We have already seen ten of the worlds most powerful and fastest flowing waterfalls, but now it is time for the worlds greatest rivers to step up to the mark. These ten river flow through so much water that combined they are bigger than some seas! So let’s hop onto a raft and get some flow measurements…
The Top 10 Fastest Flowing Rivers in the World and Where to Find Them
10 – Yenisei River, Eurasia – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 19,600
Its name translated means “Great River” and in terms of flow it really is one of the worlds greatest. While it might look like a semi-tropical river almost half of its water comes from snow!
9 – Brahmaputra River, Eurasia – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 19,800
This is a river that gives life and often takes it away as well. Sure, it brings waters to many areas that wouldn’t otherwise have it, but it is also prone to devastating flooding because of the many flat planes it travels through.
8 – Río de la Plata River, South America – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 22,000
Río de la Plata means “River of Silver” in Spanish. It gets that name from the fish it brings wish is Pacu, a large river fish with a flat silver shimmering body. In large schools it really does look like the river is made of silver.
7 – Negro River, South America – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 28,400
It is the decomposition of organic matter in its slow-moving swamps that give this river its name thanks to its jet-black water colour that is a lot cleaner than it looks.
6 – Yangtze River, Eurasia – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 30,166
Not only is this the longest river in Asia, it is also deemed as the most important thanks to its flow that helps keep nearly one-third of the national population in clean water.
5 – Madeira River, South America – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 31,200
This major waterway is also one of the biggest tributaries of the Amazon, accounting for about 15% of the water in the basin. It’s so remote that it wasn’t fully mapped until the 1970’s when it was done via satellite.
4 – Orinoco River, South America – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 37,000
Its name translated in Spanish means “a place to paddle” but that doesn’t mean you should go for a swim in it because its flow is so fast you could be miles away from your starting point in just moments. But the good news is its one of the easiest rivers in the world to navigate meaning it will be easy to get back upstream once you have a boat.
3 – Ganges River, Eurasia – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 38,129
The Ganges river basin has the highest population of any river basin in the world with just over 400 million people relying on it for water and for drainage. Sadly this also means it is heavily polluted with human and industrial waste making it one of the most endangered rivers in the world in terms of future use.
2 – Congo River, Africa – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 41,200
It was once called the ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad and one section of it is also called ‘The Gates of Hell’ which is a 75 mile long stretch of rapids that no-one has managed to successfully traverse, so far anyway.
1 – Amazon River, South America – Mean annual discharge rate (m³/s): 209,000
This rivers flow in the wet season can be almost twice its annual average and during this time it also expands in width to over 120 miles (190 kilometres). As another weird fact, this is the longest river in the world that doesn’t have ANY bridges crossing it! This is mostly because of its flow in the jungle, but it’s still a pretty great fact.