The popularity of the Congo River in never in doubt; this world famous river has been featured in many documents, publications as well as films quite often. This goes to suggest of its remarkable nature. A lot has been said and written about the river; however, the following are the top 10 outstanding Congo River facts and we hope you’ll find them interesting:
Top 10 Outstanding Congo River Facts
See Also: 10 Fascinating Zambezi River Facts
1. Formerly Zaire River
The Congo River was formerly known as Zaire River. The name was prevalent in the period between 1971 and 1997. The name change took effect from 1997 when Zaire changed its name to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Following this change, the river was renamed after the country. Although it may be referred by its earlier name, the use of this term is declining over time.
2. The largest river in Africa
The Congo River takes the crown for being the largest river in Africa. The river is ranked as the 2nd largest in the world with the Amazon River being the largest. Its large volumes of water remain constant throughout the year. The huge quantity is attributed to the many tributaries that feed the main river. They originate from different countries in the region.
3. Most powerful river in the Continent
Not only is the mighty Congo the largest river in Africa but also the most powerful in the continent as well as in the world. The huge water mass creates lots of rapids and currents in several sections of the river. Statistics show that during peak output it can release as 50,000 cubic metres (1,800,000 cubic feet) of water per second.
4. The deepest river in the World
The remarkableness of the River Congo seems to go on and on. It is also rated as the deepest river in Africa and the World. Though the depths may vary from section to section, it is quite deep in most sections. The depth in some areas extends beyond 220 metres (720 feet).
5. Second longest river in Africa
The Congo River takes the second position in Africa in terms of length. It stretches for approximately 2,922 miles (4703 kilometres). This also makes the river the 9th longest in the world. The massive river meanders through several states in eastern and central Africa.
6. The most navigable in the Continent
The River Congo is placed among the top 10 most navigable rivers in the world. It is also the most navigable in Africa. The good sections that can be used by boats or vessels lie in the low tide and cataract-free sections. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the most navigable sections that can cover about 9,000 miles.
7. Serves the 2nd largest rainforest in the World
When the River is mentioned the Congo forest also comes to mind. This is because the river flows through the tropical rain forest. The forest is the largest rainforest in Africa and the 2nd in the whole world right behind the Amazon Forest. The Congo forest is famous for its diverse and robust flora and fauna.
8. Home to 40 hydroelectric power plants
Due to its large water mass and powerful rapids and waterfalls, the Congo River offers good spots for creation of hydro-electric power plants. In fact, at the moment, 40 power generating plants exist on the river. The largest plant is the Inga Falls Dam. Plans are underway to increase the power plants in several locations.
9. Flows through 10 countries
The Congo River is so massive and long that it flows through quite a number of countries. It also has different tributaries that start in the different countries. The main sources are at Lake Tanganyika, The East African rift, and Lake Mweru. It flows through Angola, Zambia, Burundi, Tanzania, Cameroon, Rwanda, Central African Republic (CAR), DRC, Congo Republic, and Gabon.
10. Boundary between two countries
The name Congo was named after the Kongo (Congo) kingdom that existed some decades ago. However, due to political wrangles, the Kingdom was split into two; the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Congo Kinshasa, and the Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville). The river acts as the boundary between the two countries.
The above breakdown of the top 10 outstanding Congo River facts affirms to the power and potency of the river. The great river plays a vital function in the different countries it passes through. The most important is probably the generation of hydro-electricity. Other important functions include agriculture, mode of transport, tourism, and fishing.