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Friday, 6 July 2018

Niger River: Everything You Need to Know about West Africa’s Longest River

Almost every one of us has heard about the River Niger because of its popularity. It is the principal and longest River in West Africa, and the third longest in the whole of Africa, extending about 4,180 km (approximately 2,600 mi). Knowledge of the possible existence of the river Niger  first came in the 18 century, though with unfounded and unconfirmed information. Many European expeditions to plot the river were unsuccessful. In 1788 the African Association was formed in England to promote the exploration of Africa in the hopes of locating the Niger, and in June 1796 the Scottish explorer Mungo Park was the first European to lay eyes on the middle portion of the river since antiquity (and perhaps ever). The true course was established in his book Travels in the Interior of Africa, which appeared in 179.

Here are very Interesting Facts You Must Know About The Niger River:

Location on the Map, Source and Length
Niger River runs in a crescent through Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, discharging through a massive delta, known as the Niger Delta or the Oil Rivers, into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.

The river flows from the Guinea Highlands located in southeastern Guinea. Its major tributary is the Benue River which is itself 1400 km long. The Niger discharges into the Atlantic Ocean at an area known as the Gulf of Guinea. Other ones include the Sirba river, Tinkisso River, Milo River, Niandan River, Sankarani River, Bani River, Mekrou River, Sokoto River, Kaduna River, Benue River, Forcados River, and the Nun River.

The Niger River is 2597 miles long. Making it the longest in West Africa, third longest in Africa (with only the Nile and Congo Rivers longer), and fourteenth longest in the world.

Quick Facts About The Niger River
Unique Characteristics: The Niger has one of the most unusual routes of any of the major rivers in the world. It is said to be unusual because the river rises not far from the Atlantic Ocean, about 240 km, and instead of flowing to the nearby Atlantic Ocean, it takes a northeasterly course toward the Sahara  Desert, before turning southeast to eventually discharge to the Atlantic in Nigeria. This strange geography apparently came about because the Niger River is two ancient rivers joined together. The upper Niger, from the source west of Timbuktu to the bend in the current river near Timbuktu, once emptied into a now dry lake to the northeast of Timbuktu, while the lower Niger started to the south of Timbuktu and flowed south into the Gulf of Guinea. Over time upstream erosion by the lower Niger resulted in stream capture of the upper Niger by the lower Niger.

Aquatics: The river has thirty six families of freshwater fish and nearly 250 species, 20 of which are found nowhere else on Earth but the Niger. The chief food species are catfish, carp, and Nile perch. Other Niger fauna include hippopotamuses, at least three different types of crocodiles (including the much-feared Nile crocodile), and a variety of lizards. The West African manatee, which faces extinction, lives in the river. These mammals can grow up to fifteen feet long and can weigh nearly eight hundred pounds. The most dreaded African Lion is also found here.


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