Congo River

Congo river

   Africa has several great rivers. One is the Congo. The Congo River is one of the 10 longest rivers in the world. In places this big river is six miles wide. In other places it is narrow and flows through a deep gorge.
   The Congo starts not far from where the Nile River begins, but it flows in a different direction. The Nile flows 4,000 miles to the north, the Congo 3,000 miles to the west. The Congo empties into the Atlantic. On its way it crosses the equator twice.
   Most rivers as big as the Congo have built great deltas where they reach the sea.
   The Congo has no delta. As it enters the sea it flows too swiftly to drop mud.
   There are few cities on the banks of the Congo. Traveling down this vast river would not be at all like traveling down the Mississippi. These are some of the strange sights a traveler might see: hippopotamuses and crocodiles in the water; elephants in high grass near the banks; hot, gloomy forests with bright flowers, chattering monkeys, and screaming parrots; African natives catching fish with long spears; huts made of grass and palm leaves; the blazing sun hanging almost straight overhead at noon.
   In the Congo there are many falls and rapids which boats cannot pass. Railroads for passengers and freight have been built around some of them. Big ocean ships can sail about 100 miles up the river—up to the first falls. Above these falls small boats are used.
   Nearly 550 years ago a Portuguese explorer discovered the Congo. He gave it the name Poderoso, which means "the mighty." It is a good name for this great river.