The Niger River is the principal river of western Africa, extending about 4,180 km (2,600 mi). Its drainage basin is 2,117,700 km2 (817,600 sq mi) in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in southeastern Guinea. It runs in a crescent through Mali, Niger, on the border with Benin and then through Nigeria, discharging through a massive delta, known as the Niger Delta or the Oil Rivers, into the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The Niger is the third-longest river in Africa, exceeded only by the Nile and the Congo River (also known as the Zaire River). Its main tributary is the Benue River
Facts about the Niger River
The Guinea Highlands located in southeastern Guinea is the rivers source.
The Niger has one of the most unusual routes of any of the major rivers in the world. It starts approximately 150 miles from the Atlantic Ocean (240 kilometers). Instead of flowing to the nearby Atlantic Ocean it instead heads inland, away from the sea into the Sahara Desert. It turns sharply near the city of Timbuktu and heads to the Gulf of Guinea.
Like the Nile River, the largest river in Africa, the Niger floods annually. The flooding begins in September and ends by May.
Unlike the Nile, the Niger is very clear. This is because its source contains very little silt.
The countries of Niger and Nigeria get their names from the river.