[well]Congo River Quick Facts

  • Also called Zaire River
  • Deepest river in the world reaching depths over 720 feet
  • Second largest river in the world based on discharge
  • 9th longest river in the world


Congo River

The river received its name from the Kingdom of Kongo, with the Zaire name coming from the Portuguese who altered the word nzere of the Kikongo language with translates “river.” The countries Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo were named after the river.

The Congo River, also called Zaire River, is the deepest river in the world. Depths of the river can reach more than 720 feet (220 m). It is the largest river in Africa based on discharge and the second largest in the world following the Amazon. The average discharge is 1,400,000 cubic feet per second (41,000 cubic meters per second).

The Congo basin extends over 1,550,000 square miles (4 million sq km), which accounts for 13% of the entire continent of Africa. The river runs through the Congo rainforest, which is the second largest rainforest in the world.

Statistically speaking, it is no wonder that the Congo River is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The sources of the Congo river include the Chambeshi River in Zambia, the highlands and mountains of the East Afican Rift, Lake Mweru and Lake Tanganyika, which feed the Lualaba River. Boyma Falls is one of the highlights of the river for visitors exploring this wonder of nature. Boyma Falls include a series of cascades that extend over 60 miles (100 km)

Where is the Congo River

Although the Congo River transcends through multiple countries, the heart of the river is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The river feeds north from the border of Zambia near the top of the country before turning and heading west towards the ocean.

Best Ways to See and Experience the Congo River

Boating on the river is one of the more exhilarating adventures. Kayakers enjoy the river in certain areas, but there are parts that are extremely dangerous. There have been a number of people killed by the river, as they tried to navigate the incredible forces created by the largest river in Africa.

Travelers can experience the force of the river and the beauty of the Boyoma Falls from the safety of the shores.

Best Times to Explore the Congo River

The Congo River can be seen at any time, however the rainy months of March through April are probably not the best time to visit.

Congo River Travel Tips

Although the area is off the US State Department warnings, the area is known for unrest. Travelers are advised to take beyond traditional safety measures when it comes to exploring the area. As long as you stay in groups and with your guide, you should be safe and have an enjoyable experience.