List of Top 10 Rivers in Africa

River Nile

Background

River Nile is the longest river in Africa and in the world with the length of 6,650 km (4,132mi) flowing northwards from Burundi through Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt on its way to Mediterranean Sea.
Its coordinates are as follows 18.4500° N, 33.3833° E

Google map

river nile

Highlights

  • River Nile is famous International River because of it being the longest in the world
  • River Nile flows from south to north
  • It is formed by three major tributaries: the White Nile, the Blue Nile and the Atbara.
  • The Nile is regarded as Egypt’s lifeblood since most of the country’s population lives in the Nile valley.

Activities

  • Fishing: A number of fish species including the Tilapia are found in this river
  • It is the potential for water games like rafting.
  • Farming: There is a lot of farming going on the Nile Valley.
  • Some parts of the river are Navigable
  • The river has the potential to support agricultural farming through irrigation
  • Wildlife : The river is supporting a lot of wildlife including hippos, crocodiles and many species of birds and animals
  • The river has been tapped in a number of places for energy production and has the potential to produce more energies.

Vegetation

The river supports different types of vegetation including papyrus, plume thistle, hamomile, blue Egyptian water lily and opium poppy among others

Navigable part of the river

The total navigable area for River Nile is 1,545 km.

Energy

River Nile has the potential for energy production for countries its flows through. The Nile is supplying energy as follows;
Burundi – 20mw
Egypt – 40 mw
Ethiopia- 13,947 mw
Rwanda – 20 mw
South Sudan – 2,570 mw
Sudan – 3,280 mw
Uganda -4,343 mw

River Congo

Background

River Congo is the second longest river in Africa and the world’s deepest river with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 feet). It is the second largest river in the world by volume of water discharged and ninth longest in World with length of 4,700 km (2,922 mi). The river flows through Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of the Congo. The Congo River’s sources are in the mountains and highlands of the East African Rift, as well as Lake Tanganyika and Lake Mweru.
Coordinates of River Congo are as follows; 6.0792° S, 12.4500° E

Google map

river congo

Highlights

The river and its tributaries flow through the Congo rainforest, the second largest rain forest area in the world

  • The river has the second-largest flow in the world
  • River steamers operate throughout the year between Kinshasa and Kisangani
  • Congo River is Africa’s largest potential source of hydroelectric power
  • Kinkole is a small fishing port some 40 km from downtown Kinshasa. With its lively fish market

Activities

  • Generating hydropower
  • Tourism: Congo River is the most pertinent tourist attraction in the country. The river separates the two Congos – Kinshasa and Brazzaville
  • Production of palm oil
  • Transport: the Congo River is an important navigational system in Africa, accessible at all seasons to barges with capacities between 800 and 1,100 tons
  • Fishing: Dominated by the elephantfishes, followed by cichlids, characins and the Distichodontidae
  • Agriculture activities

Vegetation

  • Caesalpiniacea: trees and shrubs comprising about 150 genera and 2,200 species. The leaves are stipulate, alternate and mostly pinnately compound.
  • Okoumé trees: The trees grow to a length of 30 to 60 meters with a diameter of 60 to 200 cm. Okoumé- has quite soft wood
  • Papyrus: Many papyrus swamps are found on River Congo and on sites that contains several rivers, nine lakes, extensive rainforests and flooded grasslands

Navigable of the river

Congo River is navigable in sections, especially between Kinshasa and Kisangani. The Congo River and its tributaries are navigable for 3,000 km.

National parks

Congo River flows through a number of National Parks which include;
Salonga National Park
Salonga National Park is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve. Situated at the heart of the central basin of the Congo River on an area of 36,000 km²

Wildlife in River Congo

The river and rainforest are home to nearly 400 mammal species like pygmy hippo, 1,000 types of bird, 216 species of amphibians, 280 species of reptiles and more than 900 species of butterflies

Energy

Inga Dam on the Congo River has the potential capacity to produce up to 40,000 MW of electric power for the country.

River Niger

Background

Niger River is the third longest river in Africa, the principal river of western Africa and eleventh longest in the world, extending about 4,200 km (2,611 mi). The river flows through: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Its main tributary is the Benue River.
Coordinates of 05°19′34″N 06°28′15″E / 5.32611°N 6.47083°E

Google map

river niger

Highlights

  • Third-longest River in Africa
  • Its main tributary is the Benue River
  • River Niger floods yearly; this begins in September, peaks in November and by May
  • The river is known for its unique route that is; the river runs away from the sea into the Sahara Desert and then takes a sharp right turn near the ancient city of Timbuktu

Activities

  • Transport mainly by boats on the River
  • Agriculture: Most of the river banks are fertile and good for agriculture.
  • Fishing
  • Trade: Great River has supported life and trade in the region for instance; the ancient city of Timbuktu is located only a short distance from its banks.

Vegetation

  • Shrub and acacia wood: Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily with the Swedish botanist and shrubs grow along the river.
  • Mangrove swamp vegetation: Mangrove trees provide shelter and food for land animals and fish; all eight species of mangrove trees that grow in Africa do so along the Niger
  • Sedge vegetation consisting of fine, wire like tufts interspersed with bare rock surfaces
  • Mangrove trees are an important part of the economy and the natural environment in the Niger River. Mangroves provide food and shelter for numerous animals and fish along the riverfront

Navigable

Niger River is navigable 300 km from Niamey to Gaya on the Benin frontier from mid-December to March

National Parks

River Niger flows through a National Park that is;

W National Park
W National Park is park located on the border of Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin, including the meandering stretch of the river Niger. The park has animals such as: African buffalo, cheetahs, warthogs, hippos, caracal, leopards, lions, baboons and elephants.

Wildlife on River Niger

There are many types of animals in and around the Niger River. For instance Fish, such as, catfish, carp and Nile perch are found in the Niger River. Also in the Niger are crocodiles and hippopotamus live in the river.

Energy

The Kainji Dam built in 1968, Jebba Dam built in 1985 and Shiroro Dam on River Niger are all hydroelectric dams and generate a potential combined power output of 1,900 megawatts

River Zambezi

Background

River Zambezi is the fourth longest river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa. The area of its basin is 1,390,000 square kilometres and the depth of 2,693 km (1,673 mi). The river flows through Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The coordinates are as follows: 18.8333° S, 36.2833° E

Google map

river zambezi

Highlights

  • River Zambezi is known for several waterfalls including the amazing Victoria Falls, which is one of Africa’s most popular sightseeing spots
  • Others are waterfalls include Ngonye Falls in Western Zambia and Chavuma Falls on the border of Angola and Zambia.
  • People of Zambia believe the Zambezi River has a spirit called Nyami Nyami
  • First European to see the Zambezi River was Vasco de Gama in 1498 who named it the River of Good Omens
  • On Zambezi River there is Victoria Falls

Activities

  • Devils Pool – There is Livingstone Island with a picnic and then a swim in Devils Pool on the very edge of Victoria Falls
  • Wave boarding and surfing – this one is for the serious enthusiast. River boarding is done on the same section of water as the river rafting
  • Fishing: there is tiger fish, a variety of bream, Kafue pike and Vundu catfish found in the upper Zambezi River and Chessa, Nkupi, Bottlenose, Cornish Jack and a variety of Bream found in the Lower Zambezi
  • White water rafting: The rafting takes place in the gorges below the Victoria Falls
  • Viewing the falls

Vegetation

  • Savanna: a rolling grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees on the river banks
  • Grassland: these cover 8% of the river basin
  • Mangrove swamp: Mangrove trees provide shelter and food for land animals

Navigable

460 km of Zambezi River is navigable to Tete and along Cahora Bassa Lake

National Parks

River Zambezi flows through the Zambezi National Park which lies on the north bank of the Zambezi River in south eastern Zambia. The park covers an area of 409 2km2 most of the game is concentrated along the valley floor

Accommodation

Chiawa Camp
Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
Baines’ River Camp
Baines’ River Camp provides guests with intimate luxury on the banks of the Zambezi River.
Kanyemba Lodge
The chalets are built out of natural materials, stone walls and thatched roofs
Anabezi Camp
Anabezi is a 22 bed camp located on the banks of the Zambezi River at the Lower end of the Lower Zambezi National Park

Wildlife in Zambezi River

The river supports large populations of many animals. Hippopotamuses are abundant along most of the calm stretches of the river, and many crocodiles are also present. Monitor lizards are found in many places. Bird life is abundant, with species including heron, pelican, egret and African Fish Eagle present in large numbers. Riverine woodland also supports many large animals, such as buffalo, zebras, giraffes and elephants.

Energy

There are two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river, the Kariba Dam and Cahora Bassa Dam. The hydropower potential of the Zambezi River is estimated at 20 000 megawatts.

River Ubangi

Background

Ubangi River is the fifth longest river in Africa with length of 2,270 km (1,410) and is a major tributary of the Congo River in equatorial Africa. The Ubangi is formed at the junction of the Uele and Bomu rivers. It then flows westward and southward through Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo.
Coordinates: 0°30′S 17°42′E / 0.500°S 17.700°E

Google map

river ubangi

Highlights

  • Ubangi River is the largest tributary of the Congo River.
  • Forms the boundary between the DRC and the Republic of Congo
  • In 1870 the river was visted by Georg Schweinfurth a German botanist and in 1882–83 was visted by Wilhelm Junker a German explorer from Russia

Activities

  • Transport: it provides an important transport artery for river boats between Bangui and Brazzaville
  • Agriculture due to fertile soils along the river banks
  • Fishing is the major activities done the river more especially by locals

Vegetation

  • Papyrus: Many papyrus swamps are found on River Congo and on sites that contains several rivers, nine lakes, extensive rainforests and flooded grasslands
  • Okoumé trees: The trees grow to a length of 30 to 60 meters with a diameter of 60 to 200 cm. Okoumé- has quite soft wood

Navigable

The Ubangi is navigable from the mouth to the city of Bangi for a distance of 650 km

Wildlife of Ubangi River

The river supports animals like; crocodiles, lizards, birds like pelican, egret and Fish Eagle

River Kasai

Background

River Kasai is the sixth longest river in Africa with a length of 2,153 km (1,338 mi). The river is a tributary of the Congo River and begins in Angola and serves as the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Coordinates: 10.9603° S, 19.3156° E

Google map

river kasai

Highlights

  • Serves as the border between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
  • There the Mai-Munene Falls
  • The Kasai’s tributaries include the Fimi, Kwango and Sankuru rivers

Activities

  • Agriculture: River basin offers vital potentials for agriculture activities due to fertile soils
  • Transport mainly by use of boats on the water
  • Fishing
  • Trade artery.

Vegetation

Kasai watershed consists mainly of equatorial rainforest areas

Navigable

River Kasai is navigable for 760 km above its mouth

Wildlife River Kasai

River Kasai contains various kinds of reptiles of which crocodiles are the most striking species. Semiaquatic tortoises are also found, as are several species of water snakes.

River Orange

Background

Orange River is the seventh longest river in Africa with length of 2,092 km (1,300 mi) and the longest river in South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg Mountains in Lesotho, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean.
Coordinates: 28.6333° S, 16.4500° E

Google map

river orange

Highlights

  • The river forms part of the international borders between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho
  • River was named by Robert Jacob Gordon after the Dutch Royal House
  • River rises in the Drakensberg in Lesotho where it is known as the Senqu

Activities

  • Water for irrigation: Irrigation in the vast area downstream of the Vanderkloof Dam
  • Hydroelectric power: hydroelectric power generation occurs within the area of Namibia or Botswana on the river
  • Orange River rafting: Rafting on the Orange River is a popular tourist activity

Vegetation

  • Bulbous plant one that possesses a bulb.

Navigable

The river is not navigable

National Parks

River Orange flows through a number of National Parks which include
Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
Gemsbok National Park covers several different countries making up an area of about 2.5 million km2. Kalahari Gemsbok National Park boasts a huge ecosystem.

Accommodation

Torgo’s Safari camp
The camp consists of 4 breathtaking thatched tents, each with an en-suite bathroom sleeping 2 guests.
Xaus Lodge
Situated on the red dunes of the Kalahari it overlooks an enormous salt
Sehlabathebe National Park
Sehlabathebe National Park is located in the Maloti Mountains in Qacha’s Nek District, Lesotho,and is part of the larger Maloti-Drakensberg World Heritage Site on an area of 69.5 km2

Sehlabathebe Park Lodge
12km into the park
Tel: +266 2232 6075
Augrabies Falls National Park
Augrabies Falls National Park is a national park located around the Augrabies Falls about 120 km west of Upington in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa.
Kalahari Gateway Hotel
Located 40 km from Augrabies Falls National Park
Plato Lodge
Plato Lodge is ‘n 5-bed, luukse lodge in Augrabies National Park.

Wildlife on River Orange

The Orange River has a few crocodiles, Rock-catfish, Maloti minnow, Namaqua barb (Barbus hospes) and River sardine

Energy

Orange River has a generating capacity of about 360 megawatts (MW)

River Limpopo

Background

Limpopo River is the eighth longest river in Africa with a length 1,800 km (1,118 mi). The river is found in southeast Africa that rises as the Krokodil (Crocodile) River in the Witwatersrand South Africa and flows through Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the Indian Ocean
Coordinates: 25.1667° S, 33.5833° E

Google map

river limpopo

Highlights

  • The river is the second largest river in South Africa
  • Limpopo is the second largest river in Africa that drains to the Indian Ocean, after the Zambezi River
  • Tributaries are Marico River and the Crocodile River

Activities

  • Fishing: Limpopo River has fishing tradition and this has contributed to the growing tourism fishing industry
  • White-Water Rafting: The great Limpopo River plays host to regular white-water rafting and canoeing excursions
  • Boating: The Limpopo river is majestic and mostly serene and what better way to explore the river than to sit back and relax on a river cruise

Vegetation

Mangrove vegetation: plants have adapted to muddy, shifting, saline conditions

Navigable

The river is permanently navigable to the sea for approximately 100 kilometres

National Parks

River Limpopo flows through a National Park that is;
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 19,633 square kilometres in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in north-eastern South Africa. The park consusts of the big five that is Lions, elephants, Leopard, rhinos and Buffalo

Accommodation

Leadwood Cottage
17 km common border with the Kruger National Park Kruger National Park
Diminitus
5 km from the Kruger National Park
Bushwise Safari Lodge
Situated on the banks of the Crocodile River overlooking the Kruger National Park

Wildlife on River Limpopo

There is variety of wild animals in Limpopo River and these include; hippos, elephants and over 600 bird species

River Senegal

Background

River Senegal is the longest river in West Africa and ninth longest river in Africa covering 1,600 km (1,020 mi). It is formed by the junction of the Bafing and Bakoy rivers in Mali and flows generally north westward along Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
Coordinates: 15.7881° N, 16.5289° W

Google map

river senegal

Highlights

  • River has two large dams along its course that is the multi-purpose Manantali Dam in Mali and the Maka-Diama dam on the Mauritania-Senegal
  • Tributaries are the Falémé River, Karakoro River and the Gorgol River

Activities

  • Generating hydropower: the river has two dams that is Manantali dam and Maka-Diama dam where power generated from.
  • Agriculture due to fertile soils along the river banks.
  • Irrigation for the plantation near the river

Navigable

The navigable area is about 1,610 km in Kayes and Mali

National Parks

River Senegal flows through a National Park that is
Niokolokoba National Park
Niokolo Koba National Park has an area of 9 113 km2 and is the largest and the oldest national park in Senegal and represents an important natural ecosystem of Sudanian savanna in the West African region.

Accommodation

Campement Hôtel de Wassadou (Sénégal)
Situated within 50 km from the park

Wildlife on the river

There are 141 species of fish recorded in the Senegal River, Cinderella Shrew birds and amphibians

Energy

Senegal River has a potential of 2000 megawatts

Sources

http://quizfactz.com/index.php/geography/rivers-seas-lakes/item/869-top-10-longest-rivers-in-africa

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/topten/longestrivers.html

http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/geography/longest-rivers.htm

http://www.doitinafrica.com/attractions/congo-river.htm

http://www.internationalrivers.org/campaigns/zambezi-river-of-life

http://www.sarafinchin.com/index.php/projects/africa/kainji-and-jebba-dams-niger-river-nigeria/

http://www.asemwater.org/Document/PopularScience/2011-05-19/334.html

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