Niger River Facts

Niger River Facts
The Niger River is Western Africa's major river flowing 2,600 miles from south-eastern Guinea to Nigeria and into the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of New Guinea. The Niger River's source is the Guinea Highlands, which is the starting point of the river's unusual route. Although its beginning point is only 150 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, it takes the long route heading away from the ocean into the Sahara Desert before turning and heading towards the Gulf of Guinea through several countries. The Niger River was mapped as far back as the 1500s but it wasn't until the 1700s that the river's correct course was identified by Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer.
Interesting Niger River Facts:
Although the exact origin of the name Niger is not known, the word was also used to name two countries in Africa: Nigeria and Nigeria.
The Niger River is the world's 11th longest river and it is Africa's 3rd longest river, after the Nile River and the Congo River.
The Niger River's watershed (area of land drained by the river) is 817,600 square miles.
The Niger River flows through several countries including Guinea, Mali, Niger, Benin, and finally Nigeria before reaching the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
The main tributaries of the Niger River include Sokoto River, Kaduna River, Benue River, and Bani River.
The Niger River flows through several cities including Tembakounda, Bamako, Timbuktu, Niamey, Lokoja, and Onitsha.
The Niger River has different names by those living in its region. In Manding it is called 'Jeliba' or 'Joliba' which means 'great river'. In Igbo it is called 'Orimiri' or 'Orimili' which means 'great water'. In Tuareg it is called 'Egerew n-Igerewen' which means river of rivers'. In Songhay it is called 'Isa Ber' which means 'big river'. In Hausa it is called Kwara, In Yoruba it is called Oya.
The first person believed to have used the word 'Niger' in reference to the Niger River was Leo Africanus, an Italian who used the name in his geographical book of Africa titled Della descrittione dell'Africa et delle cose notabili che iui sono (Description of Africa), published in 1550.
Mungo Park, the Scottish explorer who was the first known European to travel the central section of the Niger River (in 1796), died in 1806 when his party was attacked by natives and he drowned.
The Niger River floods each year from September to May.
The Niger River delta is home to the African Lion. The West African manatee, a creature near extinction lives in the Niger River.
The Niger River has been an important source of water to those in its region since the first inhabitants settled there. There are still approximately 20 native tribes that continue to collect their water from the Niger River, some even utilizing primitive vessels such as animal skin bowls to carry the water.
One of the Niger River's largest dams is the Kainji Dam which provides electricity and helps to control flooding.
Due to modern man and the oil industry the Niger River grows more polluted as it flows along its route to the Atlantic Ocean.


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