Africa through the eyes of Pléiades and SPOT 6

Africa occupies 20.3% of Earth’s land mass, stretching west to east from the Cape Verde islands to the Hafun Peninsula, the easternmost tip of Somalia, and north to south from Cape Blanc in Tunisia to Cape Agulhas in South Africa.

This gallery of Pléiades and SPOT 6 portraits of the African continent conveys the power of its natural landscapes and the vigour of its diverse cultural heritage.

Bijagós Islands – Guinea Bissau

Namib Desert – Namibia

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Bijagós Islands, Gunea-Bissau

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2013 Astrium Services
In addition to their highly diverse forest, savanna and mangrove ecosystems, the 88 islands and islets of the Bijagós archipelago support a rich variety of marine flora and fauna and are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve..

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Namib Desert, Namibia

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2013 Astrium Services
The world’s oldest desert, the Namib has been dry for more than 55 million years. Its dunes run parallel to the coast and are strewn with large rocks.

 

Lakes of Ounianga - Chad

Mozambique Island – Mozambique

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Lakes of Ounianga, Chad

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2013 Astrium Services
The 18 highly saline lakes are fed by an underground supply of ‘fossil’ water rising in the heart of the Sahara between the Tibesti Mountains and the Ennedi Plateau.

Pléiades Satellite Image - Mozambique Island, Mozambique

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2013 Astrium Services
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the fortified island, an important stopover on the East Indies trade route, was the capital of Portugal’s possessions in Mozambique until its transfer to Maputo in 1898.

 

Nimba Range
Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia

Timgad – Algeria

Pléiades Satellite Image - Nimba Range – Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2012 Astrium Services
A vital source of water for West Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Nimba mountain chain’s dense forests and grasslands are home to protected species like the chimpanzee.

Pléiades Satellite Image - Timgad, Algeria

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
The present-day Timgad is the site of the ancient Roman city of Thamugadi, founded in AD 100 by the Emperor Trajan in the Aurès Mountains. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982.

 

Casablanca – Morocco

Ngorongoro Crater – Tanzania

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Casablanca, Morocco

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2012 Astrium Services
The economic capital of Morocco and Africa’s 2nd largest port, Casablanca is reputed for the architectural diversity of its medina, art deco buildings and new business district.

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Ngorongoro Crater – Tanzania

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2013 Astrium Services
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the 326-sq.km. crater is off-limits to grazing and building to protect its richly diverse wildlife, a major tourist attraction.

 

Phalaborwa mine – South Africa

Pyramids of Meroe – Sudan

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Phalaborwa mine, South Africa

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2013 Astrium Services
At 2,000 metres across, Phalaborwa is Africa’s largest open-pit mine, producing mainly copper but also nickel sulphate, sulphuric acid, magnetite and vermiculite. 

Pléiades Satellite Image - Pyramids of Meroë, Sudan

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
An ancient Nubian city dating back to the 1st century B.C. and a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2003, Meroe is renowned for its steeply sloping pyramids.

 

Timbuktu – Mali

Lake Nakuru  – Kenya

Pléiades Satellite Image - Timbuktu, Mali

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
Situated at the top of the Niger Loop, Timbuktu is the gateway to the Sahara. A centre of religious scholarship since the 14th century, the “city of 333 saints” is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Lake Nakuru, Kenya

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2012 Astrium Services
The 188 sq.km of Lake Nakuru are protected within a national park since 1967. The lake attracts black rhino and more than 1 million pink flamingos, visible from space.

 

Senegal River estuary – Senegal

Monastic City of Lalibela – Ethiopia

Pléiades Satellite Image - Senegal River Estuary, Senegal

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
Salt-tolerant filao trees supporting many species of birds watch over the waters of the Senegal River as it flows forcefully into the Atlantic Ocean.

Pléiades Satellite Image - Monastic City of Lalibela – Ethiopia

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, the 11 orthodox churches hewn out of solid rock in the 12th century are protected from erosion by sloping roofs.

 

Abuja - Nigeria

Victoria Falls
Zambia and Zimbabwe

Pléiades Satellite Image - Abuja - Nigeria

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria since 1991, continues to expand from its monumental core to planned populated areas.

Pléiades Satellite Image - Victoria Falls, Zambia/ Zimbabwe

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
The 1,700-metre-wide Zambezi River plunges into a narrow basaltic chasm only 80 metres across at its widest point, in a spectacular show of spray, mist and rainbows.

 

Gallery forest – Gabon

Aswan Dam – Egypt

SPOT 6 Satellite Image - Gallery Forest

SPOT 6 Satellite Image © 2012 Astrium Services
A humid biological corridor in the middle of the steppes of the Haut-Ogooué province, gallery forests provide crossing points for numerous wildlife species.

Pléiades Satellite Image - Aswan – Egypt

Pléiades Satellite Image © 2012 CNES
On the First Cataract of the River Nile, the waters held by the old Aswan dam surround the island where Philae and its Temple of Isis have been reconstituted. The second dam, the Aswan High Dam, impounds Lake Nasser.

 

Africa through the eyes of Pléiades and SPOT 6