Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

1. Kern River California’s lethal

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

Kern River might look beautiful, but it’s claimed 271 souls since 1968, and it shows no sign of stopping. This picturesque river high in the Sierra Nevada mountains regularly attracts backpackers, outdoor enthusiasts and rock climbers to her shores, but watch where you swim.

During the rainy season, the Kern River swells and speeds up, with currents and whirlpools that can catch any innocent bather in their snares.

Although people can, and do, take a dip in the Kern River, you should only hop in if you’re a strong swimmer and part of a group. Don’t try to tackle this natural trickster alone.

2. River Wharfe Yorkshire’s idyllic

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

River Wharfe is a deep, rocky trap for anyone who fancies themselves a swim in this innocent-looking waterway.

Its looks are deceiving; the River Wharfe looks much smaller than it actually is. In reality, the river is unpredictable, and the depth can vary between 30 and 300 feet depending on where you find yourself in her waters.

Throw some mighty currents in, plus sharp rocks, and you have a true recipe for disaster. Since the River Wharfe is so pretty, it’s a popular spot for honeymooners who unfortunately get sucked into her trap and smashed to pieces on the rocks.

If you ever find yourself in Yorkshire and you want to marvel at the River Wharfe, remember the one rule that could save your life; look but don’t touch.

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3. Mississippi River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

Challenge the mighty Mississippi River’s currents, and you’re almost sure to come out on the losing end. This 2,300 mile long river is prominently featured in Americana and folklore, but the reality is a whole lot less wholesome. For one thing, the Mississippi is full of unpredictable rapids and undertows, capable of taking down even the most skilled swimmers.

Not to even mention the Mississippi River’s toxicity levels. This winding river is flanked on either side by factory farms and industrial companies, and all of that nasty runoff goes one place, right into the water.

 While the Mississippi is even worse after a heavy rainfall, there’s never a good time to take a cool swim in this river unless you want to have a tetanus booster or risk drowning

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4. The Yangtze River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

The Yangtze River stretches a full 4,000 miles through Asia, making it longer than the distance between Moscow and Beijing. This massively long waterway is a huge source of income for the people who live in the region as well as one of the most dangerous rivers in the world.

This river is simply bursting with all sorts of freshwater nasties, like alligators, but it’s got some human-made threats as well.

As industrialization has ramped up in China, so has pollution, and the deadly combination of agricultural runoff and flooding make the Yangtze River hazardous to riverbed populations.

In 1954, the Yangtze rose and killed 30,000 people. Between climate change and China’s swelling population, you can expect more disastrous floods in the future.

5. Niger River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

In 2010, 5,000 people and 30,000 animals were killed by the Niger River, proving that it’s more dangerous than ever to live on the banks of this watery beast. Stretching from Niger to Burkina Faso, the river itself is already mucked up with tons of pollutants, and when the water level rises, things just get even trickier.

The filthy water can decimate crops, spread disease, and sweep away whole families in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, you don’t need to fancy a dip in the Niger River. It will undoubtedly come to you, especially during the rainy season.

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6. Mekong River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

The Mekong River snakes through China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Burma, and Thailand and is known for its unpredictable currents and rampant floods. In 2000, 90 people were swept away when an enormous flood destroyed part of the riverbank.

That’s just one example of a time when locals felt the true wrath of the Mekong River. The animal life in the Mekong River isn’t something to take lightly either. The waterway is home to plenty of Siamese and saltwater crocs, who are just as deadly on land as they are in the water.

Although many people make their way down the Mekong River every year, it’s not advisable to try your mettle with the Mekong river unless you have strong wilderness survival skills and a trusted guide, as well as the strength to fight off all of those crocs that just might be lying in wait.

7. Nile River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

The 4,258 mile long Nile River is among the most famous bodies of water in the world. If the Nile conjures up images of ancient Egypt, pyramids, and gold-decked pharaohs, you’re not alone. Just don’t leave out the rest of the story.

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The mighty Nile is home to some of the fiercest predators on the planet, including snakes, spiders, and the infamous Nile crocodile. Think you can outswim a croc? Even if you manage to outwit this 1,650-pound beast, you still haven’t bested the Nile’s most vicious killer; the humble mosquito.

Nile mosquitos can carry all sorts of awful tropical diseases. Sneaky Schistosomiasis can also get you, and all you have to do is dunk your toe in the infected water.

If you catch something, be prepared for at least a few days of bone-breaking fever and the worst rash that you’ve ever had.

8. Yellow River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

China’s Yellow River is the sixth-longest river in the world, fueled by runoff from the Bayan Har Mountains. Know locally as Huang He, the Yellow River earned its nickname as the “River of Sorrow” for all of the missing wretches who disappeared after coming into contact with her waters.

We can trace over 1500 known floods to the river, thanks to the 1.6 billion tons of soil that sift into her waters every single year. This mucky buildup causes massive blockages and is responsible for untold numbers of deaths.

The Yellow River’s floods are so epically devastating that explosives are actually dropped into the river to try to break up ice and sludge before it can cause a major catastrophe.

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9. Congo River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

The 3,000 mile long Congo River is the deepest river in the world. Its gargantuan length is more than twice the length between London and Iceland. The Congo River is as mighty as it is enormous, inspiring local folklore and horror stories for centuries.

Joseph Conrad called it the “Heart of Darkness,” and only the bravest souls dare to traverse its waters. Why? Tales of terror range from the mundane to the fantastical, with some people reporting cannibals lurking near the Congo River.

Giant carnivorous tigerfish call the river home, as do crocodiles and plenty of other watery wraiths. The river itself is no joke either, dropping into a 75-mile-long abyss at one point, known by locals as “The Gates of Hell.”

If you survive the rapids, dizzying depths, terrifying river life, and cannibals, you’ve genuinely earned some bragging rights.

10. Brisbane River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

Queensland, Australia’s Brisbane River might be beautiful to look at, but it’s full of oceanic predators that you never want to come nose to nose with- bull sharks. Bull sharks can live in both fresh and saltwater, making them one of the deadliest animals known to man, and the Brisbane River is full of them.

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Conservative estimates speculate that there are at least 1,000 bull sharks in the Brisbane River at any time, but actual numbers could be three times higher. Since these predators are not afraid of sparring with any human, if you want to keep your legs, you should keep your feet on solid ground.

11. Parana River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

The Parana River is 3,030 miles long, longer than the distance from North Dakota to Alaska, and it’s a rough ride from end to end. It runs through Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, and it’s only second to the Amazon in scope and ferocity.

For starters, the southern part of the river has tons of currents, flooding, and whirlpools, making it exceptionally dangerous both for swimmers and those who live on the riverbanks. The Parana River can swallow up structures and displace massive populations of people.

Flooding is only one problem with the Parana River. Piranhas love this waterway and generally use it for their mating and breeding grounds. Get too close to the territorial piranhas, and you can expect to be swimming away with one or more battle scars if you swim away at all!

12. Amazon River

Top 12 Deadliest Rivers in the World

The Amazon River is the longest river on the planet in terms of water volume. People flock to the Amazon to get a glimpse of the lush jungle and spot some amazing animal life, but they might be getting a bit more than they bargained for.

The Amazon River is home to some bone-chilling creatures that will not hesitate to harm. Anacondas, caiman, piranhas, and even bull sharks regularly swim in this great river.

Smaller parasitic animals, like candiru, can inflict pain beyond your wildest imagination, especially if they decide to swim up your nether regions! If you can escape the animals, there’s always the insects.

Giant poisonous centipedes, spiders, and disease-bearing mosquitos are common in the Amazon River. Should you wish to take in the splendor of the Amazon for yourself, make sure that you have all of your proper vaccinations and go with a guide.

Thanks for reading! Would you rather make your way down the mighty Mekong River without a guide or take a ten-minute swim in the bull shark-infested Brisbane River? Let us know in the comments section below.

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