The Deepest Rivers in the World

Comparing the depths of rivers is not simple. Some rivers are very deep in only a few places and much shallower along the rest of their course, some have huge seasonal variations in their depths, and the depths of others can vary dramatically from year to year.

Despite these difficulties, there is little debate that the Congo in Africa is the deepest river in the world (in terms of the depth of its water measured from the surface down to the river bed).

(1) Congo – 219 metres (720 feet)

In addition to being the deepest river in the world, the Congo is also the world’s second-largest river in terms of its discharge volume, and the second-largest river in Africa.

Learn more about the Congo.

(2) Yangtze – 200 metres (656 feet)

The Yangtze is Asia’s longest river, and it is the third-longest river in the world.

Learn more about the Yangtze

(3) Danube – 178 metres (584 feet)

The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, and it flows through much of the central and eastern portions of the continent. The Danube either borders or flows through the countries of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.

Learn more about the Danube.

(4) Ottawa – 172 metres (565 feet) at the town of Deep River

Located in Canada, the Ottawa River is 1271 km (790 miles) in length, and it flows in the St Lawrence River (see below). At the town of Deep River, the Ottawa is said to reach a depth of 123 metres (402 feet). At Moose Bay, the Ottawa River is 172 metres (565 feet) deep.

(5) Brahmaputra – 134 metres (440 feet)

The Brahmaputra flows through China, India, and Bangladesh. Although it has an average depth of approximately 30 metres (100 feet), at the town of Sadiya, it is 135 metres (440 feet) deep.

The Brahmaputra flows into the Ganges.

(6) Zambezi – 116 metres (381 feet)

The Zambezi is Africa’s fourth-longest river, and it is the continent’s longest east-flowing river. At Lake Kariba, the Zambezi has a maximum depth of 116 metres (381 feet).

Learn more about the Zambezi.

(7) Amazon – 100 metres (328 feet)

Located in South America, the Amazon is the largest river in the world in terms of discharge volume. Its average depth is calculated to be between 20 metres to 50 metres, but at certain points, it can be as deep as 100 metres (328 feet).

Learn more about the Amazon.

(8) Orinoco – 100 metres (328 feet)

The Orinoco flows through Venezuela and Colombia. It is the world’s fourth-largest river in terms of discharge volume. During the rainy season, the Orinoco can become approximately 100 metres (328 feet) in places.

(9) Mekong – 100 metres (328 feet)

Located in Asia, the Mekong flows through parts of China, Mayanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Learn more about the Mekong.

(10) Yellow River – 80 metres (262 feet)

China’s second-longest river, the Yellow River flows from the Bayan Har Mountains into the Bohai Sea.

Learn more about the Yellow River.

(11) St Lawrence – 76 metres (250 feet)

Located in North America, the St Lawrence River flows from Lake Ontario into the Gulf of St Lawrence (Atlantic Ocean).

(10) Hudson – 66 metres (216 feet)

Located in the US, the Hudson River flows mainly through eastern New York. It is 315 miles in length.

At World’s End near Garrison, the Hudon River is at its deepest (66 metres or 216 feet), although it must be noted that the lower course of the river is a tidal estuary, and here the Hudson is more like a Norwegian fjord than a river.

Where to next? Learn about the Longest Rivers in the World, or visit our Rivers resources page.