History tells us that life begins where the river flows. Millions of people often rely on rivers for freshwater, food, and transport.
Africa is one of the continents immensely blessed with the river all over its territory.
There are seven major rivers in Africa. These rivers propagate life, and yes, spark civilization. Without these rivers, millions of African animals have no source of survival. Most of them rely on water to live and survive.
So, what are the seven major rivers in Africa?
The Nile, Congo, Niger, Zambezi, Senegal, Limpopo, and Orange are the seven rivers in Africa. They are heavily distributed in the entire continent. Each one of them has a corresponding character and impact on Africa.
But are there only seven rivers in Africa? Are these rivers enough to sustain life in the second largest continent in the world?
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How many rivers are in Africa?
Well, the rivers I mentioned above are the major rivers in Africa. Of course, the continent has more than just seven rivers.
Africa is blessed with water resources. Thus, beautiful lakes and endless rivers are widely present in Africa. It has 63 transboundary river basins. The said basins covered a sum of 64% of Africa’s land area.
Yet, the seven major rivers stand out. Let’s find out why.
The Seven Major Rivers in Africa:
- Nile River
- Congo River
- Niger River
- Zambezi River
- Orange River
- Limpopo River
- Senegal River
The Nile River is the first that comes to mind without even looking up. Nile River in Egypt is the longest river in Africa.
It has been the most popular among the seven major rivers on the continent. The Nile River is the subject of historical accounts. It is where the earliest civilization began. It is the longest river in Africa, which stretched from Egypt to Burundi in the east.
It links North Africa to East Africa, and it brings life to the continent’s desert. The river sustains life in Africa. Over 160 million people depend on the fresh waters of the Nile River.
Congo, on the other side, is the second-longest river in Africa. It is recorded to be 720 feet deep. Along the Amazon River, the Congo River is also considered one of the world’s great rivers. It flows out of the equatorial zones starting from Eastern Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.
Since it is the second-longest river, it flows through the Republic of Congo up to Angola. The river has a lot of fascinating facts. It is the only major river that crosses the equator twice. 13% of the world’s hydropower potential is accounted to the Congo River.
The river is often mystified, famous myths and legends are often associated with the Congo. It was once called the ‘heart of darkness’ due to its history of the slave, ivory trade, and tribal warfare.
Niger is the third-longest river. Its water is more transparent than the Nile River. It carries only a tenth of sediment compared to the Nile. The rivers have one of the most unusual routes of any major river in the globe. It is a boomerang in shape where its primary source is merely 240km inland from the Atlantic Ocean.
It is a crucial body of water, especially to the Sahara Desert. The northern part of the river is the source of water for the desert. Niger is an important area of trade across the western Sahara and Sahelian regions.
It is the lifeline of the Sahelian Region because it provides water for agriculture. Major dams and irrigation to cultivate and sustain life are present near the river.
Next is the Zambezi. It is home to the famous Victoria falls but compared to Niger. It is way shorter. Yet, it is the largest river in the continent that flows directly to the Indian Ocean.
It is an important water source for countries in Africa. Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola heavily depends on the water from the Zambezi.
The river is found in South Africa. There are two national parks situated along its course. These are the Augrabies Falls National Park and Richtersveld National Park.
It has a colonial past as it is named after the Prince of Orange in 1779. In the country of South Africa, it is considered the longest river. It is one of the most sought-after destinations in the country. It has beautiful scenery, a tolerable climate, and a serene landscape.
Another major river located in South Africa is the Limpopo River. It is 1,600 km long and the second largest in the country. It is an essential body of water on the continent because it serves as a border. The river separates South Africa from Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Another fascinating fact about the river is its connection to the Indian Ocean. The river empties itself into the ocean and flows around several countries in Africa. It is also a great source of water supply to nearby villages in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
The Senegal River is the convergence of two rivers, Semefe and Bafing. The river flows from the west then north and runs for about 1,790 kilometers. It is an important water source back then.
The river has a colorful history. It is where trade was established between the Mali Empire and traders from the Sahara. The river was called Senegal because immense deposits of gold can be found on its river bed.
Which country in Africa has many rivers?
If we consider all the listed seven major rivers in Africa, South Africa has the most rivers. Two of the main rivers of the continent are located in South Africa. They are the Limpopo River and the Orange River.
Further, other minor rivers in the country are the following:
- Vaal River
- Tugela River
- Olifants River
- Gamtoos River
- Great Kei River
- Komati River
- Great Fish River
- Molopo River
The presence of a flowing water supply in South Africa may be one reason it is developed. Yet, South African rivers cannot be navigated by large seagoing vessels, unlike Congo.
What is the main river in Africa?
As second to the world’s largest continent, Africa is home to the longest rivers. The Nile River, the continent’s longest river and disputed as the longest globally, is a long stretch of water. It runs from different countries in the north to the eastern side.
The Nile River passes through 11 countries in Africa, and it gives life and water supply to them. The countries where the Nile River passes are the following:
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
- South Sudan
- Republic of Sudan
Even though the river passes through these countries, it is associated with Egypt. The Nile is often regarded as a gift to Egypt. The earliest civilization in the world began in the Nile River.
Out of its 4, 160 miles length, 22% of which runs through Egypt. We can say that a considerable percentage of Egyptians heavily depend on the Nile River.
Again, in Egypt, the Nile River is a huge blessing. It creates a fertile valley in the country that initiated life to flourish. Most of the ancient Egyptians found their life and survival along the Nile River. They cultivated the soil near the river and propagated animals for food.
The ancient civilization in Egypt could not exist without the Nile River. We know that a large area of Egypt is dry and desert. The river gives water and moisture to ancient Egypt.
The importance of the Nile River in Africa is immeasurable. It opens Africa to the rest of the world. The vital trade between Africa and Europe was established in the Nile River. Through this river, the continent becomes more accessible to outsiders.
What is the deepest river in Africa?
Africa has the longest river in its territory; it is also home to the deepest river. The Congo River is the deepest in Africa, and even in the world. It secured the top spot as the deepest river on the globe.
So, how deep is the Congo River?
By vastness, the Congo River can carry 1.25 million cubic feet of water. The river can accommodate 13 Olympic-sized swimming pools all at once. It shows that the river is deep and large enough to cover this massive amount of water.
In the aspect of deepness, the Congo River is approximately 720 feet deep that even light will find it hard to penetrate. By comparison, it is five times deeper than the Sydney Harbor, the deepest harbor on the globe.
It is also the continent’s second-longest river that runs from the Republic of Congo up to Tanzania.
Due to its length and deepness, the Congo River is divided into crucial regions, namely:
- Upper Congo
- Middle Congo
- Lower Congo
The Upper Congo has intense currents and rapids, while the Middle Congo has a stable stream. The Lower Congo, on one side, has gorges and falls, making it the most dangerous part of the river.
It is also a medium of transportation in Central Africa. The river provides approximately 9,000 miles of navigable shipping routes in the region. It is divided into three navigable routes.
The first section starts from the mouth of the river at the Atlantic up to the Matadi. The latter is located at the left bank of the Congo River. Many seagoing vessels navigate the first section of the river.
After traversing Matadi, the second and third sections follow. It is about 2,000 miles wherein smaller vessels can pass through. As you go along the river, it narrows down that bigger vessels will not pass.
Like the Nile River, Congo is also an essential body of water to Africa. Its largeness allows people along the riverside to cultivate life. It is highly navigational that people traverse the river to go from one place to another.
What is the most dangerous river in the world?
Nile River is one of the longest rivers in the world.
Congo River is at the top list of the deepest river in the world.
But the most dangerous? Is it still in Africa?
Of course! A resounding yes is my answer. Africa has the longest, the deepest, and the most dangerous river as well. The continent’s bodies of water are so diverse that almost all types of the river are existing.
Yet, what is the most dangerous river in the world?
The most dangerous river in the world is the Zambezi River. It is considered by many as the world’s most treacherous body of water. It is almost 3,000-kilo meters in length, that traversing it is an experience of a lifetime.
Very few dared to go on a water adventure in the Zambezi River. Only the brave ones and thrill-seekers would be able to want to experience the river.
So, why is it dangerous?
- Huge stones and treacherous trenches
Well, the river has hidden danger in its currents and rapids. Below the famous Victoria Falls, there are already 24 fearsome rapids in the Zambezi. The rapid fall from Grade 3 to Grade 5 – this is the highest commercial grading when it comes to rapids. Very few athletes dared to swim in the currents of the Zambezi river.
Another fearful challenge that you can encounter is the presence of wildlife. Zambezi River is home to almost two hundred thousand crocodiles. Add up to that the number of hippos present in the river. Aside from the rapids, you can’t get enough of too many crocodiles and hippos in the river.
As the most dangerous river in the world, Zambezi is also filled with huge stones. It makes the river more challenging because you don’t know what to expect, passing through it. There are treacherous trenches that will make you think twice. Is it passable by an ordinary person?
The African continent is more than deserts, savannas, and jungles. It is about exciting rivers as well. It houses the longest, deepest, and even the most dangerous rivers on the globe.
Indeed, Africa is blessed with rich geography making it attractive to outsiders. The rivers in the continent are not only about good water sources. They have historical and cultural significance to the continent, even to the world. They give life to Africa in the past and even today.