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Unit Two: Studying Africa through the Social Studies

Module Six: The Geography of Africa

Teacher's Edition

Activity Two: Africa's Rivers and Lakes-Engage

Resources: Two versions of Map of Africa's rivers and lakes; one version with names of Lakes and Rivers, and the second, without the names. To complete this exercise, teachers will need to download the projection without names and copy a map for each student. Download map Africa's Rivers and Lakes.

Carefully study the map of Africa's rivers and lakes and the attached photographs. Answers to some of the questions will be provided by the map. Write your answers on a piece of paper and put in your Exploring Africa Journal.

Map One: Africa's Rivers and Lakes

Photographs 6.1- 6.8: These photos are meant to provide a visual context for the map work. There are no questions based on these photographs.



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison



@Africa Focus, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  1. Name the main rivers of Africa.
  2. Name the main lakes in Africa.
  3. What is the largest lake in Africa?
  4. Which countries border this lake?
  5. What is the longest river in Africa?
  6. What region of Africa has no major rivers flowing through it? Why?
  7. Geographers sometimes refer to rivers and lakes as the great highways of Africa. How are lakes and rivers similar to highways?
  8. What resources, if any, do rivers and lakes provide?

Answer Key

3. The largest lake in Africa is Lake Victoria.

4. It is bordered by the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Lake Victoria is the second largest fresh water lake in the world-after Lake Superior.

5. The longest river in Africa is the Nile, followed by the Congo, then the Niger.

6. There are no major rivers in North Central and North West Africa. Although the students have not been introduced to the climate and vegetation of Africa, they should know that the Sahara desert dominates this region precluding the formation of major river systems.

7&8. Rivers and lakes are a major source of transportation and communication in Africa. Even in the case where rapids and waterfalls preclude the use of rivers for navigation, transportation routes are often developed along river valleys.

Rivers and lakes in Africa provide people with food in the form of fish. Fresh water is also important for irrigation and for animals. In a following exercise, students will be introduced to a population density map of Africa. One of the inferences that they will be asked to make will be on the relationship between availability of water and population density. If students refer to this relationship, teachers may want to point out that a number of great African civilizations developed along major rivers and lakes. In the contemporary era, rivers in Africa have provided a very important source of power, hydro-generated electricity. Teachers may ask students to fill in major hydro electric dams on the Volta River (Ghana), Nile River (Aswan, Egypt), Zambezi (Kariba, Zambia/Zimbabwe & Cabora Bassa, Mozambique).

Go to Activity Three or go directly to one of the following activities in Module Six

  1. Location-Engage
  2. Africa's Rivers and Lakes-Engage
  3. Map activities Physical features, Climate and Vegetation; Summary map exercise-Explore
  4. Africa's Natural Resources-Explore
  5. Four maps of movement-Explain
  6. Human-Environment Interaction: Expand/homework
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