Africa’s Notable Confluence Zones

Deborah Dzifa Makafui September 22, 2022
Photo Credit: cardamom

When two or more rivers come together to form a single waterway, they produce a confluence, which is a river. Two minor rivers may merge to form one channel at a confluence, or two rivers may be split upstream by a strip of land then reunite downstream.

A confluence river has six different hydrodynamic zones. These characteristics include the shear layers zone, the maximum velocity zone, the flow separation zone, and the stagnation zone. These areas, which are also known as confluence flow zones, are significantly different from one another.

There are distinct confluences all over the world, and there are others that are not, but they are all still significant. Confluences can be found in the states of West, Southern, and North Africa in Africa. For instance, in West Africa, the Benue River confluences with the Niger River in the Lokoja region. The renowned Zambezi River in Zambia receives water from the Chobe River in Southern Africa. The confluence of the White and Blue Niles is located in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

Africa's Notable Confluence Zones
Niger River — Photo Credit: NigerTZai

The Niger River

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Niger River has a length of around 4,100 kilometers, making it Africa’s third-largest river after the Congo and the Nile. Due to its serpentine design, it is known as the “Boomerang River” and is the longest and greatest river in West Africa. The ten African nations that the river passes through are Nigeria, Niger, Guinea, Côte Ivoire, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso.

The Benue River is the Niger River Basin’s principal tributary, and it drains 7.5% of all of Africa. The Niger River originates 150 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. From there, it diverts into the Sahara desert before making a dramatic right turn and running southeast close to Timbuktu, Mali, and eventually flowing into the Gulf of Guinea in the southeast.

Africa's Notable Confluence Zones
Zambezi River — Photo Credit: cardamom

Zambezi River

The source of the Zambezi, the fourth-longest river system in Africa, is located next to a marshy bog on Zambia’s Central African Plateau, 4,800 feet above sea level. From there, it travels 3,540 kilometers to Mozambique in the east before emptying into the Indian Ocean. Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe are all African nations that the river passes through or borders. One of the most remarkable aspects of this river is the Victoria Falls, a well-known and magnificent cascade on the Zambezi River at the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. In total, the river and its tributaries drain around 1,390,000 square kilometers of land. The Chobe River empties into the Zambezi River in Kazungula in Zambia.

Zambia (north of the rivers), Botswana (south of the rivers), and Namibia are all triangulated by the confluence (west of the rivers). There is a second tripoint (Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe) barely 150 meters downstream from the first due to the fact that the land boundary between Botswana and Zimbabwe in the east also touches the Zambezi. For an image, see Kazungula and Quadripoint as well as the gallery below.

Africa's Notable Confluence Zones
Photo Credit: Christopher Michel

Khartoum River

The beginning of the Nile, where the White and Blue Niles meet, is where Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, is situated.

The Blue Nile and the White Nile, however, arrive in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, as equals in size and equivalents in the name. At their confluence, they both change their names to become the Nile, or, in Arabic, bahr al-nil, the Nile Sea, for the subsequent 3,000 kilometers to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the longest river in the world, however, it only conveys a minuscule portion of the water that the Amazon, Congo, or Niger rivers transport. Its two principal tributaries, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, converge in Khartoum, Sudan, a city of about 2 million people that depends on the Nile for irrigation due to its lack of rainfall. The banks of the river are lined with well-watered crops, and the outskirts of the city are covered in swaths of agricultural (including center-pivot irrigated fields).

Such rivers still serve as holy sanctuaries where people can take ceremonial baths and make offerings at the nearby temples, playing a vital role in society now as they did in the past. Such rivers serve as political borders between states, cities, and provinces.

Last Edited by:Sedem Ofori Updated: September 22, 2022


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