Rivers run. There is a sense of romance that floats by us as we stand at their shore. They are a moving mystery making us wonder what lies beyond the next bend or further downstream. The bigger the river, the more draw it has on us. River cruises are becoming more and more popular to the traveling public and are operators rushing to service those desires.
Following is a list and short description of the longest river on each continent. So whether you will be sailing, kayaking, fishing, or just dipping your toes in one of these massive rivers, you will now know a little bit more about them.
Nile River (Africa) – 6,825 km (4,238 miles). There is some controversy but most now agree that the Nile is the lengthiest waterway in the world. This ancient waterway goes back to the Pharaohs of Egypt. Its source starts in Burundi, where it flows northeast to the Mediterranean Sea. Along its travels it passes through Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda as well as Burundi and Egypt.
Amazon River (South America) – 6,437 km (4,000 miles). Although no longer believed to be the longest, this waterway remains the wildest. Bordered by thick rainforests on each shoreline much of the Amazon remains remote and unspoiled. Teaming with piranhas and fresh water dolphins it is home to more fish species that any other river in existence. With its source high in the Andes Mountains, the river runs east towards the Atlantic Ocean. Even though it traverses only through Peru, Columbia and Brazil it is the single most dominating geographica area on the continent of South America.
Yangtze River (Asia) – 6,380 km (3,964 miles). Unlike other waterways, the Yangtze is contained entirely within China. Many tours now operate on the river and will guide you through any one of the eleven provinces it passes among. As China becomes more industrialized the Yangtze has become more and more important to its economical and power resources.
Mississippi River (North America) – 3,612 km (2,230 miles). Our own river has a storied past. From riverboat gamblers, to the fictitious characters of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer the “Mighty Mississip” has enough folklore to overflow its banks. Starting in Northern Minnesota, it flows south ending its journey in the Gulf of Mexico. Ten different states line its shores, and all claim stake in its history and beauty. It is fed along the way with the Missouri, Ohio and Arkansas Rivers.
Volga River (Europe) – 3,530 km (2,193 miles). Often referred to as the Mother Volga, the longest river in Europe begins and ends in Russia. It flows from Moscow to the Caspian Sea and passes by over 40% if the country’s population that make their home near the waterway.
Murray River (Australia) – 2,508 km (1,476 miles). Bubbling out of the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, the Murry picks up steam and volume as it meanders its way to its mouth at the Southern Ocean. Along the way you will pass through parts of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. Paddle boats are as prevalent today as they were a century ago and have become one of the favorite ways for tourists to enjoy the river.
Onyx River (Antarctica) – 40 km (25 miles). By far the smallest of the seven rivers, this waterway is often referred to as a melt water stream. Only 25 miles in distance and unlike its six brethren the Onyx ends in a lake. In fact it flows westward away from the ocean. To date there is little more than a small research station manning its shores.