Congo River: Facts About the Deepest River in the World

Here are some facts about the Congo River.

  • The Congo River is the 9th longest river in the world, at 2,920 miles. It is also the deepest river in the world, with parts of it over 700 feet deep.

  • The Congo’s source is in the highlands of northeastern Zambia, and it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Banane, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It drains an area of about 1,335,000 square miles.
  • There are over 4000 islands in the river; over 50 of these islands are more than 10 miles long.
  • The river is the second longest in Africa, after the Nile River, and has a discharge of 1,500,000 cubic feet. The Congo River crosses the equator twice, once in each direction.
  • Livingstone Falls, named after the famous explorer, David Livingstone, is one of the most impressive sights on the river. The falls are a series of waterfalls and rapids, stretching for over 200 miles and have as much power as all the waterfalls and rivers in the US combined.
  • The Congo rainforest is the second largest in the world after the Amazon rainforest. There are some animals that are only found here, such as the Congo peafowl, bonobo and dryas monkey.
  • The Congo River basin contains an estimated 1,000 species of birds. It is also home to more birds, fish and mammals than any other part of Africa.
  • Henry Morton Stanley wrote about his journey down the river in a book called The Dark Continent, published in 1878. The river also features in the 1995 movie called Congo (based on the Michael Crichton book).
  • The Congo River has given its name to two African countries. They are the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • There are about 40 hydroelectric plants along the Congo. Potentially, the Congo River could supply electricity to all of sub-Saharan Africa.

What next? Learn more about rivers by visiting out rivers resources page.