East Africa


Discuss the physical and cultural geography of Kenya.
Review the cultural geography of Tanzania.
Describe climate, economic activities, and ethnic tensions in inland East Africa.
Outline the geography of the Horn of Africa.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 20: East Africa

Kenya's coastal plain borders the Indian Ocean. As you move west there is an upland plain and then the Great Rift Valley. Because of its location on the Equator, Kenya has a climate that is warm year-round. Although Kenya has a developing economy, many of its people remain poor. They are subsistence farmers or nomadic herders. Kenya won its independence from the British in 1963. Tanzania, with landforms and climates similar to Kenya, has a large mainland and three islands. Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa, is located in the north. Farming and tourism are the main economic activities in Tanzania. The country is too poor to develop its mineral resources. Scientists believe they have found remains of some of the earliest human settlements in the country of Tanzania. To the west of Kenya and Tanzania lie the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi. Subsistence farming is the main economic activity in all three countries. They have also suffered from violent conflicts in recent years.

Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia are located in the Horn of Africa. All have suffered from drought and violent conflict. Sudan is the largest country in Africa. Most of the people live along the Nile River or one of its tributaries. A civil war between the people of the north and the south broke out in the 1980s. The government is still searching for ways to end this conflict. Scientists have found what they believe to be the remains of the oldest known human ancestors in Ethiopia. In 1993, after 30 years of war, Eritrea won its independence from Ethiopia. Djibouti, one of the hottest, driest places on Earth, is located at the northern tip of the Great Rift Valley. In Somalia fighting among different clans continues today. Somalia has no real government.

     Quick Notes


Kenya has coastal lowlands as well as inland plains and highlands.
The Great Rift Valley is a huge gash in the earth that runs through most of East Africa.
Two important economic activities in Kenya are farming and tourism.
Coffee and tea exports are Kenya's main source of income.
Kenya's population of about 27 million is growing rapidly.


Tanzania is made up of a mainland area and a group of offshore islands.
Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain, lies in the northern area of Tanzania.
Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is home to many species, including lions, antelopes, and elephants.
Tanzania's population consists of about 120 ethnic groups.

Inland East Africa

Uganda has a fertile plateau that is good for farming.
Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi lie close to the Equator, but their generally high elevation keeps their temperatures mild.
The two main ethnic groups in Rwanda and Burundi are the Hutu and the Tutsi.

The Horn of Africa

Most of Sudan's people live along the Nile River and farm for a living.
Ethiopia has been an independent country for thousands of years.
Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti are hot, dry countries where farming is difficult.

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