A multiproxy approach including the use of stable isotopes, magnetic characterization analyses, and organic geochemistry has been adopted to consider factors such as productivity and terrigenous input over the past 1.5 m.y. at two areas off the western coast of Africa. These factors can, in turn, be used to consider variability in ocean circulation and upwelling in addition to changes in climate on the African continent. In particular, studies focused on the influence of glacial-interglacial cycles and evidence for the mid-Pleistocene revolution (MPR), a complex change in climate that occurred at ~1 Ma. A comparison of the records from the two areas drilled during Ocean Drilling Program Leg 175, the Congo Basin, at a latitude of 5°S (Holes 1076A and 1077A), and the Walvis Ridge, at 17°S (Hole 1081A), demonstrates that these sites are affected by different localized factors. The sites in the Congo Basin are strongly influenced by freshwater and sediment from the Congo River, whereas the site at the Walvis Ridge is located in the center of oceanic upwelling and contains a more marine signal. Evidence also suggests that the two sites responded differently to both long- and short-term climatic variations. In particular, the response at the Walvis Ridge to the MPR occurred over an extended period, from 1.1 to 0.8 Ma, and was associated with a change in the dominant source of terrigenous input to the site in conjunction with a change in the productivity signal. In the Congo Basin, the response to the MPR was more rapid, occurring between 0.9 and 0.8 Ma. During this period, the influence of the Congo River became significant. However, productivity records only began to respond toward the end of this interval, at 0.8 Ma.