The Congo- River boasts of many titles: Africa’s most powerful river and the world’s most voluminous river. The fifth longest river covers over 2,720 miles. This is 2,720 miles of untamed, glorious scenery. The river has inspired many a writer. Books such as THE LAST HERO by Peter Forbath and THE HEART OF DARKENESS by Joseph Conrad feature the Congo River as its back drop.
The river snakes its way peacefully through the savannah south of Lake Tanganyika picking up pace as it moves along. Its gradual widening allows for its growth in power and speed leading to the phenomenon that is referred to as the” gates of hell”. This is a 75 mile stretch of inaccessible rapids. Small waves of mammoth strength crash into each over here, currents flowing at even higher speed culminating into a vision of nature in its most restless form. As the river glides on it comes to a point where it submerges into lush green rainforests. Its banks are punctuated by a myriad of small islands. Their number is comes to 4000 in total give or take a few hundred. These islands contribute largely to making the river unnavigable. As it sashays through the rain forests it cuts through the equator twice, it therefore receives high precipitation from the northern and southern hemisphere. Hence its flow is regular as a result. It does not experience the typical seasonal water level fluctuations. Its flow maintains its powerful zeal up until it breaks out into the Stanley falls. The turbulence from the falls stretches for about 60 miles before it resumes a more peaceful rhythm. The bubble of the river at this point is tranquil, while there it would be impossible to believe the Congo’s violent history. An epilogue privy to slavery and tribal wars. The serenity is interrupted quaintly by the Livingstone Falls. This strength of the currents and the speed at this point are matched only by the Amazon River. 200 miles of savage water inspired beauty. From here on the river resumes its graceful flow, its power not wavering. It stretches on until it deposits itself into the waiting arms of the Atlantic Ocean. The Congo River serves purposes beyond its aesthetic value. It provides a means of livelihood to the natives who rely on its consistent flow for fishing and sustaining trade on a small scale platform. The waters also add onto the fertility of the soil which in itself promotes agriculture. Yet it serves more than just the Congo basin. There are many areas that cannot be accessed by any other modes of transportation and the natives rely heavily on the river, but so does central Africa as a whole. The river is the biggest and most dependable transportation resource. Routes have been mapped out for easy navigation. Many people take advantage of these routes. Mostly for purposes of trade but today the tourism sector are offering the river up as an experience. An experience filled with awe for nature at its rawest and purest form.