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Congo river

The Congo River (also known as the Zaire) is over 2,720 miles (4,375 km) long. It is the fifth-longest river in the world, and the second longest in Africa - second only to the Nile River in Northeastern Africa. The Congo River flows primarily through the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the People's Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and partially through Zambia, Angola, Cameroon, and Tanzania. The Congo ranges in width from 0.5 to 10 miles (0.8 to 16 km) depending on the location and time of year.


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The Congo River forms in the southern-most part of the DRC where the Lualaba and Luvua Rivers meet. The Congo then flows to Stanley Falls, near Kisangani, a point just north of the Equator before taking on a counterclockwise course. The Congo loops first to the northeast, then to the west, and then to the south before reaching an outlet into the Atlantic Ocean, feeding a river basin that covers over 1.6 million square miles (4.1 million sq. km). At the outlet into the Atlantic Ocean, the Congo can dispose of up to 1.2 million cubic feet (34,000 cu m) of water per second.


Within the Congo's banks can be found over 4,000 islands, more than 50 of which are at least 10 miles (16 km) in length. It is because of these islands that some stretches of the Congo are unnavigable. It has been estimated that almost 250 mi (400 km) of the Congo are unnavigable due to these islands plus a number of cataracts, in particular at Livingstone Falls.

Due to the fact that the Congo has many tributaries, the Congo River is the biggest transportation source in Central Africa. The Ubangi River is a major tributary, along with the Aruwimi, Kasai, and Lomami Rivers. The Congo River and all the streams that contribute to it together account for over 9,000 miles (14,500 km) of navigable routes across Central Africa.



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