The Congo River (occasionally called the Zaire
River) is the fifth longest river in the world, and carries more water than any river on Earth except the Amazon
River. It's formed in the Democratic Republic of Congo
where the Lualaba and the Luvua rivers come together, and flows to the Atlantic Ocean through the DROC and the Republic of Congo
(whose repective capitals, Kinshasa
, face each other across the wide area called Stanley Pool
). Its tributaries come from the Central African Republic
, and Tanzania
, making it a major waterway in sub-Sahara
In places the river is up to 10 miles wide, and along its length are more than 4,000 islands. Between the islands and the waterfalls, the river is unnavigable in places, but in between these barricades, boat traffic thrives.
The first European to see any of the Congo River was Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao, about 1483. David Livingstone and Henry Stanley in the 1870s were the first non-Africans to travel most of the river's length. Joseph Conrad based his "Heart of Darkness" on travels on the Congo shortly thereafter.