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What is the longest river in Africa?
Gladys Mokeira Obiero|April. 15, 2019
Africa is one the largest continents. It is characterised by a combination of hot and cold deserts, rain forests and lakes. It is also home to some of the longest rivers in the world. The rivers run through different countries into the oceans. Do you know the longest river in Africa?
A majority of the countries in Africa are covered by huge sections of deep forest which act as home to a variety of animal and bird species. These forests are also the primary source of water that flows into different rivers. Africa prides in River Nile which is the second largest in the world. There are also a number of other highly ranked rivers in terms of discharge and length. Here are the 10 longest rivers in Africa.
1. River Nile
River Nile also known as Nile-Kagera is the longest river in Africa and in the entire world. The Nile is 6650 km long and flows northwards from the country of Burundi to the Mediterranean Sea.
Countries
River Nile passes through 11 different countries namely; Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Spotlights
It flows from south to north.It has three tributaries namely the Blue Nile, Whites Nile and the Atbara.It is referred to as Egypt’s lifeblood because a majority of Egypt’s population lives along it.The Nile is an International River since it's among the longest in the world.The Nile has a navigable part that is 1545 km long.
Activities
The potential for many water games such as raftingFishing because of presence of a variety of fish speciesFarming both on the banks as well as through irrigation.Wildlife support such as crocodiles, hippos among other birds and animal species.Source of energy production.
Vegetation
PapyrusHamomilePlume thistleOpium poppyBlue Egyptian water lily
2. Congo-Chambeshi
In Africa, River Congo also referred to as Zaire River, is the second longest and the deepest in the entire world with a length of 4700km. In terms of discharge, it is the second largest after Amazon. The name was derived from the Kongo Kingdom that was once situated alongside the southern banks.
Countries
Congo River flows into the Atlantic Ocean through the following states; The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Angola, Republic of the Congo (RC), Tanzania, Burundi, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Zambia.
Spotlights
Throughout every single year, river steamers operate between Kisangani and KinshasaThe total navigable part is 3000 km.It is the largest potential hydroelectric power source in entire Africa.40 km from Kinshasa, there is a small fishing port known as Kinkole River Congo has the 2nd largest flow in the whole world.It flows through Salonga National Park which is the largest tropical rainforest reserve in Africa.
Activities
Hydropower generationPalm oil productionIt is the most significant site for tourism as it separates Kinshasa and Brazzaville.It is Africa’s most important system of navigation that is accessible to flatboats carrying between 800-1100 tons, during all seasons.Fishing led by elephant-fishes, cichlids, characins, and Distichodontidae.
Vegetation
Okoume species which are soft wooded trees that grow between 30-60 meters in length and 60-200cm in diameter. Caesalpiniaceous- a mixture of shrubs and trees encompassing more than 150 genera and 2200 species.It has numerous papyrus swamps
Wildlife
Congo and rainforest is home to wildlife such;
400 species of mammals 1000 different types of birds280 reptile species216 species of amphibians900 butterfly species
3. River Niger
Niger River is the third longest river in Africa with a length of 4200 km. It flows into the Atlantic Ocean, and its primary source of water is the Guinea Highlands situated in Southern Guinea. It discharges 9570 cubic meters per second.
Countries
It passes through the following countries; Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Algeria, Cameroon, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Chad, and Cote d’Ivoire
Spotlights
Benue River is its chief tributary It floods every year beginning from September.It takes a unique route away from the sea through the Sahara desert then forms a sharp turn on the right close to the old city of Timbuktu.It passes through W National Park situated at the border of Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.It supports wildlife such as fish, hippos, and crocodiles.
Activities
Agriculture because the banks are fertile hence suitable for agricultural activities.Transport largely using boats.FishingTrade due to its closeness to the ancient city of Timbuktu.
Vegetation
Acacia wood and shrubsSedge vegetation comprising of fine wire like Tufts and bare rock surfacesMangrove swamp. Its trees provide both food and shelter to fish and animals.
4. River Zambezi
It is the 4th longest river in Africa that flows into the Indian Ocean starting from Mwinilunga in Zambia. It is 3540 km long, and it discharges about 3400 cubic meters per second.
Countries
The Zambezi flows through several countries which include; Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana
Spotlights
It has several waterfalls that include Africa's most popular Victoria Falls; others are Ngonye Falls and Chavuma Falls.The citizens of Zambia have the belief that it contains a spirit known as Nyami Nyami.In 1498 it was named ‘River of Good Omens’ by Vasco de Gama who was the 1st European to see it.Only 460 km is navigable, alongside Cahora Bassa Lake to Tete.It flows through Zambezi National Park.It also supports various forms of wildlife like hippos, crocodiles among others.
Activities
Devils pool which is located towards the edge of the famous Victoria Falls and a picnic site on Livingstone Island.FishingSurfing and wave boarding.Viewing of the falls White water rafting.
Vegetation
Grassland covering close to 8% of the entire river basin.Savanna vegetationMangrove swamp
5. River Ubangi
It is the 5th longest river in Africa, and it is 2270 km long. It forms at the junction of rivers Uele and Bomu. It discharges close to 4,000 cubic meters per second.
Countries
It passes through three countries which are; The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.
Spotlights
It is the largest tributary draining in Congo.In 1870 a German botanist, Georg Schweinfurth visited the river while a Russian explorer, Wilhelm Junker visited it in 1882-1883.650 km from the mouth to the city of Bangi is navigable.It supports wildlife such as lizards, crocodiles, birds, and fish Eagle.
Activities
Agriculture because of fertile river banks.Transportation using boats between Bangui and Brazzaville towns.
Vegetation
Papyrus swampsOkoume trees
6. River Kasai
It is the 6th longest river in Africa covering a distance of 2153 km. It is one of the tributaries to Congo, and it discharges 9,873 cubic meters per second.
Countries
Ubangi flows through two countries namely; Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Spotlights
Acts as the border between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.It has three tributaries namely the Kwango, Fimi, and Sankuru.It has Mai-Munene Falls.The vegetation mainly consists of equatorial rainforest.760 km of it is navigable.Although it has numerous reptile species, crocodiles are the most prominent of them all.
Activities
TransportAgricultureAn artery of tradeFishing
7. River Orange
It is the seven longest river in Africa and the longest in South Africa covering 2092 km. It discharges 365 cubic meters per second.
Countries
The river passes through four countries; South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho
Spotlights
It is part of the two international borders; one between South Africa and Namibia and the second one between South Africa and Lesotho.The naming of the river was done by Robert Jacob Gordon who named it after the Dutch Royal House.It does not have a navigable part. The vegetation is the bulbous plant.
Activities
Irrigation is carried downstream of Vanderkloof Dam.Generation of hydroelectric power.Tourism attraction. Orange River Rafting is the most popular attraction.National parks and accommodation
River Orange passes through several National Parks namely; Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, Sehlabathebe National Park, Augrabies Falls National Park. The accommodations include; Torgo’s Safari camp, Xaus Lodge, Sehlabathebe Park Lodge, Kalahari Getaway Hotel and Plato Lodge.
8. River Limpopo
It is the 8th longest in Africa, and it covers a total of 1800 kilometres and discharges 170 cubic meters every second.
Countries
Limpopo passes through a total of four states; Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana
Spotlights
2nd largest in South AfricaAfter the Zambezi, it is the 2nd largest that flows into the Indian Ocean.It has two major tributaries; Marico and Crocodile.The vegetation is mangrove.It is 100km navigable.It flows through Kruger National Park that has the big 5; elephants, lions, buffalo, rhinos and leopard.
Activities
FishingTourismWhite water raftingTransportation
9. River Senegal
In West Africa, it is the longest and the 9th longest in Africa, and it covers 1601km. It discharges 650 cubic meters per second.
Countries
It passes through Guinea, Senegal, Mali, and Mauritania.
Spotlights
It has two large dams namely Manantali Dam situated in Mali and Maka-Diama dam on the Mauritania-Senegal border.It has three tributaries; Gorgol, Karakor, and Faleme. Some parts are navigable, and it flows through Niokolo Koba National Park.
Activities
Hydropower generation.Agriculture alongside fertile banks and irrigation.
10. Blue Nile
It is one of the tributaries of the Nile that originates from Lesser Abay and Lake Tana. It is the 10th longest with a distance of 1450 km.
Countries
It flows through Ethiopia and Sudan.
Spotlights
During the rainy season, it supplies 80% of its water to the Nile.It has a 400km canyon.
Activities
TourismFishingRafting and bungee jumping
Now you know the longest river in Africa and the top 10. They greatly aid in the rise of early civilisation and supporting implausible biodiversity. If you happen to visit Africa, be sure to enjoy the outstanding scenes that add to the natural wealth from rivers.
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