Whilst sailing on one of the many river cruises that Fred.\ can offer, you may find yourself contemplating all sorts concerning the waterways on which you are travelling. What’s the largest river in the world? Where else in the universe have rivers been found? How much of the world’s water is held in our rivers? All of these questions and more will be answered as we reveal some irresistible water facts.
We hope these will provide a great source of information and all the facts you see here are straight from the horse’s mouth. In order to make them more stream-lined we have numbered them clearly and, who knows, they may even put some common myths to bed.
1. Whilst the Nile is the longest river in the world, the Amazon is by far the largest (209,000 m3/s). So much so that it contains more water than the next five rivers put together. That’s more water than is held in the Ganges, Congo, Orinoco, Yangtze and Madeira rivers combined.
2. Indonesia’s Citarum River, China’s Yellow River and the Ganges in India are, sadly, among the world’s most polluted waterways. A chemical disaster in Basel also poured pollutants into the Rhine in 1986, causing the destruction of many ecosystems. However, this sparked the introduction of the Rhine Action Programme which was signed by all the countries through which the river travels and has helped this beautiful part of the world to flourish once again. You can see its beauty for yourself on one of our Rhine river cruises.
3. Whilst over 96% of the world’s water is held in our oceans, only 0.00015% is found in the rivers. When just freshwater is considered this figure rises to around 0.0061% but pales into insignificance when you consider that nearly 70% of Earth’s freshwater is held in its glaciers, ice sheets and permafrost.
4. Earth’s rivers contain thousands of different species of wildlife. These can range from fish to mammals and include exotic animals such as caimans, piranha’s, snakes and five known living species of dolphin. There have even been bull sharks spotted as far down the Amazon River as northern Peru.
5. The Danube River touches or passes through more countries that any other waterway in the world. This elegant river ventures into Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine on a journey lasting for 1,777 miles.
6. The Mekong River is known by many different names depending on which country you are in. The Chinese refer to it as Lancang Jiang (meaning the Turbulent River), whilst the Thai people and those from Laos call it Mother Water or Mae Nam Kong. Interestingly, the Vietnamese know it as the river of Nine Dragons due to the thought that it splits into nine estuaries before emptying into the sea. It was later realised that there are only actually 8 routes into the ocean, but the number nine is a lucky number in this part of the world and so it has stuck.
7. 60 million people live in the Mekong River Delta and rely on the food and irrigation that it offers. Whilst 50% of the water Vietnam uses to treat its crops comes from the river, it also provides a massive 80% of Cambodia’s protein in the form of fish.
8. Tracing one drop of water from its source to its mouth, it would take around three months for it to travel the length of the Mississippi. The basin of this famous river is also where an amazing 92% of America’s agricultural exports come from.
9. Every year, during the dry season, hundreds of elephants line the banks of the Chobe River. They can be seen bathing and playing on our Africa river cruises which will take you right through the heart of this glorious national park.
10. Evidence of rivers has been spotted elsewhere in our solar system. Whilst it is still inconclusive as to whether ‘finger-like’ markings seen on mars are indeed running rivers, a detailed river system has been discovered on one of Saturn’s moons. Images of Titan taken during the Cassini mission in 2012 appear to show a system that has been likened to the Nile and which scientists believe may be filled with liquid methane and ethane.
You are sure to learn much more about the waterways of the world during any of our river cruises. If you want to explore many of the rivers mentioned above, please call us today or submit an online enquiry.