All 54 African countries, including disputed territories

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The African continent is home to a remarkable range of cultures, landscapes and histories. This vast country covers 54 recognized African countries, each with its own identity. Here we explore the countries of Africa, divided into the main regions: North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.

This list includes countries with special sovereignty status and disputed territories. In addition, this comprehensive list takes into account dependent territories and other territories with unique construction and administrative status.

Let’s delve into the beauty and diversity of African countries and learn something about each country.

5 countries in North Africa

1. Algeria

Algeria, the largest country on the African continent, features vast desert landscapes and a significant coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. The capital, Algiers, is known for its Ottoman landmarks and vibrant culture.

2. Egypt

Home to the iconic pyramids and the Nile River, Egypt is steeped in history and mystery. It is also the richest country by GDP on the continent. Cairo, the capital, is home to the famous Egyptian Museum, home to numerous artifacts from ancient times.

3. Libya

Despite its tumultuous recent history, Libya is known for its archaeological treasures and vast desert landscapes. The ancient ruins of Leptis Magna are among the best preserved Roman sites in the world.

4. Morocco

Known for its rich cultural heritage and stunning architecture, Morocco is a gateway between Europe and Africa. The country’s bustling markets and historic sites, such as the ancient city of Fez, attract millions of visitors every year.

5. Tunisia

Tunisia is known for its well-preserved Roman ruins and Mediterranean beaches. The ancient city of Carthage and the bustling medina of Tunis highlight the country’s historical significance.

6 countries in West Africa

1. Gambia

The smallest country on the African mainland, Gambia is known for its diverse ecosystems along the Gambia River. The country’s beautiful beaches and wildlife attract many tourists.

2. Ghana

Ghana is known for its rich history, with sights such as the Cape Coast Castle. The country is also celebrated for its vibrant festivals and hospitable people.

3. Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast is known for its cocoa production and beautiful beaches. Abidjan, the economic capital, is a center of French-speaking West African culture and business.

4. Mali

Home to the legendary city of Timbuktu, Mali has a rich history as a center of learning and trade in ancient Africa. It is also the hottest country in the world.

5. Nigeria

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is a cultural powerhouse with a thriving entertainment industry, also known as Nollywood. Lagos, the largest city, is a major financial center on the continent.

6. Senegal

Senegal is known for its music, dance and the historic island of Gorée, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dakar, the capital, is known for its vibrant art scene and vibrant nightlife.

6 countries in Central Africa

1. Angola

Angola, with its oil-rich economy, is also known for its vibrant culture and history. The capital Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

2. Cameroon

Cameroon is known as “Africa in miniature” because of its great diversity of landscapes, cultures and languages. From beaches to mountains, it provides a snapshot of the geography of the entire continent.

3. Central African Republic

Despite political instability, the Central African Republic boasts incredible natural beauty, including the Dzanga-Sangha National Park, known for its wildlife and rainforests.

4. Chad

Chad is home to the beautiful Lake Chad and the Sahara. The country’s diverse ethnic groups and rich history make it a fascinating place to explore.

5. Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo, often referred to as the DRC, is a country rich in natural resources and biodiversity. Its extensive rainforests and river systems make it a crucial part of the African ecological landscape.

6. Gabon

Gabon is known for its extensive network of national parks, which protect diverse wildlife and rainforests. The country is also a major oil producer in Central Africa.

6 countries in East Africa

1. Ethiopia

Ethiopia, with its ancient history and diverse cultures, is home to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the source of the Blue Nile.

2. Kenya

Kenya is known for its savannas teeming with wildlife, including the Big Five. Nairobi, the capital, is a regional hub for business and culture.

3. Rwanda

Rwanda, the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, is known for its remarkable recovery after the 1994 genocide and its conservation efforts, especially for mountain gorillas.

4. Somalia

Located on the Horn of Africa, Somalia has a rich cultural heritage despite its recent history of conflict. The country’s coastline is one of the longest in Africa.

5. Tanzania

Tanzania is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and the Serengeti National Park, known for its annual wildebeest migration.

6. Uganda

Known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, Uganda offers breathtaking landscapes and wildlife, including mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

9 countries in southern Africa

1. Angola

Rich in oil and diamonds, Angola is also known for its diverse cultures and landscapes. The capital Luanda is one of the most important port cities in Africa.

2. Botswana

Botswana is known for its high-quality safari tourism, especially in the Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland deltas.

3. Malawi

Known as the ‘warm heart of Africa’, Malawi is known for its friendly people and the beautiful Lake Malawi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Mauritius

Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is known for its beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts and diverse cultural influences.

5. Mozambique

Mozambique has a long coastline on the Indian Ocean with beautiful beaches and vibrant coral reefs, making it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling.

6. Namibia

Namibia is known for its breathtaking desert landscapes, including the Namib Desert and Etosha National Park, a haven for wildlife.

7. South Africa

Known for its diverse cultures and landscapes, South Africa is a top tourist destination. Cape Town, Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park are major attractions.

8. Zambia

Zambia is home to Victoria Falls and offers incredible wildlife experiences in parks such as South Luangwa National Park. Zambia and Zimbabwe are also the only two countries that start with a ‘z’ – not just in Africa, but across the planet.

9. Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is known for Victoria Falls, one of the largest and most spectacular waterfalls in the world, and its rich archaeological heritage, including the ruins of Great Zimbabwe.

22 additional African countries

1. Benin

Benin is known for its historical significance as the birthplace of the Vodun (Voodoo) religion and the Kingdom of Dahomey. The country also boasts beautiful landscapes and wildlife.

2. Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso, with its rich tradition of music and art, is known for its vibrant cultural festivals. The capital Ouagadougou is a center of West African film and culture.

3. Burundi

Despite being one of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi is known for its vibrant culture and picturesque landscapes, including Lake Tanganyika.

4. Cape Verde

Cape Verde, an island nation in the Atlantic Ocean, is known for its Creole-Portuguese-African culture, beautiful beaches and vibrant music scene.

5. Comoros

The Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is known for its diverse marine life and beautiful beaches. The archipelago’s unique culture reflects African, Arabic and French influences.

6. Djibouti

Strategically located near the Red Sea, Djibouti is known for its volcanic formations and salt lakes. The country plays an important role in international maritime trade.

7. Equatorial Guinea

One of Africa’s richest countries due to its oil reserves, Equatorial Guinea is known for its unique cultural mix and biodiversity, including Monte Alen National Park.

8. Eritrea

Located on the Red Sea, Eritrea has a rich history and mix of cultural influences. The capital Asmara is known for its Italian colonial architecture.

9. Swaziland

The Kingdom of Eswatini, one of Africa’s last absolute monarchies, is known for its traditional Swazi culture and beautiful landscapes, including the Hlane Royal National Park. Formally known as Swaziland, it is one of many countries that have changed their names.

10. Guinea

Guinea, with its lush landscapes and vibrant cultures, is home to the Fouta Djallon highlands and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve.

11. Guinea-Bissau

Known for its national parks and wildlife, Guinea Bissau is a small West African country with a rich cultural heritage and Portuguese influence.

12. Lesotho

A high-altitude, landlocked kingdom surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho is known for its mountainous terrain and rich Basotho culture.

13. Liberia

Founded by freed and formerly enslaved Americans, Liberia has a unique history and culture. The country is known for its beautiful coastline and rainforests.

14. Mauritania

Mauritania, largely covered by the Sahara, is known for its ancient cities and rich history. The Banc d’Arguin National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its birds.

15. Nigeria

Covered largely by the Sahara, Niger is known for its ancient trade routes and the Agadez Mosque. The Niger River is a lifeline for the country.

16. Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe, an island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, is known for its lush rainforests and cocoa production. The islands offer a peaceful retreat with rich biodiversity.

17. Seychelles

A tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles are known for its pristine beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves. The islands are a popular honeymoon destination.

18. Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is known for its diamond mines and its role in the transatlantic slave trade. The capital, Freetown, has deep historical significance.

19. South Sudan

South Sudan, the world’s newest country, became independent from Sudan in 2011. Despite ongoing conflicts, it is home to extensive wetlands and diverse wildlife.

20. Sudan

Sudan, with its ancient Pyramids of Meroë and vast deserts, has a rich history that is often overlooked. The Nile River also plays a crucial role in agriculture and daily life.

21. Togo

A small West African country, Togo is known for its palm-lined beaches and hilltop villages. The capital Lomé is a vibrant city with a lively market and cultural scene.

22. Western Sahara (disputed territory)

Western Sahara, a disputed territory in North Africa, is known for its desert landscapes and rich phosphate deposits. The status of the region remains unresolved, with ongoing conflicts over its sovereignty.

We created this article using AI technology, then made sure it was fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.

Original article: All 54 African countries, including disputed territories

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