Facts about Congo River

19 Congo River facts

The second longest river in Africa

Formerly known as the Zaire River, the Congo River is the second longest in Africa. It is home to Africa’s diverse and unique wildlife, and because of the spectacular view along its basin, it attracts thousands of tourists every year.
Congo River
The Congo River is the second longest in Africa after the Nile and the ninth longest in the world.
Measuring from the equatorial highlands up to the Atlantic Ocean, it is 4,700 kilometers long.
It originates back to 1,5—2 million years, during the Pleistocene period.
It is the world’s deepest river.
At its deepest point, it reaches a depth of 220 meters
It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Kongo.
Along with its various tributaries, it forms the largest network of navigable waterways in Africa.
The main tributaries are the Lualaba River, and the Chambeshi River.
It was discovered by Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão in 1482.
There are more than 4,000 islands on the Congo River.
The Congo Basin covers an area of approximately 4,000,000 square kilometers.
Lying along its banks there are the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo, both named after the river.
Over 75 million people live in the Congo Basin.
The Congo River is the primary transportation source in Central Africa.
Due to the state of the roads, and the inaccessibility of various regions along its basin, many settlements rely solely on water transportation.
It is also used for the transportation of various materials, such as copper, coffee, cotton, and sugar.
It is the only major river in Africa that crosses the equator twice.
The Congo River runs through the second largest rainforests in the world—the Congo Rainforest.
The discharge volume of water makes the Congo River second after the Amazon River.
It is one of the most ecologically diverse habitats in the world.
It is home to over 10,000 tropical plants, 1,000 species of birds, 700 species of fish, and 400 mammals, many of which are endemic to Africa.
The Congo Basin shelters all three subspecies of gorilla—the mountain gorilla, the eastern lowland gorilla, and the lowland gorilla.
Thanks to the Congo River, Africa has the world’s largest hydroelectric potential.
The Congo River has a series of cataracts and rapids, called the Livingstone Falls.
There is a total of 32 rapids along its route. It ends in a section called “The Gates of Hell.”
Hungry for more facts?

Related content