All There Is To Know About The Congo River

The Congo River, the deepest and one of the longest rivers in the world. Africa has a number of notable rivers that have survived ages till this moment with the Congo river as the most prominent in Central Africa flowing for as long as 3000km before discharging into the Atlantic mouth. The Congo River is typically located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and famous for being one of the largest and the ninth longest river in the world by discharge. Everything about this river seems to be top class rating. Below are all there is to know about the “all-powerful” Congo river:

Geographical Location


The Congo river has existed for millions of years before its discovery by Diogo Cão, a foreign explorer in 1482; further expedition by David Livingstone and Henry Morton Stanley, revealed a lot more about the river. The Congo water course is believed to have been patterned into form in the course of say 1-2 million years. The river flows through Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, DRC, Gabon, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia, and has a meeting point with the Atlantic ocean. It has tons of islands and waterfalls and has been a major source of survival for millions of nearby Bantu dwellers in terms of food and water.



The Congo river is 4700km long with a basin of 4,014,500 km2; serves as home to over 700 fish species and other queer sea population, including turtles and crocodiles and also sourced by a number of rivers especially the Lualaba and Oubangi rivers. The Congo rain forests are replete with highlands, mountains and a surrounding greenery – a beautiful green-walled canyon which favors the gorillas and chimps in the rain forests. The river has gorgeous and efficient shipping routes with  a stream feeder sum total of over 9000 miles.

The Congo river has initiated the existence of many waterfalls in Africa – the famous Inga falls and Livingstone falls not excluded. The “powerful” and magnificent piece of nature has an incredible 1,400,000 cubic feet of water flowing into the Atlantic per second, and increases to 1,800,000 cu ft during the rainy season. By discharge, the Congo river takes the 2nd spot after Amazon in the list of largest rivers in the world, with waterways that run throughout the Congo and surrounding nations.

Historical Significance

Congo Tributary-kayaking

The Congo river definitely has a historical, economic and utilitarian value to both DRC and the other African nations. First of, it is worthy to note that the Republic of Congo was once named after this historical river. As a protectorate, the Congo was formerly known as the State of Zaire – “Zaire” meaning river.

By virtue of navigation, the shipping routes of the Congo river has sustained much of the trade in Central Africa since it made the trade and distribution of such cash crops as copper, palm oil, sugar, coffee, and cotton, a lot more easier and plausible.

According to Wikipedia, the Congo river is well capable of powering the entire Sub-Saharan Africa (if not the entire continent) and could in fact hold up 13% of global (hydro-power) electricity. The Inga Dams are clear proofs of the super hydro-electric power potential of the Congo river. The Grand Inga Dam (if constructed) is expected to be the world’s largest hydroelectric project – producing about 1000 TWh and 43.5 GW.



Fishing in the Congo, Kinshasa to be precise is never forgotten in the list of things to do in DRC. Another famous Congo river activity is the Congo River Expedition; a swell time to experience the full potentials of the river, be it a full blown tour of the entire water course or sight-seeing of the animals and the tropics itself. Kinshasa is the capital of DRC, literally found on the banks of the Congo river and still accommodating over 50% of rain forests in Africa.

Current Condition


The most conspicuous problem with most of the renowned African rivers is pollution; basically from the exploration, exploitation and abuse of the natural wonders. It is general knowledge that the recent tourist and industrial activities leave the river contaminated with chemicals and toxins that are not good for the river and for health as well. The construction of the dams for instance, have indeed served the purpose of hydro electricity but it is also feared that they are fiercely contributing to the extinction of some fish species in the river.