Congo River
Overview
 
The Congo River is a river in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and is the deepest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in the world, with measured depths in excess of 230 m (754.6 ft). It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

. Additionally, its overall length of 4700 km (2,920 mi) makes it the ninth longest river.

Its drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 covers 4014500 square kilometres (1,550,007.1 sq mi).
Encyclopedia
The Congo River is a river in Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and is the deepest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in the world, with measured depths in excess of 230 m (754.6 ft). It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged, though it has only one-fifth the volume of the world's largest river, the Amazon
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

. Additionally, its overall length of 4700 km (2,920 mi) makes it the ninth longest river.

Its drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 covers 4014500 square kilometres (1,550,007.1 sq mi). The Congo's discharge
Discharge (hydrology)
In hydrology, discharge is the volume rate of water flow, including any suspended solids , dissolved chemical species and/or biologic material , which is transported through a given cross-sectional area...

 at its mouth ranges from 23000 m3/s to 75000 m3/s, with an average of 41000 m3/s.

The river and its tributaries
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 flow through the Congo rainforest, the second largest rain forest area in the world, second only to the Amazon Rainforest
Amazon Rainforest
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

 in South America. The river also has the second-largest flow in the world, behind the Amazon
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

; the third-largest drainage basin of any river, behind the Amazon and Río de la Plata
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 rivers; and is one of the deepest rivers in the world, at depths greater than 230 m (754.6 ft). Because large sections of the river basin lie above and below the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

, its flow is stable, as there is always at least one part of the river experiencing a rainy season.

The Congo gets its name from the ancient Kingdom of Kongo
Kingdom of Kongo
The Kingdom of Kongo was an African kingdom located in west central Africa in what are now northern Angola, Cabinda, the Republic of the Congo, and the western portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 which inhabited the lands at the mouth of the river. The Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 and the Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo , sometimes known locally as Congo-Brazzaville, is a state in Central Africa. It is bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Angolan exclave province of Cabinda, and the Gulf of Guinea.The region was dominated by...

, both countries lying along the river's banks, are named after it. Between 1971 and 1997 the government of then-Zaire
Zaire
The Republic of Zaire was the name of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo between 27 October 1971 and 17 May 1997. The name of Zaire derives from the , itself an adaptation of the Kongo word nzere or nzadi, or "the river that swallows all rivers".-Self-proclaimed Father of the Nation:In...

 called it the Zaire River.

The sources of the Congo are in the highlands and mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

s of the East African Rift
East African Rift
The East African Rift is an active continental rift zone in eastern Africa that appears to be a developing divergent tectonic plate boundary. It is part of the larger Great Rift Valley. The rift is a narrow zone in which the African Plate is in the process of splitting into two new tectonic plates...

, as well as Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika
Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world's longest freshwater lake...

 and Lake Mweru
Lake Mweru
Lake Mweru is a freshwater lake on the longest arm of Africa's second-longest river, the Congo. Located on the border between Zambia and Democratic Republic of the Congo, it makes up 110 km of the total length of the Congo, lying between its Luapula River and Luvua River segments.Mweru...

, which feed the Lualaba River
Lualaba River
The Lualaba River is the greatest headstream of the Congo River by volume of water. However, by length the Chambeshi River is the farthest headstream. The Lualaba is 1800 km long, running from near Musofi in the vicinity of Lubumbashi in Katanga Province. The whole of its length lies within the...

, which then becomes the Congo below Boyoma Falls
Boyoma Falls
Boyoma Falls, formerly known as Stanley Falls, consists of seven cataracts, each no more than 15' high, extending over more than along a curve of the Lualaba River between the river port towns of Ubundu and Kisangani/Boyoma in the Orientale region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.At the...

. The Chambeshi River
Chambeshi River
The Chambeshi River of northeastern Zambia is the most remote headstream of the Congo River and therefore considered its source...

 in Zambia is generally taken as the source of the Congo in line with the accepted practice worldwide of using the longest tributary, as with the Nile River.

The Congo flows generally northwards from Kisangani
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

 just below the Boyoma falls, then gradually bends southwestwards, passing by Mbandaka
Mbandaka
Mbandaka, formerly known as Coquilhatville or Coquilhatstad , is a city on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, lying near the confluence of the Congo and Ruki Rivers. The capital of the Equateur District, it is home to an airport and is linked by ferry to Kinshasa and Boende...

, joining with the Ubangi River
Ubangi River
The Ubangi River , also spelled Oubangui, is the largest right-bank tributary of the Congo River of Central Africa. It begins at the confluence of the Mbomou and Uele Rivers and flows west, then bends to the southwest and passes through Bangui, after which it flows south to the Congo at Liranga....

, and running into the Pool Malebo
Pool Malebo
The Pool Malebo , is a lake-like widening in the lower reaches of the Congo River....

 (Stanley Pool). Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

 (formerly Léopoldville) and Brazzaville
Brazzaville
-Transport:The city is home to Maya-Maya Airport and a railway station on the Congo-Ocean Railway. It is also an important river port, with ferries sailing to Kinshasa and to Bangui via Impfondo...

 are on opposite sides of the river at the Pool, where the river narrows and falls through a number of cataracts in deep canyons (collectively known as the Livingstone Falls
Livingstone Falls
Livingstone Falls — named for the explorer David Livingstone — are a succession of enormous rapids on the lower course of the Congo River in west equatorial Africa, downstream from Malebo Pool in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.-Description:Livingstone Falls consist of a series of rapids...

), running by Matadi
Matadi
Matadi is the chief sea port of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the capital of the Bas-Congo province. It has a population of 245,862 . Matadi is situated on the left bank of the Congo River from the mouth and below the last navigable point before rapids make the river impassable for a...

 and Boma
Boma
The port town of Boma in Bas-Congo province was the capital city of the Congo Free State and Belgian Congo from 1 May 1886 to 1926, when it was moved to Léopoldville . It exports tropical timber, bananas, cacao, and palm products...

, and into the sea at the small town of Muanda
Muanda
Muanda or Moanda is a town lying on the Atlantic Ocean coast of the Democratic Republic of Congo at the mouth of the Congo River. It is situated in Bas-Congo Province, and has a population of 50,000...

.

The Congo River Basin is one of the distinct physiographic sections of the larger Mid-African province, which in turn is part of the larger African massive physiographic division.

Economic importance

Although the Livingstone Falls
Livingstone Falls
Livingstone Falls — named for the explorer David Livingstone — are a succession of enormous rapids on the lower course of the Congo River in west equatorial Africa, downstream from Malebo Pool in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.-Description:Livingstone Falls consist of a series of rapids...

 prevent access from the sea, nearly the entire Congo is readily navigable in sections, especially between Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

 and Kisangani
Kisangani
Kisangani is the capital of Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the 3rd largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo....

. Large river steamers worked the river until quite recently. The Congo River still is a lifeline in a land without roads or railways.

See Congo River Steamers
Congo river steamers
The Congo River is divided into three navigable parts, by seagoing ship to Matadi, where there is a wharf and port, a railway bypassing the mighty falls for 200 miles; and then a middle section of over 1000 miles from Leopoldville to Stanleyville where the Stanley Falls breaks the river...



Railways now bypass the three major falls, and much of the trade of Central Africa
Central Africa
Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

 passes along the river, including copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, palm oil
Palm oil
Palm oil, coconut oil and palm kernel oil are edible plant oils derived from the fruits of palm trees. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the oil palm Elaeis guineensis; palm kernel oil is derived from the kernel of the oil palm and coconut oil is derived from the kernel of the...

 (as kernels), sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, and cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

. The river is also potentially valuable for hydroelectric power, and the Inga Dam
Inga Dam
The Inga Dams, located in western Democratic Republic of the Congo 140 miles southwest of Kinshasa, are hydroelectric dams on the largest waterfalls in the world, Inga Falls. Here the Congo River drops 96 metres and has an average flow of 42,476 m³/s....

s below Pool Malebo
Pool Malebo
The Pool Malebo , is a lake-like widening in the lower reaches of the Congo River....

 are first to exploit the Congo river.

Hydro-electric power

The Congo River is the most powerful river in Africa. During the rainy season over 50,000 cubic meters of water per second flow into the Atlantic Ocean. Opportunities for the Congo River and its tributaries to raise hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

 are therefore enormous. Scientists have calculated that the entire Congo Basin
Congo Basin
The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin that is the drainage of the Congo River of west equatorial Africa. The basin begins in the highlands of the East African Rift system with input from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the upper reaches and the Lualaba River draining wetlands...

 accounts for thirteen percent of global hydropower potential. This would provide sufficient power for all of sub-Saharan Africa's electricity needs.

Currently there are about forty hydropower plants in the Congo Basin. The largest is the spectacular Inga Falls
Inga Falls
Inga Falls is a rapids 40 km from Matadi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the Congo River drops 96 m over the course of 15 km ....

, about 200 km southwest of Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

. The prestigious Inga Project was launched in early 1970 to build the first dam. Four additional dams and the construction of a gigantic dam would have a capacity of 34,500 megawatts, constituting nearly three times the capacity of all current Belgian power plants together. To date only two dams have been built the Inga I and Inga II, of which constitute fourteen turbines.

In February 2005, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

's state-owned
Government-owned corporation
A government-owned corporation, state-owned company, state-owned entity, state enterprise, publicly owned corporation, government business enterprise, or parastatal is a legal entity created by a government to undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government...

 power company, Eskom
Eskom
Eskom is a South African electricity public utility, established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission by the government of South Africa in terms of the Electricity Act . It was also known by its Afrikaans name Elektrisiteitsvoorsieningskommissie . The two acronyms were combined in 1986 and...

, announced a proposal to increase the capacity of the Inga dramatically through improvements and the construction of a new hydroelectric dam. The project would bring the maximum output of the facility to 40 GW, twice that of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

's Three Gorges Dam
Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in the Yiling District of Yichang, in Hubei province, China...

.

It is feared that these new hydroelectric dams could lead to the extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 of many of the fish species that are endemic to the river.

Natural history

The Congo River formed 1.5-2 million years ago during the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

.

The Congo's formation may have led to the allopatric speciation
Allopatric speciation
Allopatric speciation or geographic speciation is speciation that occurs when biological populations of the same species become isolated due to geographical changes such as mountain building or social changes such as emigration...

 of the bonobo
Bonobo
The bonobo , Pan paniscus, previously called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is a great ape and one of the two species making up the genus Pan. The other species in genus Pan is Pan troglodytes, or the common chimpanzee...

 and the common chimpanzee
Common Chimpanzee
The common chimpanzee , also known as the robust chimpanzee, is a great ape. Colloquially, the common chimpanzee is often called the chimpanzee , though technically this term refers to both species in the genus Pan: the common chimpanzee and the closely related bonobo, formerly called the pygmy...

 from their most recent common ancestor
Most recent common ancestor
In genetics, the most recent common ancestor of any set of organisms is the most recent individual from which all organisms in the group are directly descended...

. The bonobo is endemic to the humid forests in the region
Congolian forests
The Congolian forests are a broad belt of lowland tropical moist broadleaf forest which extends across the basin of the Congo River and its tributaries in Central Africa...

, as are other iconic species like the Allen's swamp monkey
Allen's Swamp Monkey
Allen's swamp monkey is a primate species that is categorized in its own genus Allenopithecus in the Old World monkey family...

, dryas monkey
Dryas Monkey
The Dryas monkey , also known as Salonga monkey or ntolu, is a little-known species of guenon found only in the Congo Basin, restricted to the left bank of the Congo River. It is now established that the animals previously classified as Cercopithecus salongo were in fact Dryas monkeys...

, aquatic genet
Aquatic Genet
The Aquatic Genet is a carnivoran mammal from the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Aquatic Genet is related to civets and linsangs. Unlike other genets who have handsomely spotted coats and ringed tails, the Aquatic Genet has a plain, rusty-coloured coat and a black tail,...

, okapi
Okapi
The okapi , Okapia johnstoni, is a giraffid artiodactyl mammal native to the Ituri Rainforest, located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Central Africa...

 and Congo Peafowl
Congo Peafowl
The Congo Peafowl is a species of peafowl. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Afropavo.The male is a large bird of up to in length. Its feathers are deep blue with a metallic green and violet tinge. It has bare red neck skin, grey feet, and a black tail with fourteen feathers...

.

In terms of aquatic life, the Congo River Basin has a very high species richness
Species richness
Species richness is the number of different species in a given area. It is represented in equation form as S.Species richness is the fundamental unit in which to assess the homogeneity of an environment. Typically, species richness is used in conservation studies to determine the sensitivity of...

, and among the highest known concentrations of endemics. Until now, almost 700 fish species have been recorded from the Congo River Basin, and large sections remain virtually unstudied. Due to this and the great ecological differences between the regions in the basin, it is often divided into multiple ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

s (instead of treating it as a single ecoregion). Among these ecoregions, the Lower Congo Rapids alone has more than 300 fish species, including approximately 80 endemics while the southwestern part (Kasai Basin
Kasai River
The Kasai River is a tributary of the Congo River, located in central Africa. The river begins in Angola and serves as the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo , then flows into the DRC, where it joins the Congo northeast of Kinshasa. The Kasai's tributaries include the...

) alone has about 200 fish species, of which about a quarter are endemic. The dominant fish families–at least in parts of the river–are Cyprinidae (carp/cyprinids, such as Labeo simpsoni
Labeo simpsoni
Labeo simpsoni is fish in genus Labeo. It is found only in Africa: in the middle an upper parts of the Congo River....

), Mormyridae
Mormyridae
The family Mormyridae, sometimes called "elephantfish" , are freshwater fish in the order Osteoglossiformes native to Africa. It is by far the largest family in the order with around 200 species. Members of the family are popular, if challenging, aquarium species...

 (elephantfishes), Alestidae (African tetras), Mochokidae
Mochokidae
The Mochokidae are a family of catfishes that are known as the squeakers and upside-down catfish. There are 10 genera and about 188 species of mochokids. All the mochokids are freshwater species originating from Africa....

 (squeaker catfishes), and Cichlidae (cichlids). Among the natives in the river is the huge, highly carnivorous giant tigerfish. Two of the more unusual endemic cichlids are the whitish (non-pigmented
Biological pigment
Biological pigments, also known simply as pigments or biochromes are substances produced by living organisms that have a color resulting from selective color absorption. Biological pigments include plant pigments and flower pigments...

) and blind Lamprologus lethops
Lamprologus lethops
Lamprologus lethops is a species of cichlid fish from the Congo River in Central Africa, where it is believed to live in depths as great as below the surface. It reaches about in length, is all whitish and blind....

, which is believed to live as deep as 160 metres (524.9 ft) below the surface, and Heterochromis multidens
Heterochromis multidens
Heterochromis multidens is a species of fish from the family Cichlidae. It is the only member of its genus, and the only member of the subfamily Heterochromidinae. It is endemic to the Congo River Basin in Central Africa, and reaches almost in length. This species is likely more closely related to...

, which appears to be more closely related to cichlids of the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 than other African cichlid. There are also numerous endemic frogs and snails. Several hydroelectric dams are planned on the river, and these may lead to the extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

 of many of the endemics.

Several species of turtle
Turtle
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines , characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield...

s, and the slender-snouted
Slender-snouted Crocodile
The African Slender-snouted Crocodile is a species of crocodile. Recent studies in DNA and morphology suggest that it may belong in its own genus, Mecistops, but at present most continue to use Crocodylus for this species.African Slender-snouted Crocodile are native to freshwater habitats in...

, Nile
Nile crocodile
The Nile crocodile or Common crocodile is an African crocodile which is common in Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Gabon, South Africa, Malawi, Sudan, Botswana, and Cameroon...

 and dwarf crocodile
Dwarf Crocodile
The dwarf crocodile is an African species of crocodile. It is also the smallest extant crocodile species in the world. Recent sampling has identified three genetically distinct populations...

 are native to the Congo River Basin.

Tributaries

Sorted in order from the mouth heading upstream.
  • Inkisi
    Inkisi River
    The Inkisi River is a large south bank tributary of the Congo River, located in Western Central Africa.-See also:...

    • Nzadi
  • Nsele (south side of Pool Malebo)
  • Bombo
  • Kwa
    Kasai River
    The Kasai River is a tributary of the Congo River, located in central Africa. The river begins in Angola and serves as the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo , then flows into the DRC, where it joins the Congo northeast of Kinshasa. The Kasai's tributaries include the...

     (called Kasai from inflow of Fimi upstream)
    • Fimi
      Fimi River
      The Fimi River is a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It flows from Lake Mai-Ndombe to the Kasai River, which in turn empties into the Congo. One of the Fimi's tributaries is the Lukenie River, which is navigable by barges as far as Kole....

      • Lukenie
        Lukenie River
        The Lukenie River is a river in the central Congo basin of the Democratic Republic of the Congo .River barges from Kinshasa journey up the Congo, Kwah , and Fimi Rivers to the Lukenie as far as the landing at Kole, a journey of 6 to 12 weeks. This is not done during the low water season , however,...

    • Kwango
      Kwango River
      The Cuango or Kwango is a transboundary river of Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the largest left bank tributary of the Kasai River in the Congo River basin. It flows through Malanje town in Angola...

    • Sankuru
      Sankuru River
      Sankuru River is a major river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its approximate length of 1,230 km makes it the longest tributary of Kasai River....

  • Lefini
    Lefini River
    Lefini River is a river of the Republic of Congo and a tributary of the Congo River....

  • Likouala
  • Sangha
    Sangha River
    The Sangha River, a river in central Africa, is a tributary of the Congo River, which it joins at . Formed by the merging of the Mambéré River into the Kadéï River at Nola , the Sangha flows through the Central African Republic, along the border of Cameroon, and through the Republic of Congo.Its...

  • Ubangi
    Ubangi River
    The Ubangi River , also spelled Oubangui, is the largest right-bank tributary of the Congo River of Central Africa. It begins at the confluence of the Mbomou and Uele Rivers and flows west, then bends to the southwest and passes through Bangui, after which it flows south to the Congo at Liranga....

    • Giri
    • Uele
      Uele River
      The Uele River, also spelled Welle River, is a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It originates in the mountains near Lake Albert and flows west for about to join the Mbomou River at Yakoma....

      • Mbomou
        Mbomou River
        The Mbomou River or Bomu forms part of the boundary between the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ....

  • Lomami River
    Lomami River
    The Lomami River is a major tributary of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The river is approximately long. It flows north, west of and parallel to the upper Congo....

  • Luvua
    Luvua River
    The Luvua River is a river in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo . It flows from the northern end of Lake Mweru on the Zambia-Congo border in a northwesterly direction for to its confluence with the Lualaba River opposite the town of Ankoro...

    • Luapula
      Luapula River
      The Luapula River is a section of Africa's second-longest river, the Congo. It is a transnational river forming for nearly all its length part of the border between Zambia and the DR Congo...

  • Chambeshi
    Chambeshi River
    The Chambeshi River of northeastern Zambia is the most remote headstream of the Congo River and therefore considered its source...



Literature

  • 1837: Silence – A Fable is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe
    Edgar Allan Poe
    Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

    , written in 1837 (see: bibliography). Although the first paragraph of this story contains the sentence: "The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaire." it would not immediately appear to refer to the Equatorial-African River Zaire (River Congo), as the River Zaire of the story is described as being in Libya, which is in North Africa. It may be, however, that, given the level of geographical knowledge of Africa at the time of writing, the name Libya is used as a generic name for the African continent. In this case the story may, in fact, be an attempt to describe the River Congo of Equatorial Africa.

  • 1878: Henry Morton Stanley
    Henry Morton Stanley
    Sir Henry Morton Stanley, GCB, born John Rowlands , was a Welsh journalist and explorer famous for his exploration of Africa and his search for David Livingstone. Upon finding Livingstone, Stanley allegedly uttered the now-famous greeting, "Dr...

     documented his journey down the Congo River in Through the Dark Continent, first published in 1878.

  • 1902: Although not explicitly cited, the Congo River is the location of Joseph Conrad
    Joseph Conrad
    Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

    's 1902 novel Heart of Darkness
    Heart of Darkness
    Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the "100 best novels" and part of the Western canon.The story centres on Charles...

    .

  • 1914: American poet Vachel Lindsay
    Vachel Lindsay
    Nicholas Vachel Lindsay was an American poet. He is considered the father of modern singing poetry, as he referred to it, in which verses are meant to be sung or chanted...

     portrays a dark and savage society around the Congo River in his 1914 poem The Congo: A Study of the Negro Race.

  • 1921: The Congo is mentioned in Langston Hughes
    Langston Hughes
    James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance...

    's poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers
    "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is a poem by American writer Langston Hughes.-Composition and publication history:Langston Hughes wrote the poem on an envelope while traveling by train to Mexico as he crossed the Mississippi River to St. Louis. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" was first published in The...

    ".

  • 1980: The Congo River is featured in a chapter of Michael Crichton
    Michael Crichton
    John Michael Crichton , best known as Michael Crichton, was an American best-selling author, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted...

    's novel Congo
    Congo (novel)
    Congo is a 1980 science fiction novel by Michael Crichton. The novel centers on an expedition searching for diamonds and inspecting the mysterious deaths of the previous expedition in the dense rain forest of Congo...

    (published in 1980), as well as in the 1995 film based on the book.

  • 1995: The Congo River is featured in the action film Congo
    Congo (film)
    Congo is a 1995 action adventure film, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. It was directed by Frank Marshall and stars Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, Tim Curry, Ernie Hudson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Grant Heslov, and Joe Don Baker. The film was released on June 9, 1995 by...

    , by director Frank Marshall, although it is not mentioned by name in the film. The film is based on the 1980 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton.

  • 1996: British author Redmond O'Hanlon
    Redmond O'Hanlon
    Redmond O'Hanlon, FRGS, FRSL is a British writer and scholar.-Life:O'Hanlon was born in 1947 in Dorset, England. He was educated at Marlborough College and then Oxford University. After taking his M.Phil. in nineteenth-century English studies in 1971 he was elected senior scholar, and in 1974...

     has a travelogue published by Penguin Books under the title of Congo Journey (1996).

  • 1998: The river's history is discussed in the 1998 book King Leopold's Ghost
    King Leopold's Ghost
    King Leopold's Ghost is a best-selling popular history book by Adam Hochschild that explores the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908....

    (by Adam Hochschild
    Adam Hochschild
    Adam Hochschild is an American author and journalist.-Biography:Hochschild was born in New York City. As a college student, he spent a summer working on an anti-government newspaper in South Africa and subsequently worked briefly as a civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1964...

    ).

  • 2006: The river's history is discussed in the book Brazza, A Life for Africa (by Maria Petringa, Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006).

  • 2007: The Congo River and the Democratic Republic of Congo are the scenario for the 2007 book Blood River by journalist Tim Butcher
    Tim Butcher
    Tim Butcher is an English journalist, broadcaster and best-selling author.Born in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, he was educated at Rugby School, and Magdalen College, Oxford University....

    , based on his intrepid travels up and down Africa's second longest river. Blood River was an attempt to retrace Henry Morton Stanley's trip down the Congo River, documented in Through the Dark Continent (first published, 1878), and was shortlisted for the 2008 British Book Awards
    British Book Awards
    The Galaxy National Book Awards are a series of British literary awards focused on the best UK writers and their works, as selected by an academy of members from the British book publishing industry...

    .

  • 2010: The Congo River is a central element in the 2010 novel by Mario Vargas Llosa
    Mario Vargas Llosa
    Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation...

    , El sueño del celta (The Dream of the Celt
    The Dream of the Celt
    The Dream of the Celt is a novel written by Hispano-Peruvian writer and 2010 Nobel laureate in literature Mario Vargas Llosa....

    ), a fictionalisation of episodes in the life of the Irishman Roger Casement
    Roger Casement
    Roger David Casement —Sir Roger Casement CMG between 1911 and shortly before his execution for treason, when he was stripped of his British honours—was an Irish patriot, poet, revolutionary, and nationalist....

    . The book is to be published in English in 2012.

  • undated: Silence, A Fable was a radio drama adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's 1837 short story of the same name.

See also

  • Hydrology transport model
  • Portage railway
    Portage railway
    A portage railway is a short and possibly isolated section of railway used to bypass a section of unnavigable river or between two water bodies which are not directly connected...

  • Congo Basin
    Congo Basin
    The Congo Basin is the sedimentary basin that is the drainage of the Congo River of west equatorial Africa. The basin begins in the highlands of the East African Rift system with input from the Chambeshi River, the Uele and Ubangi Rivers in the upper reaches and the Lualaba River draining wetlands...


External links

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