The climate of Africa ranges from tropical to subartic on its highest peaks. Its northern half is primarily desert, or arid, while its central and southern areas contain both savanna plains and dense jungle (rainforest) regions. In between, there is a convergence, where vegetation patterns such as sahel and stepped dominate. Africa is the hottest continent on earth and 60% of the entire land surface consists of drylands and deserts. The record for the highest-ever recorded temperature, in Lybia in 1922 (58 °C (136 °F)), was discredited in 2013.
By most estimates, well over a thousand languages are spoken in Africa. Most are of African origin, though some are of European or Asian origin. Africa is the most multilingual continent in the world, and it is not rare for individuals to fluently speak not only multiple African languages, but one or more European ones as well. There are four major language families indigenous to Africa:
- The Afroasiatic languages are a language family widespread throughout the Horn of Africa, North Africa, the Sahel, and South West Africa.
- The Nilo-Saharan language family is spoken by ethnic groups in Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and northern Tanzania.
- The Niger-Congo language family covers much of Sub-Saharan Africa and is probably the largest language family in the world in terms of different languages.
- The Khoisan languages are spoken in Southern Africa by approximately 120,000 people. Many of the Khoisan languages are endangered. The Khoi and San peoples are considered the original inhabitants of this part of Africa.
In numerous countries, English and French are used for communication in the public sphere such as government, commerce, education and the media. Arabic, Portuguese, Africaans and Spanish are examples of languages that trace their origin to outside of Africa, and that are used by millions of Africans today, both in the public and private spheres. Italian and German is spoken by some in former Italian and German colonies.