Lualaba River

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The Lualaba River, in red Lualaba River DRC.svg
The Lualaba River, in red

The Lualaba River flows entirely within the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the greatest river source (headstream) of the Congo River by volume of water. The Lualaba is 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) long. Its headwaters are in the country's far southeastern corner near Musofi and Lubumbashi in Katanga Province, next to Zambia. The Chambeshi River is the longest river source (headstream) of the Congo.

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Geography

The source of the Lualaba River is on the Katanga Plateau, at an elevation of 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) above sea level. The river flows northward to end near Kisangani, where the name Congo River officially begins.

From the Katanga Plateau it drops, with waterfalls and rapids marking the descent, to the Manika Plateau. As it descends through the upper Upemba Depression (Kamalondo Trough), 457 metres (1,499 ft) in 72 kilometres (45 mi). Near Nzilo Falls it is dammed for hydroelectric power at the Nzilo Dam.

At Bukama in Haut-Lomami District the river becomes navigable for about 640 kilometres (400 mi) through a series of marshy lakes in the lower Upemba Depression, including Lake Upemba and Lake Kisale.

Ankoro lies on the west bank of the Lualaba River, opposite its confluence with the Luvua River from the east. Some geographers call the combined river below this point the "Upper Congo". [1]

Below Kongolo, the river becomes unnavigable as it enters the narrow gorge of Portes d'Enfer (Gates of Hell). Between Kasongo and Kibombo, the river is navigable for about 100 kilometres (62 mi), before rapids make it unnavigable again between Kibombo and Kindu (Port-Empain). From Kindu up to the Boyoma Falls at Ubundu, the stream is navigable again for more than 300 kilometres. The Boyoma Falls or Stanley Falls are made up of seven cataracts, over a stretch of 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the river, between Ubundu and Kisangani. The river's end is marked after the seventh cataract, near Kisangani, where its name becomes the Congo River.

Parks

The Lualaba River serves as the northern and western boundary of Upemba National Park, protecting habitats on the Kibara Plateau in Katanga Province of the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tributaries

The largest tributaries of the Lualaba River are:

Cities and towns

The black line indicates Stanley's route. Stanley's Congo.jpg
The black line indicates Stanley's route.

Cities and towns along and near the Lualaba River include:

History

The Lualaba River was once considered a possible source of the Nile, until Henry Morton Stanley journeyed down it and proved that it drained into the Atlantic Ocean. [2] Stanley himself referred to it as the Livingstone. "Had not Livingstone spoken of the river at Nyangwe as the Lualaba, I should not have mentioned the word except as a corruption by the Waguha of the Wenya term Lu-al-ow-wa..." [2] :114,135

French colonial governor Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza also explored the Lualaba.

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Congo River River in central Africa

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Boyoma Falls series of cataracts on the Lualaba River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Boyoma Falls, formerly known as Stanley Falls, is a series of seven cataracts, each no more than 5 m (16 ft) high, extending over more than 100 km (62 mi) along a curve of the Lualaba River between the river port towns of Ubundu and Kisangani in the Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The seven cataracts have a total drop of 61 m (200 ft). They form the largest waterfall by volume of annual flow rate in the world, exceeding both the Niagara Falls and the Iguazu Falls.

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The Lubudi River is a tributary of the Lualaba River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Lubudi rises near the Zambian border southwest of Kolwezi. It flows north and northeast to join the Lualaba from the left where the southern Katanga plateau drops into the Upemba Depression, near Bukama.

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Upemba National Park national park

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Wagenya African people

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Ubundu Place in Tshopo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ubundu, formerly known as Ponthierville or Ponthierstad, is a city located in the Tshopo Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is on the Lualaba River, or Upper Congo, just above the Boyoma Falls. The river is not navigable from here downstream to Kisangani, so a portage railway was built to link Ubundu to Kisangani. Upstream from Ubundu the river is navigable as far as Kasongo.

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Ankoro Place in Tanganyika, DR Congo

Ankoro is a town in Tanganyika province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It lies on the west bank of the Lualaba River opposite the point where it is joined by the Luvua River.

Lake Kisale

Lake Kisale is a lake in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in Bukama Territory, Haut-Lomami District. At about 300 square kilometres (120 sq mi) in area, it is the second largest of the lakes in the Upemba Depression, an extensive marshy area partly within the Upemba National Park.

References

  1. Day, Trevor; Garratt, Richard (2006). "Congo (Zaire) River". Lakes and rivers. Infobase Publishing. ISBN   0-8160-5328-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. 1 2 Stanley, H.M., 1899, Through the Dark Continent, London: G. Newnes, Vol. One ISBN   0486256677, Vol. Two ISBN   0486256685

Sources