Congo River: The Deepest River in the World
The Congo River in Africa is the deepest river in the world with depths measuring a whopping 750 feet! This river derives its name from the Kingdom of Kongo, a kingdom that once existed where parts of Angola, Cabinda, and the Republic of the Congo are present today. The deepest river in the world certainly has an important role to play by having a direct influence on the local economy as well having an indirect impact on the world as a whole.
The Congo River flows through the Congo rainforest, which is the second largest rainforest on Earth. The Democratic Republic of Congo was called Zaire between 1971 and 1997, during which time the government chose to rename the Congo River as the ‘Zaire River’. The East African Rift is the main source of the Congo’s water, as is the Chambeshi River. Enough water flows through the Congo River to fill 13 olympic-sized swimming pools every second, which is likely due to the fact that it averages around 90 inches or rainfall each year. It is also the world’s fifth longest river topping out at about 2,914 miles long with a one and a half million square mile draining basin. It also happens to be the second largest river in the world behind the Amazon River in South America. The Congo River runs through five African countries but it passes through the equator twice, which explains the lush rainforest that surrounds this river.
The local wildlife really depends upon this river. The Congo River is home to more than 700 different species of fish as well as hippos, elephants, crocodiles, tortoises, and even pigs! Because of the diverse environments that this river travels through, it also serves as an important water source for grazing animals such as giraffes, antelopes, gazelles, and zebras. But the animals aren’t the only ones who depend on this river for food, water, and in some cases shelter. Nearby residents would not be able to survive if it weren’t for the Congo River. The water is used to irrigate crops for personal use as well as to export, particularly cotton, tobacco, and sugar crops. They also use the river for fishing.
Another very important role that the deepest river in the world plays is a method of transportation for both people as well as goods to sell and trade. River steam boats are used to travel up and down and even across the river. This may seem terribly outdated to many who are not from this area, but bear in mind that many of the countries in this area still are not equipped with roads or even railroads to help people get themselves and their goods where they need to go.
Potential Worldwide Influence
This powerful river has massive potential as an energy source now and in the future. Hydroelectric power is energy which is derived from the force or energy of running water, and as we mentioned earlier, the Congo River runs enough water per second to fill 13 Olympic swimming pools. Talk about powerful! The river could provide the African continent as well as other parts of the world with hydroelectric power that can be used to run hundreds of different types of machines, such as textile machines, dock cranes, sawmills, and local elevators. As a whole, these machines use a great deal of power which at the moment is costing the planet its natural resources. A government-run power company is already looking into the possibility of harnessing this energy using a hydroelectric dam.
The Congo River is largely overrated, but in truth it offers the African continent—and indeed the world—a wealth of possibilities.