Top 7 Longest Rivers in the World

by Jules on August 31, 2013

Whether you choose to swim, fish or kayak, these rivers are the longest in the world and provide unlimited adventures.

Nile River

The mighty Nile River is the longest river in the world at 4,132 miles (6,650 km). Meandering through ten countries, the Nile starts in two sources: the White Nile in Central Africa in either Rwanda or Burundi (it’s still unclear) and the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. The Nile also flows through Sudan, Egypt, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and South Sudan. The Nile River was of great importance during the ancient Egypt period and it’s no coincidence that all of Egypt’s key historical sites as well as the cities of Cairo and Luxor are along the banks of the Nile.

Amazon River

The mighty Amazon winds its way through Brazil, Colombia and Peru in South Americas. Stretching for 3,977 miles (6,400 km), the Amazon is the second longest river in the world. The source is high up in the Andes Mountains at Lago Villafro in Peru. In total there are over 1,100 tributaries from the Amazon, which is also home to Anaconda snakes and the deadly piranha, amongst many others. The mouth is at the Atlantic Ocean and the first bridge over the Amazon River system opened in 2010 near to Manaus in Brazil.

Chang Jiang River, aka Yangtze River

The Yangtze River’s source lies at the Glacier of Jianggendiru in Qinghai province in northwest China and flows across the country to the mouth with the South China Sea at Shanghai. Meandering for a total of 6,300 km (3,915 mi), this is the longest river that lies solely within one country. The river system supports several important species including the Chinese alligator, Chinese Paddlefish, Finless Porpoise and the Yangtze sturgeon. And the largest hydro-electric power station on earth is on the Yangtze at the Three Gorges Dam. The Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan section of the Yangtze is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Chang Jiang River network is so great that it accounts for some 18% of the total land area. The river has supported traditional life along its banks for millennia and the first bridges were only built in 1955 and today there are more than 50 traversing the great waterway.

Mississippi River

Located in the US and flowing through ten states in total I the Mississippi River which stretches for 2,320 miles (3,734 km). The source of the mighty Mississippi is at the glacial Lake Itasca in Minnesota. The river snakes south and has its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. Great cities such as Minneapolis, St Louis and New Orleans were forged around the Mississippi. The first bridge was constructed in 1855 and despite its length, there are no tunnels running underneath the river. The Mississippi is probably most well-known for the steamboat era where these distinctive crafts plied their trade from 1830 to 1870. Most famously this era is covered in the book of author Mark Twain, ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’. And the record for swimming the entire length of the Mississippi goes to Slovenian Martin Strel who completed the feat in 68 days in 2002.

Yenisei River

The fifth longest river in the world is the Yenisei-Angara-Selenga at 5,539 km (3,445 miles) which primarily flows through Russia. With a maximum depth of 80 feet (24 meters), the Yenisei River supports rare birdlife such as the hooded crow and prehistoric pine trees line the banks. Te course of the Yenisei lies in Mongolia and the mouth is at the Kara Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Yellow River aka Huang He

The Yellow River is the second longest river in China at 5,464km (3,395 meters). Its origins lies in west China Qinghai province and it flows through nine provinces in total. The Yellow River has produced many devastating floods over the years which has earnt it the unenviable nickname “China’s Sorrow”.  In fact the great flood of 1931 claimed up to 4 million lives during the worst natural sister ever recorded. There are 14 hydro-electric dams over the Huang He which is home to the Yellow River Turtle.

Ob-Irtysh River

The little heard of Ob–Irtysh River is one for the pub quiz! Running through the four Asian countries of Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia, the Ob-Irtysh runs for 5,410 km (3,364 miles). The Irtysh River is also mentioned in the ‘Crime and Punishment’ novel from Dostoyevsky in 1866.

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