Want to make creations as awesome as this one?


Label the numbered features dragging the name to its location on the map.

Do Now- Review- Regions of Africa Physical Geography! Physical Map of Africa






Sahara Desert

Congo Basin

Great Rift Valley

Atlas Mountains

Nile River

Southern Africa

Module 8 Lesson 4


  • Describe the physical geography of Southern Africa
  • Compare the geography to another region of Africa


temperate climate


tropical climate


Click the button to preview the vocabulary word.

Southern Africa is a region on the southern tip of Africa. The region also includes two island countries in the Indian Ocean. Because this region is in the southern hemisphere, it experiences winter from June through September, and summer from December through March. Many places in the region have dry climates, although some areas along the eastern coastlines have temperate or tropical climates.

Sawubona Travelers! Welcome to Southern Africa.

Label each country by dragging the name to its location on the map.

Can you map it?


South Africa



Click me for the key!



Southern Africa is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the east. The Indian Ocean is much warmer than the Atlantic. Madagascar is separated from Mozambique by the Mozambique Channel.

Southern Africa: Oceans and Elevation

Central South Africa is made up of a dry highland plateau. Surrounding the plateau is a U-shaped ridge of hills and mountains. The eastern portion of this ridge is home to a major mountain range called the Drakensberg Mountains.

Penguins in Africa?- Meet the Africa Penguin

Because Madagascar has been isolated for millions of years, it is home to many plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. Much of Madagascar was once covered in tropical rain forests. A few forests remain on the eastern coast and on the central highlands. However, most of its forests have been cut down. Over time, people used the wood for fuel or for export, or cleared the land to build farms. Today, cleared areas are suffering from erosion.

Tropical Forests of Madagascar

Baobab Tree The Tree of Life

Much of southern Africa is covered in a type of grassland called veld. The climate of the veld ranges from very dry to fairly wet. Depending on the local climate, the grasslands are important for farming, herding, or wildlife habitat.

Velds- Grasslands of Southern Africa

The Namib Desert is cool and dry and lies on the coast of Namibia. Very few people live there. The Kalahari is a highland desert found mostly in Namibia and Botswana. It is a mining and herding region. A few people there follow an ancient hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Deserts of Southern Africa

Natural Resources

Much of southern Africa's land is used for farming or herding. The large grasslands of the veld are ideal for farming and herding animals. In general, dry areas are used mostly for herding, and wetter areas are used mostly for farming. Corn and a grain called sorghum are important crops on the mainland. Rice, bananas, and cassava are important on the island of Madagascar.


Deforestation and overgrazing can lead to desertification especially for the Kalahari and Namib deserts. How would desertification impact the people and animals who live there?

Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, and Namibia have developed fishing industries. However, all four countries struggle with overfishing. The region has a number of national parks, which are home to a large variety of wildlife. Tourists from around the world visit the region to see animals like lions, cheetahs, elephants, and rhinoceroses.

Let's talk about it!

Fishing and Wildlife

Kruger National Park in South Africa

Natural Resources

Southern Africa is rich in mineral resources. Only Lesotho and Comoros lack mining industries. On the mainland, gold and diamonds are particularly important resources. So are metals including platinum, which is used for making car parts and electronics. Madagascar has many minerals, especially gemstones like sapphires. Mining has caused major environmental damage in the region. Mines are often owned by white Africans or foreigners. Historically, black mine workers have been paid poorly and treated unfairly.


South Africa and Diamonds

The discovery of diamonds in 1870s in Kimberley, South Africa lead to the exploition of Black Africans and the rise of racial segregation. By 1888, the De Beers Mining Company and Cecil Rhodes had created a monopoly over the diamond mines. De Beers used its influence to create laws to help with the labor shortage such as land grants to white farmers, poll tax, hut tax, and limitation of rights of workers. This would set up the foundations of apartheid ( tomorrow's lesson.)

Review- Have you been paying attention?

Check Your Knowledge

Check Your Knowledge

As part of the 5 themes of geography, region groups different areas based on their characteristics. As we have studied the continent of Africa, we have learned about the different characteristics of each region.

Sentence Frames: optional in use but a great way to get you started

  • Southern Africa and ___ share similarities like...
  • They differ in terms of ....

Word Bank

  • Northern Africa
  • Western Afrcia
  • Central and Eastern Africa

  • mining
  • deserts
  • velds

Veld- Grasslands in southern Africa.

Tropical climate- A type of climate that tends to be warm all year. Tropical climates are usually located near the equator. Some tropical climates are wet and home to rain forests, while others are grasslands that have dry and rainy seasons.


Temperate climate- A type of climate that experiences all four seasons and gets moderate amounts of rainfall.

Plateau- An area of land that is generally high and flat.