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Interesting Facts About 10 of the Major Rivers in Africa: Source, Length & Location

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Africa is famous for its tourist destination and gorgeous scenery. One scene that attracts people to travel from far and wide is its rivers. Africa has some of the most intriguing rivers in their location and length. Some of the major rivers in Africa include the Nile, Congo, and Zambezi. How much do you know about them? Let’s find out.

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1. River Nile

  • Source: Uganda (White Nile), Lake Tana, Ethiopia (Blue Nile), Lake Victoria, 
  • Length of the White Nile: 6,650 km
  • Pours into: the Mediterranean from the Nile Delta, Egypt

The River Nile is one of the major rivers in Africa. It’s the continent’s longest river and the world’s longest. Some argue that the Amazon is the longest. The Nile flows across several countries.

Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Egypt. It empties its waters into the Mediterranean Sea. River Nile has two major tributaries – the White Nile and the Blue Nile whose source is Ethiopia. It’s a major source of livelihood for Egyptians.

2. Congo River

  • Source: Chambeshi River, North East Zambia
  • Length:  4,700 km
  • Pours into: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Atlantic Ocean at Moanda 

The Congo River is one of the major rivers in Africa for the following reasons: It is the second-longest river in Africa, it is the deepest with a depth of 720ft, the 9th longest in the world and is the only river in the world that crosses the equator twice.

At 4,700 km, the Congo River flows through several countries; the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Angola, Zambia, and Tanzania. Its source is the Chambeshi River in North East Zambia. 

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3. River Niger

  • Source: Guinea
  • Length: 4,200 km
  • Pours into: the Gulf of Guinea from the Niger Delta, Nigeria

Third on the list of major rivers in Africa is River Niger. It’s the third longest in the continent and 11th in the world. It pours its waters into the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of Guinea and the Niger Delta. 

The way it flows is interesting as it doesn’t go directly into the sea. It goes through the Sahara Desert into the city of Timbuktu in Mali. The other countries it goes through are Nigeria, Niger, and Guinea.  

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4. Zambezi River

  • Source: Zambia, Angola
  • Length: 2,574 km
  • Pours into: the Indian Ocean 

The Zambezi River is known for several waterfalls, including the famous Victoria Falls. It flows into the Indian Ocean and passes through Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, Zambia, and Botswana. The Zambezi River is 2,574 km long and has two sources. One in Angola and the other in Zambia.

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5. Ubangi Uele River

  • Source: Confluence of the Dungu and Kibali River
  • Length: 2,250 km
  • Pours into: the Congo River

This is one of the major rivers in Africa. It is approximately 2,250km and is the largest tributary to the Congo River. It starts at the confluence of the Mbomu and Uele rivers, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa. It’s 2,270 km long.

6. Orange River

  • Source: Maloti Mountains, Lesotho, Thaba Putsoa 
  • Length: 2,200 km
  • Pours into: the Atlantic Ocean

The river’s synonymous name is Orange River because of its Orange waters. However, the river, initially called Gariep River, was renamed after the Dutch royal William V, the Prince of Orange. 

The Orange River is the longest in South Africa, with a length of 2,200 km. It passes through Namibia, South Africa, and Lesotho, with sources in Maloti Mountains, Lesotho, and Thaba Putsoa. 

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The river drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Its waters also go into Gariep Dam and the Vanderkloof, which act as reservoirs.

7. River Kasai

  • Source: Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
  • Length: 2, 153 km
  • Pours into: the Congo River

River Kasai is also another major river in Africa. It’s 2,153 km long with its source in Bie Plateau, Angola. It passes through the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola and pours its water into the Congo River.

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8. Shebelle River

Shebelle River: Image Source: Wikimedia licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • Source: Ethiopian Highlands
  • Length:  1, 820 km
  • Pours into: Jubba River

Its source is in the highlands of Ethiopia, then flows into Somalia and Mogadishu. This river can be permanent or seasonal depending on how much it rains. When there’s a lot of rain, the Shebelle River flows into the Jubba Sea. And when the rain is little, it dries up just before it reaches the Jubba River. The river is in two countries – Ethiopia and Somalia.

9. Limpopo River

  • Source: Witwatersrand Mountains and Constantia Kloof 
  • Length: 1, 750 km 
  • Pours into: the Indian Ocean

The Limpopo River might be a mouthful, but it’s one of the major rivers in Africa. It has its source in the Witwatersrand Mountains and Constantia Kloof and flows through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana. 

The 1750 km long river pours into the Indian Ocean. Limpopo River is an amazing scenic view due to the wildlife and winding nature. 

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10. Okavango River

  • Source: Highlands of Angola 
  • Length: 1,600 km
  • Pours into: Okavango Delta 

Another major river in Africa is the Okavango River, found in Botswana. It is 1,600 km long and flows through Angola, Namibia, and Botswana. Interestingly, the Okavango River doesn’t empty into any ocean or sea. Instead, it drains its waters into open land, forming the Okavango Delta. 

Those are the 10 major rivers in Africa. We hope this makes you adventurous enough to go and check them out. 

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Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi is a sports enthusiast who enjoys sharing sports knowledge. Over the years, she has also written on different niches, and she now brings that experience at Spotcovery. She writes sports content and also, Arts & Culture, Recipe, Beauty and more.


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