Rivers in Africa, the Congo Illustration

The Congo River

For Kids:

The Congo River in Africa is nicknamed "the mighty".  It's a good nickname. It fits the river. The Congo is wild. It is the deepest river in the world. Some parts of the Congo are 700 feet deep! In some places, the river is 6 miles wide. In others, it is extremely narrow with wild rapids and waterfalls. Most rivers, like the Nile River (also in Africa) create a delta of mud and soil that they drop when they enter the sea. Not the Congo. The Congo moves too swiftly to create a delta of good farmland. The Congo starts quite near to the start of the Nile River, but it flows in a different direction. The Nile flows north for about 4,000 miles, though Egypt, and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Congo flow west for about 3,000 miles, and pours into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Congo is a dangerous river for travelers. It runs through dense rainforests and thick grasslands. From a boat on the Congo, you can see elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, parrots, flowers, and hippopotamuses. Although there are big barges moving along the river, and big ocean going vessels who can travel a short way up the river to the first falls, most of the river is traveled by small boats or not traveled at all. There are some parts of the Congo that even small boats cannot safely navigate - the rapids and waterfalls are too wild. Since the Congo was first discovered by a Portuguese explorer about 550 years ago, there have been many huge projects undertaken to make the Congo more accessible. But it's still a dangerous river.

People live along the river. They use the river to provide food, irrigation, and transportation.