Lake Malawi in 1967
Lake Malawi in 1967

Southeast Africa[1][2] or Southeastern Africa[3][a] is an African region that is intermediate between East Africa[b] and Southern Africa.[c][8] It comprises the countries Botswana, Burundi, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi,[9] Mozambique,[10][11] Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda,[12] Zambia and Zimbabwe[13] in the mainland, with the island-nations of Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, Comoros, and Mayotte also included.[10]


Further information: History of Africa § Southeast Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa § Southeast Africa, African empires § East Africa, African empires § Southern Africa, List of kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa § East Africa, and List of kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa § Southern Africa


East and southern Africa are among the earliest regions where modern humans (Homo sapiens) and their predecessors are believed to have lived. In September 2019, scientists reported the computerized determination, based on 260 CT scans, of a virtual skull shape of the last common human ancestor to modern humans/H. sapiens, representative of the earliest modern humans, and suggested that modern humans arose between 350,000 and 260,000 years ago through a merging of populations in South and East Africa.[14][15]

Bantu expansion

Main article: Bantu expansion § Expansion

Further information: Bantu peoples § History

Bantu-speakers traversed from Central Africa into Southeast Africa approximately 3,000 years ago.[10]

Swahili coast

Main article: Swahili coast § History


Main article: Urewe § Chronology


Main article: History of Madagascar

Further information: Merina people § History

Kitara and Bunyoro

Main articles: Empire of Kitara § Founding, and Bunyoro § History

Lake Plateau states and empires

Main articles: History of Buganda and Karagwe District § History


Main article: History of Buganda

Further information: Kabaka of Buganda


Main article: Kingdom of Rwanda § Pre-colonization


Main article: Kingdom of Burundi § History

Further information: List of Kings of Burundi


Main article: Maravi

Modern history

Further information: Decolonisation of Africa and Neocolonialism

In the 19th and 20th centuries, David Livingstone[16] and Frederick Courtney Selous visited Southeast Africa. The latter wrote down his experiences in the book Travel and Adventure in South-East Africa.[17]

Demographics and languages

Further information: Demographics of Africa, List of African countries by population, List of ethnic groups of Africa § Southeast Africa, and African diaspora

See also: Indian diaspora in Southeast Africa and Southeast Africans in the United States

People include the San people.[3] The Swahili language is spoken, both as an official language and lingua franca, by millions of people.[18]



Further information: African art § East Africa, and African art § Southern Africa


Further information: Architecture of Africa § East Africa, and Architecture of Africa § Southern Africa


Further information: Folk costume § Eastern Africa, and Folk costume § Southern Africa


Further information: African cuisine § East Africa, African cuisine § Southern Africa, List of African cuisines § East African cuisine, and List of African cuisines § Southern African cuisine


Further information: Music of Africa § West, Central, Southeast and South Africa; Sub-Saharan African music traditions § East Africa; and Sub-Saharan African music traditions § Southern Africa


Further information: Traditional African religions § East Africa, Traditional African religions § Southern Africa, Islam in Africa, Christianity in Africa, and Religion in Africa

Film industry

Further information: Cinema of Africa § East Africa, and Cinema of Africa § Southern Africa

Science and technology

Further information: History of science and technology in Africa § East Africa, and History of science and technology in Africa § Southern Africa


Further information: Mental health in Southeast Africa


Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain

Lake Malawi[16][19] and Limpopo River[20] are located in Southeast Africa.


Natural Disasters

Further information: 2015 Southeast Africa floods


Lion in Masai Mara, Kenya
Lion in Masai Mara, Kenya

Fauna[17] includes the cheetah, leopard, lion,[21] Nile crocodile, hyena, Lichtenstein's hartebeest and white rhinoceros.

See also


  1. ^ Though this reference[4] includes Namibia, it was previously referred to as "Southwest Africa"[5] due to its location.
  2. ^ East Africa at least partially includes Northeast Africa.[6][7]
  3. ^ Southern Africa includes what was known as Southwest Africa.[5]


  1. ^ Axworthy, Mary (2004). Sowell, Teri L. (ed.). Asking for Eyes: The Visual Voice of Southeast Africa. University Art Gallery, San Diego State University. ISBN 0937097012.
  2. ^ Wieschhoff, H. A. (2013). The Zimbabwe-Monomotapa Culture in Southeast Africa. Literary Licensing L. L. C. ISBN 978-1494009939.
  3. ^ a b Schlebusch, C. M.; Prins, F.; Lombard, M.; Jakobsson, M.; Soodyall, H. (2016). "The disappearing San of southeastern Africa and their genetic affinities". Human Genetics. 135 (12): 1365–1373. doi:10.1007/s00439-016-1729-8. PMC 5065584. PMID 27651137.
  4. ^ "Southeastern Africa: South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Namibia, and Malawi", World Wildlife Fund, retrieved 30 April 2018
  5. ^ a b Turok, Ben (1990). Witness from the frontline: aggression and resistance in Southern Africa. Institute for African Alternatives. p. 86. ISBN 187042512X.
  6. ^ Jama, Abdillahi H. (2002). "11". Values in Islamic culture and the experience of history. pp. 303–322. ISBN 1135434166.
  7. ^ Bechaus-Gerst, Marianne; Blench, Roger (2014). "11". In Kevin MacDonald (ed.). The Origins and Development of African Livestock: Archaeology, Genetics, Linguistics and Ethnography – "Linguistic evidence for the prehistory of livestock in Sudan" (2000). Routledge. p. 453. ISBN 9781135434168. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  8. ^ Klopper, S., Conru, K., and Nel, K. (2002). The Art of Southeast Africa: From the Conru Collection. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 8874390017.((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Malawi", Merriam-Webster, retrieved 29 April 2018
  10. ^ a b c "Bantu Ethnicity in South East Africa: From Kenya to the Southern Tip of Africa". Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Mozambique", Merriam-Webster, retrieved 29 April 2018
  12. ^ "Tracing African Roots: Exploring the Ethnic Origins of the Afro-Diaspora". Tracing African Roots. 31 January 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2018.
  13. ^ Fry, Kathie. "Southeast African Countries". Do It in Africa. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  14. ^ Zimmer, Carl (10 September 2019). "Scientists Find the Skull of Humanity's Ancestor — on a Computer – By comparing fossils and CT scans, researchers say they have reconstructed the skull of the last common forebear of modern humans". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  15. ^ Mounier, Aurélien; Lahr, Marta (2019). "Deciphering African late middle Pleistocene hominin diversity and the origin of our species". Nature Communications. 10 (1): 3406. Bibcode:2019NatCo..10.3406M. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-11213-w. PMC 6736881. PMID 31506422.
  16. ^ a b Douglas, John (Summer 1998). "Malawi: The Lake of Stars". Travel Africa (4). Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  17. ^ a b Selous, F. C. (2011). "XXV". Travel and Adventure in South-East Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 445. ISBN 978-1108031165.
  18. ^ Irele 2010
  19. ^ "Freshwater Fish Species in Lake Malawi (Nyasa) [Southeast Africa]". Mongabay. 15 November 2001. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Limpopo River", Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 29 April 2018
  21. ^ Jackson, D. (2010). "Introduction". Lion. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 1–21. ISBN 978-1861897350.