon, Iraq
The Lion Capital of Ashoka, which has been an emblem of India
Dorothy Gale meets the Cowardly Lion in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Art by W. W. Denslow, 1900.

In Africa, the range of the lion originally spanned most of the central African rainforest zone and the Sahara desert.


The Amaranthoideae are a subfamily of the Amaranthaceae.

Amaranthus retroflexus, cladus Amaranthoids
Celosia argentea, Celosieae
Aerva lanata, cladus Aervoids
Achyranthes splendens, cladus Achyranthoids

The main distribution of the subfamily is in tropical America, in tropical and Southern Africa, and in Australia.

Safe trade

Slogan advocated by Greenpeace in its desire to "green" the World Trade Organization and the Doha Development Round.

Logo of Greenpeace

Another argument supporting safe trade rules is that there are links between primate extinction and deforestation in the regions where primates are abundant, i.e. the Amazon rainforest, African rainforest, and Sumatran rainforest.


Genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae.

Estimated accepted genus totals by kingdom - based on Rees et al., 2020

Rytigynia is found in Tropical Africa.

Musanga cecropioides

Female flower
Male flower

Musanga cecropioides, the African corkwood tree or umbrella tree, is found in tropical Africa from Sierra Leone south to Angola and east to Uganda.

Polypterus senegalus

In the pet trade due to its lungfish-like appearance, which was described as more primitive and prehistoric than other modern fishes.

Senegal bichir
Protruding nostrils of P. senegalus.
Albino P. senegalus.
A juvenile bichir forages for food

This species of bichir is found in lakes, river margins, swamps, and floodplains of tropical Africa and the Nile river system, it occurs in at least twenty-six African countries which include Senegal, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Sudan, Nigeria, Gambia, Uganda, and others.

Scaevola (plant)

Genus of flowering plants in the Goodenia family, Goodeniaceae.

Scaevola taccada in Rangareddy district of Andhra Pradesh, India.
Scaevola coriacea (Dwarf Naupaka) at Liliʻuokalani Botanical Garden, Honolulu
Flowers of Scaevola taccada (Beach Naupaka)
Scaevola plumieri with ripe and unripe drupes at Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida

Beachberry or Inkberry (Scaevola plumieri) is widespread along the Atlantic coast of the tropical Americas and Africa; however, it is becoming rarer in areas where S. taccada is displacing native coastal plants.