Congo River

History and catchment area of ​​the Congo or Lualaba

Congo ( Congo and Zaire also, that river or water ) is a power in Africa. With a length of 4374 km, it is the second-longest river in Africa; measured by its water flow of 39,160 m³ / s it is even the largest current Africa. Its catchment area is mainly (hereafter DRC), where the river flows through the huge Congo Basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


The Congo rises as the Lualaba in the south of the DR Congo in the Katanga region in the southern foothills of the Mitumba Mountains. There, its source lies about 100 kilometers west of Lubumbashi. The Lualaba flows first to the north, past the Upemba and on Kisalesee and takes about 150 miles to the north the waters of the coming of the East River run Luvua - Luapula Chambeshi, which is significantly longer than tributary to this point as the Lualaba - the source of the Congo River. The Congo has the river Luvua - Luapula Chambeshi a length of 4835 kilometers. Approximately at this river mouth he enters the large area of the Congo Basin. Again, some 150 kilometers to the north flows to him of coming from the east Lukuga. From there, the Lualaba continues to flow north to the Boyomafällen in Kisangani.

From there on, he wears - in a westerly direction flowing - the name Congo. Wherever he turns to the southwest, it flows through a vast marshland in Mbandaka. Therein it flows to the Ubangi, its second largest tributary. From there, he forms the natural border of the states Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo. A little further south leads one of the Kwa- Kasai, be by far the largest tributary. Then he reached the pool Malebo, Brazzaville and Kinshasa; the river is navigable above these cities.

A little later he overcomes the output of the Congo basin in the course of Durchbruchstals by the low threshold Guinea in the 350- kilometer-long rapids of Livingstone cases a slope of 274 meters. In Mbanza Congo leaves the common state border, crosses the only 100 to 150 km wide westernmost tip of the DRC, and reached to the border with Angola in the city of Matadi. In this limit, the river flows - now called Rio Zaire - still around 135 kilometers further to open out to the west at the border in Zaire lowlands in an up to 40 -mile-wide funnel into the Atlantic, where the Congo channel yet 150 km far continues below the sea surface.

Catchment area

The catchment area of ​​Congo is about 3.7305 million km ² after the Amazon, the second largest of the Earth and lies mainly in the DRC, next in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and even to some extent in Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola and Rwanda.

Length, depth and navigability

The Congo is 4374 km long, of which about 3000 km are navigable. It is an important shipping route; the sometimes long not navigable sections are bypassed by the railway lines. A team of biologists measured 2008/2009 in the lower reaches by sonar in waters of up to 220 meters, whereby the Congo would be the deepest river in the world.

Abundance of water, rapids and waterfalls

The Congo River forms the most water rapids of the earth, of which the Stanley and Livingstone Falls are the most famous. He spearheads its mouth 23000-75000 m³ / s of water - an annual average of 39,160 makes this m³ / s The brownish color of the water that pours out of its mouth in the Atlantic, some still 20 to 30 kilometers from the coast to detect.


The flow rate of the Congo was over 80 years ( 1903-83 ) about 480 kilometers upstream from the mouth measured in Kinshasa ( in m³ / s).


The first Europeans arrived in 1482 the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cão sailed to the Congo and this upstream. The British explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley explored its course inland, as he drove on the current 1876-1877 and explored the country.

For details, see main article history of discovery in Africa.


  • Kisangani
  • Mbandaka
  • Brazzaville
  • Kinshasa
  • Matadi


In the following table tributaries of the Congo are listed downstream and the directions from which they are noted.


Until the start of the Congo left arc (up to Kisangani ):

  • Left, from the southwest: Lubudi
  • Right, from the Southeast: Lufira, Luvua, Luapula, Chambeshi
  • Right, from the East: Lukuga, Luama, Elila, Ulindi, Lowa, Maiko

Middle reaches

From the beginning of the Congo left arc ( from Kisangani to Mbandaka ):

  • Right, from the Northeast: Lindi
  • Left, south: Lomami
  • Right, from the Northeast: Aruwimi, Itimbiri
  • Left, from East: Lulonga - Maringa, Ruki - Busira

At the end of Congo Links arc ( to Brazzaville / Kinshasa):

  • Right, from the north: Ubangi, Sangha
  • Left, from East: Kwa- Kasai ( Kasai, Cassai )


After the Congo Links arc ( from Brazzaville / Kinshasa):

  • No significant inflows


  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Republic of Congo
  • Angola


With the Inga dams part of the waters is used in the Livingstone Falls. There are plans to expand these facilities by building the largest hydroelectric plant in the world. At a power of about 40 GW will upon completion of the project annually about 320 TWh of electricity are produced, whereby the energy production in Africa would increase by about a third to. April 2013 was the start of construction in 2015 between Dem rep. Congo and South Africa decided.