Africa — страница 3

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plateau gives place at the extreme east to the delta of the Nile. That river (see below) pierces the desert without modifying its character. The Atlas range, the north-westerly part of the continent, between its seaward and landward heights encloses elevated steppes in places 100 m. broad. From the inner slopes of the plateau numerous wadis take a direction towards the Sahara. The greater part of that now desert region is, indeed, furrowed by old water-channels. The following table gives the approximate altitudes of the chief mountains and lakes of the continent:— Mountains. Ft. Lakes. Ft. Rungwe (Nyasa) . 10,400 Chad . . . . 8502 Drakensberg . . 10,7002 Leopold II . . 1100 Lereko or Sattima . 13,2143 Rudolf . . . 1250 (Aberdare Range) Nyasa . . . 16453 Cameroon . . 13,370

Albert Nyanza . 20282 Elgon . . . 14,1523 Tanganyika . . 26243 Karissimbi . . Ngami . . . . 2950 (Mfumbiro) . 14,6833 Mweru . . . . 3000 Meru . . . 14,9553 Albert Edward . 30043 Taggharat (Atlas) . 15,0002 Bangweulu. . . 3700 Simen Mountains, . 15,1602 Victoria Nyanza. 37203 Abyssinia Abai . . . . 4200 Ruwenzori . . 16,6193 Kivu . . . . 48293 Kenya . . . 17,0073 Tsana . . . . 5690 Kilimanjaro . . 19,3213 Naivasha . . . 61353 The Hydrographic Systems.—-From the outer margin of the African plateaus a large number of streams run to the sea with comparatively short courses, while the larger rivers flow for long distances on the interior highlands before breaking through the outer ranges. The main drainage of the continent is to the north and west, or towards the basin of the

Atlantic Ocean. The high lake plateau of East Africa contains the head-waters of the Nile and Congo: the former the longest, the latter the largest river of the continent. The upper Nile receives its chief supplies from the mountainous region adjoining the Central African trough in the neighbourhood of the equator. Thence streams pour east to the Victoria Nyanza, the largest African lake (covering over 26,000 sq. m.), and west and north to the Albert Edward and Albert Nyanzas, to the latter of which the effluents of the other two lakes add their waters. Issuing from it the Nile flows north, and between 7 deg. and 10 deg. N. traverses a vast marshy level during which its course is liable to blocking by floating vegetation. After receiving the Bahr-el-Ghazal from the west and the

Sobat, Blue Nile and Atbara from the Abyssinian highlands (the chief gathering ground of the flood-water), it crosses the great desert and enters the Mediterranean by a vast delta. The most remote head-stream of the Congo is the Chambezi, which flows south-west into the marshy Lake Bangweulu. From this lake issues the Congo, known in its upper course by various names. Flowing first south, it afterwards turns north through Lake Mweru and descends to the forest-clad basin of west equatorial Africa. Traversing this in a majestic northward curve and receiving vast supplies of water from many great tributaries, it finally turns south-west and cuts a way to the Atlantic Ocean through the western highlands. North of the Congo basin and separated from it by a broad undulation of the

surface is the basin of Lake Chad—-a flat-shored, shallow lake filled principally by the Shad coming from the south-east. West of this is the basin of the Niger, the third river of Africa, which, though flowing to the Atlantic, has its principal source in the far west, and reverses the direction of flow exhibited by the Nile and Congo. An important branch, however—the Benue—comes from the south-east. These four river-basins occupy the greater part of the lower plateaus of North and West Africa, the remainder consisting of arid regions watered only by intermittent streams which do not reach the sea. Of the remaining rivers of the Atlantic basin the Orange, in the extreme south, brings the drainage from the Drakensberg on the opposite side of the continent, while the Kunene,

Kwanza, Ogowe and Sanaga drain the west corst highlands of the southern limb; the Volta, Komoe, Bandama, Gambia and Senegal the highlands of the western limb. North of the Senegal for over 1000 m. of coast the arid region reaches to the Atlantic. Farther north are the streams, with comparatively short courses, which reach the Atlantic and Mediterranean from the Atlas mountains. Of the rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean the only one draining any large part of the interior plateaus is the Zambezi, whose western branches rise in the west coast highlands. The main stream has its rise in 11 deg. 21' 3'' S. 24 deg. 22' E. at an elevation of 5000 ft. It flows west and south for a considerable distance before turning to the east. All the largest tributaries, including the Shire, the