List of freshwater ecoregions in Africa and Madagascar

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This is a list of freshwater ecoregions in Africa and Madagascar, as identified by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The WWF divides the Earth's land surface into ecoregions, defined as "large area[s] of land or water containing a distinct assemblage of natural communities and species". Ecoregions are grouped into bioregions, "a complex of ecoregions that share a similar biogeographic history, and thus often have strong affinities at higher taxonomic levels (e.g. genera, families)." The Earth's land surface is divided into eight ecozones. Most of Africa lies in the Afrotropic ecozone, although the freshwater ecoregions of North Africa have much in common with the Palearctic.

Each ecoregion is also classified into major habitat types, or biomes.

Many consider this classification to be quite decisive, and some propose these as stable borders for bioregional democracy initiatives.

by Bioregion[edit]

North African[edit]


Upper Guinea[edit]

West Coast Equatorial[edit]


Great Lakes[edit]

Eastern and Coastal[edit]



Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands[edit]

Southern Temperate[edit]

by Major Habitat type[edit]

Closed basins and small lakes[edit]

  • Lakes Chilwa and Chiuta
  • Southern Eastern Rift
  • Lake Tana
  • Northern Eastern Rift
  • Western Equatorial Crater Lakes

Floodplains, swamps, and lakes[edit]

  • Bangweulu-Mweru
  • Inner Niger Delta
  • Kafue
  • Lake Chad Catchment
  • Mai Ndombe
  • Malagarasi-Moyowosi
  • Okavango Floodplains
  • Tumba
  • Upper Luluaba
  • Upper Nile
  • Upper Zambezi Floodplains
  • Yaéré

Moist forest rivers[edit]

  • Ashanti
  • Cuvette Centrale
  • Central West Coastal Equatorial
  • Eburneo
  • Kasai
  • Lower Congo
  • Madagascar Eastern Lowlands
  • Malebo Pool
  • Northern Upper Guinea
  • Northern West Coast Equatorial
  • Sangha
  • Southern Upper Guinea
  • Northern West Coastal Equatorial
  • Sudanic Congo (Oubangi)
  • Upper Congo
  • Upper Niger

Mediterranean systems[edit]

  • Cape Fold
  • Permanent Maghreb

Highland and mountain systems[edit]

Island rivers and lakes[edit]

Large lakes[edit]

Large river deltas[edit]

Large river rapids[edit]

Savanna-dry forest rivers[edit]

  • Bight Coastal
  • Cuanza
  • Kenyan Coastal Rivers
  • Lower Niger-Benue
  • Lower Zambezi
  • Madagascar Northwestern Basins
  • Madagascar Western Basins
  • Middle Zambezi Luangwa
  • Pangani
  • Senegal-Gambia Catchments
  • Eastern Coastal Basins
  • Southern Temperate Highveld
  • Uele
  • Volta
  • Zambezian Headwaters
  • Zambezian Lowveld
  • Zamebzian (Plateau) Highveld

Subterranean and spring systems[edit]

Xeric systems[edit]

  • Dry Sahel
  • Etosha
  • Horn
  • Kalahari
  • Karoo
  • Lower Nile
  • Madagascar Southern Basins
  • Namib Coastal
  • Red Sea Coastal
  • Shebele-Juba Catchments
  • Southern Kalahari
  • Temporary Maghreb
  • Western Orange


  • Thieme, Michelle L. (2005). Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC.