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Top 15 Largest Islands in Africa

Top 15 Largest Islands in Africa: Africa is home to some of the world’s largest and most diverse islands. Ranging from the sprawling island nation of Madagascar to smaller yet culturally vibrant islands like Zanzibar and Pemba, these islands showcase the continent’s geographic, ecological and cultural diversity.Top 15 Largest Islands in the World

In this article, we explore the top 15 largest islands in Africa by land area. From the tropical rainforests of Bioko to the arid landscapes of Boa Vista, each island has its own unique character and attractions. The islands are located across the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and inland water bodies like Lake Victoria. While some are single islands, others are part of larger archipelagos. We look at key details including location, area, country and distinctive features of these islands. Top 15 Largest Islands in the World

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Top 15 Largest Islands in Africa:

1. Madagascar

Photo Source: jenmansafaris

Madagascar is the world’s fourth-largest island and by far the largest in Africa at 586,500 km2. Located off the southeastern coast of Africa, it broke off from the Indian subcontinent around 90 million years ago. Madagascar is home to spectacular endemic wildlife like lemurs, chameleons and baobab trees. Its diverse terrain includes rainforests, mountains, plateaus and over 5,000 km of coastline. The Malagasy culture reflects influences from Southeast Asia, Africa, Arabia and Europe. Top attractions include Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Avenue of the Baobabs and Nosy Be island resorts.

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Area: 586,500 km2

Country: Madagascar

2. Bioko

Photo Source: Tripadvisor

Bioko is an island off the west coast of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. Covering an area of 2,017 km2, it is part of Equatorial Guinea and 32 km from the mainland. Bioko has volcanic origins and Mount Basile at 3,012 m is its highest peak. The island has lush rainforests, crater lakes and beaches with nesting sea turtles. Bioko is home to endemic birds and primates like drill monkeys. The majority of Equatorial Guinea’s population lives here, especially in Malabo, the island’s capital and economic hub.

Area: 2,017 km2

Country: Equatorial Guinea

3. Mauritius

Photo Source: Nations Online Project

Mauritius is located about 800 km east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. With an area of 1,865 km2, it is the main island of the nation of Mauritius. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs teeming with marine life. Mauritius has a multi-ethnic culture with Indian, African, European and Chinese influences. Major attractions include the capital Port Louis, Grand Bassin sacred lake, Chamarel colored earth, and Île aux Aigrettes nature reserve. Good morning My Love Message

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Area: 1,865 km2

Country: Mauritius

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4. Zanzibar

Photo Source: Lonely Planet

Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania, covering approximately 1,666 km2. It consists of several islands with Unguja and Pemba being the largest. Zanzibar is famous for its white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and reefs. The island is the centre of Swahili culture and is known for its spice plantations, lively markets and historic Stone Town. Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park protects rare red colobus monkeys found only in Zanzibar.

Area: 1,666 km2

Country: Tanzania

5. Grande Comore

Grande Comore
Photo Source: Tripadvisor

Grande Comore is the largest island of the Comoros archipelago, covering an area of 1,146 km2. It sits between Madagascar and Mozambique in the Indian Ocean. Volcanic Mount Karthala, active since the 1700s, dominates the landscape. Moroni, the capital and largest city, offers lively markets, mosques and medinas. Grande Comore also has superb beaches, diving sites and the largest population among the islands. The culture reflects Arabic, African and French influences.

Area: 1,146 km2

Country: Comoros

6. Santiago

Santiago Island
Photo Source: Viator

Santiago Island, covering 991 km2, is the largest in the Cape Verde archipelago off West Africa. The island features extinct volcanoes, mountains, forests and stunning beaches. Cape Verde’s capital and busiest port Praia is located here. Santiago’s culture reflects African and Brazilian roots. Highlights include the Fogo volcano, fishing villages like Cidade Velha, and national parks protecting endemic birds.

Area: 991 km2

Country: Cape Verde

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7. Pemba

Photo Source: Explore Tanzania

Pemba sits around 50 km north of Zanzibar and is the second largest island of the Zanzibar archipelago at 988 km2. Often called “The Green Island”, it is fertile with lush forests, mangroves, fruit trees and clove plantations. Pemba is less developed than Unguja but offers stunning white sand beaches, historic sites and excellent diving. The main towns Chake Chake and Mkoani preserve Swahili culture. Pemba Flying Fox bats and marine turtles are among the island’s wildlife.

Area: 988 km2

Country: Tanzania

8. São Tomé

são tomé island
Photo Source: Wikipedia

The volcanic island of São Tomé covers 854 km2 and is located in the Gulf of Guinea. Along with Príncipe Island, it forms part of São Tomé and Príncipe. Its rugged landscape has beaches, rainforests, mountains and coffee plantations. São Tomé town has colonial Portuguese architecture, markets and waterside bars. Endemic birds like the São Tomé ibis and marine turtles inhabit the island. Activities include hiking, birdwatching and whale watching offshore.

Area: 854 km2

Country: São Tomé and Príncipe

9. Santo Antão

Santo Antão
Photo Source: Got2Globe

The island of Santo Antão covers an area of 779 km2 and is the westernmost island of Cape Verde. Its landscape features high peaks, forests, valleys and crater lakes. The main port town Porto Novo offers colonial buildings, cobbled streets and seafood eateries. Santo Antão is renowned for hiking trails through the mountains. The island also produces rum and has cultural sites like old sugar mills.

Area: 779 km2

Country: Cape Verde

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10. Dahlak Kebir

Dahlak Kebir
Photo Source: Eritrea Ministry Of Information

Located near Massawa in the Red Sea, Dahlak Kebir is the largest island of the Dahlak Archipelago with an area of 663 km2. It is part of Eritrea. Mostly flat and arid, the island has a hot desert climate. Dahlak Kebir saw pearl fishing activity in the past. The main settlement is the Dahlak Desert on the northwest coast. Nearby sites include the smaller Dahlak islands, historic Adulis ruins, and coral reef diving spots.Information guide Nigeria

Area: 663 km2

Country: Eritrea

11. Ukerewe

Photo Source: Tanzania Hotels Agent

Lake Victoria in East Africa contains several large islands, the biggest being Ukerewe at 647 km2. Ukerewe Island is part of Tanzania and is located 50 km from Mwanza. The island has steep hills, rainforests, wetlands, sandy beaches and farmland growing coffee and cotton. Most inhabitants are part of the Kerewe people who fish and farm. Ukerewe town, also called Nansio, is the main urban centre.

Area: 647 km2

Country: Tanzania

12. Boa Vista

boa vista cape verde
Photo Source: Manchester Airport

Boa Vista in the Cape Verde islands covers around 631 km2. This island is off the coast of Africa, with desert-like terrain. Cape Verde’s newest airport brought tourism development with resorts on stunning beaches. The main town Sal Rei offers colonial buildings, forts and ferries to other islands. Boa Vista is renowned for water sports, birdlife like ospreys, and turtle nesting. Nearby attractions include Santa Monica Beach and shipwreck diving sites.

Area: 631 km2

Country: Cape Verde

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13. Sherbro

Sherbro Island
Photo Source: Wikipedia

Sherbro Island sits off the southern coast of Sierra Leone covering about 600 km2. The island consists of mangrove swamps, sandy beaches, forests and fishing villages along the coast. Bonthe, the largest town and port, features colonial-era buildings, old churches and relics from the slave trade era. Yawri Bay and Sulima Beach are popular with tourists, while Turtle Islands protects hawksbill turtles.

Area: 600 km2
Country: Sierra Leone

14. Mafia

Mafia Island
Photo Source: One World Travel & Tours Ltd

Part of the Tanzanian Spice Islands, Mafia Island covers 435 km2 near Zanzibar. Surrounded by mangrove forests, Mafia is known for breathtaking beaches, marine habitats and whale shark sightings. Activities include scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing and boat excursions. The Mafia Island Marine Park protects diverse coral reefs, fish and turtles. Chole village gives a taste of Swahili history and culture.

Area: 435 km2

Country: Tanzania

15. Djerba

djerba island
Photo Source: Pinterest

Djerba is an island off the coast of Tunisia covering 514 km2. Steeped in history, it has been inhabited for centuries by Phoenician, Roman, Arab and Jewish settlers. Djerba has beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, charming towns and luxury resorts. It is home to native Berber communities and the Ghriba synagogue, an important pilgrimage site. The island also produces high-quality olive oil, pottery and handmade crafts.Good morning My Love Message

Area: 514 km2

Country: Tunisia

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The islands of Africa showcase the continent’s incredible diversity – from rainforests to deserts, beaches to high peaks. These 15 largest islands range from isolated hideaways to major population centres, but all offer their own unique culture, wildlife and landscapes. Beyond their natural beauty, the islands have played an important role historically as trading posts, colonial outposts and settlements. The cuisines, music, art and traditions of Africa have been shaped significantly by its islands. Whether for their endemism, history or culture, the islands are an unforgettable part of the African experience.

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