Tropical West Africa

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Tropical West Africa This part of Africa consists of former British territories, which recently have become fully independent states, namely Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania (which was formed by the merging of Tanganyika and Zanzibar).

Tropical West Africa

This portion of Tropical East Africa may be divided into two Natural Regions :

  • (1) the Coastal Plain, and
  • (2) the Plateau.
  • (1) The Coastal Plain consists of a relatively narrow lowland, stretching from the Indian Ocean to the escarpment marking the edge of the Plateau. The mangrove swamps along the coast, the coconut palms fringing the sandy shores, the tropical forests, and fields of rice and sugar cane all attest the hot, wet climate of this region. Climatically Zanzibar and Pemba form part of it.

    The islands of Zanzibar (640 square miles) and Pemba (380 square miles) lie off the coast of Tanzania. The islands produce the bulk of the world's cloves, grown mainly in Pemba, as well as much copra.

    The Plateau, which has an elevation of some 4,000 feet, is cut by the Eastern and Western Rift Valleys. The relatively low-lying district round Lake Victoria is hot, receiving a somewhat heavier rainfall than the rest of the plateau, which has a healthy climate.

    The Climate has enabled Europeans to make permanent homes in the highlands, notably in Kenya. Other immigrants in recent times are people from India, many of who are traders.

    Near Jinja, where the Niles leaves Lake Victoria, the Owen Falls hydroelectric power plant supplies electricity for homes and industries.

    Cotton and more recently coffee, are the main cash crops in Uganda, where they are cultivated by African farmers. Coffee is grown on hillsides that provide natural drainage. Cotton is often planted on the ridges made by ploughing land across the slopes, a method which, like terracing checks soil erosion. In Kenya and Tanganyika millet and maize are staple food crops of the Africans. In Kenya the chief cash crops are coffee tea, sisal, and pyrethrum, a plant grown for its flowers, which are dried and used to make a powerful insecticide. Tanganyika is the world's chief producer of sisal.

    Next: Tropical West Africa 2

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