Rivers are the greatest contributors to life forms right from the existence of living beings on earth, but some rivers are the longest, deepest, and most deadly in the world. They contain numerous threats from animal life, rapids, swift, unpredictable currents, and waterfalls. Let’s look at the most dangerous rivers in the world, that are to be explored with enough precautions.

1. River Wharfe

  • Length: 105 km
  • Country: United Kingdom

River Wharfe, a river in the historic county of Yorkshire in north-central England. It originates in the Pennines in the administrative county of North Yorkshire, then flows 60 miles (97 km) south-east to become a major tributary of the River Ouse a few miles south of York. Parts of the river form the border between West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. Its upper reaches in the Pennines are in a steep, hollow-shaped valley known as the Wharfedale. The name of Wharfedale’s river comes from the Saxon ‘guerf’ meaning ‘swift’. It could even be named after the Old English word ‘weorf’; or Old Norse ‘hverfr’meaning ‘winding river’. In many places it runs lazy and deep, the perfect spot for eager fishermen hunting the elusive brown trout. Fishing rights are carefully guarded so ask at one of our National Park Centres for more information if you fancy trying your hand. The water is also extremely cold, and its temperature rarely rises any higher during summer than it does in the winter. Many of those who get into difficulty while swimming do so because their bodies go into shock and they cannot reach the bank. 

2. Yangtze River 

  • Length: 6,300 km
  • Country: China

The Yangtze or Yangzi is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains and flows 6,300 km in a generally easterly direction to the East China Sea.  Its basin, extending for some 2,000 miles (3,200 km) from west to east and for more than 600 miles (1,000 km) from north to south, drains an area of 698,265 square miles (1,808,500 square km). From its source on the plateau of Tibet to its mouth on the East China Sea, the river serves as the border between 10 provinces or regions. More than three-fourths of the river’s course runs through mountains. The Yangtze has eight principal tributaries. On its left bank, from source to mouth, these are the Yalung, Min and Han rivers; those on the right bank include the Wu, Yuan, Xiang, and Gan rivers. The Yangtze’s rich and complex terrains and climate have created a wide range of natural ecosystems that provide vital habitats for such charismatic species as the snow leopard, giant panda, and Yangtze finless porpoise.

3. Amazon river

  • Length: 6,992 km
  • Country: Brazil, Peru, Colombia

The Amazon River in South America is the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world, and the disputed longest river in the world. It is by far the mightiest river on Earth in terms of volume and width — reaching a span of nearly 30 miles (48 kilometers) in some parts during the rainy season. The river and its basin are home to many unique species of animals, trees and plants. The Amazon River’s 4,000-mile (6,437 km) journey begins high in the Andes. These mountains act as a wall blocking the warm, moist air moving in from the east, resulting in heavy persistent rainfall that consistently feeds the Amazon’s headwaters. The river then makes its way east through thousands of miles of rainforests and lowlands until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean on the northeastern coast of Brazil. With more than 1,100 tributaries — 17 of which are over 930 miles (1,497 km) long — the Amazon River has the largest drainage system in the world. It is estimated that approximately one-fifth of all the water that runs on the Earth’s surface is carried by the Amazon River.

4. Nile River

  • Location: Africa
  • Dangerous aspect: Contains many predators and hot spot for mosquitos with disease

The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. It flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The longest river in Africa, it has historically been considered the longest river in the world, though this has been contested by research suggesting that the Amazon River is slightly longer. he Nile has two major tributaries: the longer White Nile, considered the prime stream and headwaters; and the Blue Nile, which carries about two-thirds of the river’s water volume and most of the silt. The Nile waters flow at an average volume of 300 million cubic meters (79.2 billion gallons) per day, according to Travelling Along rivers, a Dutch bilingual travel magazine. It takes approximately three months for the waters near the town of Jinja, Uganda (the point where the Nile leaves Lake Victoria), to reach the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile River was central to the Ancient Egyptians rise to wealth and power. Since rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt, the Nile River and its yearly floodwaters offered the people a fertile oasis for rich agriculture.

5. Congo River

  • Length: 4,700 km
  • Country: Congo

The Congo River, formerly also known as the Zaire River, 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. The Congo River is a long, arcing river with a basin that spans nine countries in West-Central Africa. This extensive body of water provides food, water, medicine and transport to about 75 million people in the surrounding basin. It’s also the second-longest river in Africa, spanning a length of approximately 2,920 miles (4,700 kilometers). This long river system has a unique anatomy that divides it into three distinct regions: the upper, middle and lower Congo. The upper is made up of tributaries and rapids, the middle is mostly a steady stream, and the lower consists of gorges and falls, which can make it dangerous. After the 1,000-mile stretch of the middle Congo, the river slows to a virtual stand-still for 20 miles (32 km) — a stretch known as Malebo Pool (formerly Stanley Pool). The capital of the Republic of the Congo, Brazzaville, is on the northern river bank, while the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kinshasa, sits on the southern bank of Malebo Pool.


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