The Republic of the Congo
is one of the countries in the world you are probably least likely to visit,
so images of the country are mostly gleaned from film and television
impressions. With a coastline of some one
hundred miles (left), the Republic of Congo is neighbours to Gabon, Cameroon, the
Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.
The coastal region of the
Republic of the Congo is essentially
plains that rise up as you move inland towards the Crystal Mountains which reach
heights of between 1000 - 2000 feet and are covered in forest ridges. This area
is also home to the Niari River Valley, with its fertile soil making it
the country's main agricultural resource. To the south of the country are
uplands featuring the Kouilou River system whilst savannah covered plateaus make
up most of central Congo.
obvious reasons, the Congo River (below) is one of the country's most famous features
and occupies more than one third of the country with its basin consisting of
swamps and tropical rain forests.
The basin also features the Ubangi, Sangha, Likouala, and Alima rivers, all
The river itself is 2920 miles long,
between 0.5 and ten miles wide and is home to thousands of islands, some many
miles in length. Its
source can be found just south of Lake Tanganyika in the rift valley of east
Africa. The Congo is the world's ninth longest river and
it takes a full six months from the water at its source to reach its outlet as
it flows into the Atlantic
The river is not only a major transport hub in the region but also a source of
hydroelectric power with forty such power plants along the river, the most
famous of which is at the Inga Falls.
Along the river people engage in growing
sugar cane, peanuts and cotton as well as tobacco. Obviously the river supports
a fishing industry however recent population growth has led to a depletion of
fish stocks with local communities now turning to farming the river for meat
from its variety of wildlife ranging from hippos to crocodiles and tortoises.