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.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Country in Central Africa

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, also known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or simply the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997. It is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated officially Francophone country, the fourth-most-populated country in Africa, and the 16th-most-populated country in the world. Currently, eastern DR Congo is the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015.

River source The starting point of a river

The source or headwaters of a river or stream is the furthest place in that river or stream from its estuary or confluence with another river, as measured along the course of the river.

Congo River river in central Africa

The great Congo River, formerly known as the Zaire River under the Mobutu regime, is the second longest river in Africa, shorter only than the Nile, as well as the second largest river in the world by discharge volume, following only the Amazon. It is also the world's deepest recorded river, with measured depths in excess of 220 m (720 ft). The Congo-Lualaba-Chambeshi River system has an overall length of 4,700 km (2,920 mi), which makes it the world's ninth-longest river. The Chambeshi is a tributary of the Lualaba River, and Lualaba is the name of the Congo River upstream of Boyoma Falls, extending for 1,800 km (1,120 mi).

Contents

Geography

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

The Katanga, or Shaba, Plateau is a farming and ranching region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Located in the southeastern Katanga Province, it is 1220 m above sea level and is rich in copper and uranium deposits. The altitude makes it cooler than the surrounding area, with a mean annual temperature of 19-20° C

Kisangani Place in Tshopo Province, DR Congo

Kisangani is the capital of Tshopo province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the third largest urbanized city in the country and the largest of the cities that lie in the tropical woodlands of the Congo.

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

Upemba Depression lake

The Upemba Depression is a large marshy bowl area (depression) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo comprising some fifty lakes, including 22 of relatively large size including Lake Upemba (530 km²) and Lake Kisale (300 km²). In an earlier era, the area was probably occupied by one large lake.

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.

Bukama Place in Haut-Lomami, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bukama is a town in Haut-Lomami Province of south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. As of 2009 it had an estimated population of 42,718.

Lake Upemba lake

Lake Upemba is a lake in Bukama, Haut-Lomami District, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It, and nearby Lake Kisale, is surrounded by the Upemba Depression in Upemba National Park. The nearest town is Nyonga, and the nearest hospital is located four hours away in Kikondja.

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.

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]

Ankoro in Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ankoro is a town in Haut-Katanga District, 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.

Confluence Meeting of two or more bodies of flowing water

In geography, a confluence occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join together to form a single channel. A confluence can occur in several configurations: at the point where a tributary joins a larger river ; or where two streams meet to become the source of a river of a new name ; or where two separated channels of a river rejoin at the downstream end.

Luvua River river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Luvua River is a river in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It flows from the northern end of Lake Mweru on the Zambia-Congo border in a northwesterly direction for 350 kilometres (220 mi) to its confluence with the Lualaba River opposite the town of Ankoro. The Lualaba becomes the Congo River below the Boyoma Falls.

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 kilometers. 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.

Kasongo Territory in Maniema, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kasongo, also known as Piani Kasongo, is a town and Territory, located in Maniema Province of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Boyoma Falls waterfall

Boyoma Falls, formerly known as Stanley Falls, consists 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/Boyoma in the Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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.

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 (hence the Congo River), are the:

Towns

Towns along and near the Lualaba River include:

History

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

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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Lubudi River (Lualaba tributary) river in Democratic Republic of the Congo

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.

Lukuga River tributary of the Lualaba River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Lukuga River is a tributary of the Lualaba River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that drains Lake Tanganyika. It is unusual in that its flow varies not just seasonally but also due to longer term climate fluctuations.

Upemba National Park national park

Upemba National Park is a large national park in Katanga Province of the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.

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References

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

Sources