On this page we list interesting facts about Africa's Congo River. This information, written for kids and adults, includes how long it is, where in Africa it is located, and when the first European explorer saw the river. Out of all the amazing Africa landforms, lakes, and rivers, the Congo River stands out as one of the most important to the people of Africa. To understand this river's importance, consider the first list of facts listed below.
Congo River's Importance to Africa
The Congo River is the main transportation source in Central Africa. The river along with all the streams that lead into it provide over nine thousand miles (14,500 kilometers) of navigable shipping routes in Central Africa. A tremendous amount of goods are transported on the river every day.
The Congo River is an extremely powerful river; in fact it is the most powerful river in Africa. On average one million four hundred thousand cubic feet of water (41,000 cubic meters) flows into the Atlantic Ocean every second from the river. There are approximately forty hydropower plants along the river that utilize this power to provide energy for the African continent.
Interesting Congo River Facts
It is the second longest river in Africa (the Nile is the longest).
It is the ninth longest river in the world.
The Congo River is the deepest river in the world. It reaches depths of over 750 feet (230 meters).
The river gets its name from the ancient Kongo Kingdom which existed near the mouth of the river.
The river runs through the Congo rainforest which is the second largest rain forest in the world.
It is also called the Zaire River.
The rivers sources are in the mountains and highlands of the East African Rift, as well as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru.
The Congo River is so powerful that if has the potential to supply all of sub-Saharan Africa's electricity needs.
In 1482 Diego Cao was the first European known to sight and enter the Congo River.
The main tributaries are the Ubangi, Sangha, and Kasai.
There are more than 4,000 islands in the river; over fifty are at least ten miles long.
The river crosses the equator twice.
The river discharges a volume of water that is second only to the Amazon River.
Numerous cataracts (large or high waterfalls), dangerous rapids, and numerous islands make navigation difficult or impossible in certain areas of the river.
Two countries are named after the river, they are The Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
The amount of water flowing out of the river is fairly constant year round due to the fact that some part of the river is always in a rainy season.
Approximately seven hundred fish species have been recorded living in the Congo River. The total is probably much larger.
The Congo River formed approximately 1.5 - 2 million years ago during the Pleistocene period.