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Image Caption: STS067-703D-090 Kinshasa, Zaire; Brazzaville, Congo March 1995
This near-vertical, color infrared photograph shows the Zaire River (also called the Congo River) as it travels to its mouth 230 miles (370 kilometers) to the southwest where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The capital cities of Kinshasa (Zaire) and Brazzaville (Congo) are situated on opposite banks of the Zaire River--Brazzaville with an estimated population of 825 000 on the northwest bank and Kinshasa with more than 4 million people on the southeast shore. The runway of Kinshasa/North Djili International Airport is discernible southeast of the city, the only major identifiable infrastructure for either city. The large island in the river is M'Bamou Island, Congo. Unlike many of the major rivers of the world, the Zaire is not an efficient transportation link because of many rapids and falls to negotiate between Kinshasa and the port city of Matadi. The color infrared film shows that little economic development has occurred on either side of the Zaire River. The general landscape is characterized by dense vegetation on the hills and low mountains (deeper reds) and marshlands primarily east of the urban areas (blues and reds). No bridge appears to connect these two large urban areas.