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List of Longest Rivers in Africa

Raksha Kulkarni May 19, 2020
Africa is the second largest continent and boasts of some of the longest rivers in the world. Africa has almost 67 major rivers! These rivers play a significant role wherever they flow; like some act as boundaries and most of them help replenish the local lakes.
Nile River
The Nile River is Africa’s longest river which flows to a whopping 6,853 km in total. It’s also known as the Nile-Kagera as Kagera is an east African river that starts in Burundi and forms the upper part of the headwaters of Nile.
It actually flows through 11 countries including Egypt, Kenya, Uganda, and many more. It’s regarded as the most prominent in Egypt as the civilization grew along the river itself. It still is the main water source in Egypt and Sudan.
The river is home to endangered species like the Nile Crocodile and Black rhinoceros.
Congo/Zaire River
The second largest river is the Congo/Zaire River. It is more than 720 feet deep and is the deepest river on the planet. It flows through many countries and several landscapes including desert and rain forest.
The river is 4,700 km long with a discharge of 41,800 cubic meters per second, which is the second in the world. This river is also known for its extensive diversity of aquatic species, which is almost 700 types of fish!
Niger River
It flows for 4,180 km with a discharge of 9,570 cubic meters per second. It starts from Guinea Highlands and is the main river in West Africa. The drainage basin of this river is approximately 2,117,700 square km.
The main tributary of this river is River Benue. Known for its mysterious right turn around Timbuktu, scientists say it’s only because the river is formed out of many rivers merging. Also, the river is surprisingly very clean!
White Nile
White Nile is the tributary of the Nile River. It flows for 3,700 km through 5 countries including Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, and DR Congo. It starts as a stream in Southern Burundi.
Zambezi River
This river flows for 2,574 km and is the longest east flowing river. It originates in Zambia and makes its way through numerous countries. It finally reaches Angola and then joins the Indian Ocean.
The river basin consists of area around 1,390,000 square kilometers. The Zambezi River is a source of power for two hydroelectric power setups, which power South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
The river is famous for its breathtaking Victoria Falls, located at the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
It is the longest tributary of the Congo River and located in central Africa. Ubangi is 1,060 km long and it extends with Uele which is 1,210 km long hence it totals to 2,270 km long.
The rivers are an important transport artery between Bangui and Brazzaville. The rivers act as a border between Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The river flows for 2,200 km in Lesotho. The primary source of water is the Thaba Putsoa River located in the Maloti Mountains.
Orange River
It is an important source of irrigation and hydroelectricity in the region. It has a drainage area of 9,73,000 square kilometer. The river then joins the Atlantic Ocean in the end.
The 2,153 km long river flows like a border between DRC and Angola, in central Africa. It starts in Angola, acts as a border between it and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); and ends in DRC.
Kasai River
The basin mainly includes equatorial rainforest and is known for fertile soil. This region is hence used for farming. The Kwango River Valley is used for extracting diamonds.
The river flows within the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the headstream for the Congo River, as per volume. It flows for a stretch of 1,800 kilometers.
Lualaba River
The river stretches up to 1,750 km in length. It serves as a border to South Africa from Botswana to Zimbabwe. The river’s source is the Marico and Crocodile River. It flows through central southern Africa and then joins the Indian Ocean. It has over 20 tributaries.
Limpopo River
The river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile and flows for a distance of 1,450 km. The river originates from the freshwater springs of Lake Tana in Ethiopia. This river is located in both Ethiopia and Sudan. The river is also known as the Abbay in Ethiopia.
Blue Nile River
The Senegal River flows for 1,086 kilometers in West Africa, acting as a border between Senegal and Mautritania. It’s often known as the ‘Golden River’ because of the extensive gold deposits on its bed.
Senegal River
The source of this river is the Bakoy River and it drains in the Atlantic Ocean. There are two dams on the river, wiz, Manantali Dam and Maka-Diama Dam.