The Congo River

A lifeline for the deep interior of central Africa, this river is the second largest on the continent.

Stretching from the Atlantic Ocean and slowly winding its way in a lazy coil eastward is the Congo River, bisecting both countries and a lifeline for the deep interior of central Africa.

Congo river Congos by Ollivier Girard Center for International Forestry Research CIFOR
Fishermen on the Congo River © Olivier Girard, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Second longest on the continent at over 4,300km, it stretches from the hills near Lake Tanganyika northward, then eases west and then south again to drain into the Atlantic. Two sets of rapids make the river impossible to navigate directly from source to sea, and the widest section is between the almost-lake formation of Malebo Pool and the falls near Kisangani.

The bays along the ocean have made excellent harbours and are home to a vibrant economy based on fish and other resources.

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