When we think of the word ‘river’, we tend to imagine long, twisting waterways that flow through mountains and valleys before reaching the ocean or a lake. The Nile River in Africa, for instance, fascinates all of us as it is about 6,853 kilometers (4,258 miles) long and is indeed a captivating beauty. The Amazon, the Yangtze, and the Mississippi are some of the other longest rivers of the world which are known as much for their massive lengths as for their sheer magnificence.
However, not all rivers are large. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, a river is “any natural stream of water that flows in a channel with defined banks”. There are many rivers, however, that are also multi-channeled, or ephemeral in flow. In fact, several rivers in the world are so short you could easily walk their entire length within minutes.
So if they are so short, why are they called rivers and not lakes or creeks? This is because rivers have steady flowing water which they get from upland sources and end in seas, lakes, or wetlands. Here, we look at some of the shortest rivers in the world that might be small in size but are definitely beautiful.
1. Tamborasi River, Indonesia
Regarded as the shortest river of the world at present, the Tamborasi River in Southwest Sulawesi, Indonesia, is merely 20 meters (65 feet) long and only 15 meters (49 feet) wide. The short river rises from a fountain located in a rocky hill, flows into the Flores Sea in Bone Bay, and empties into the Gulf of Boni. This delightful tourist attraction is surrounded by turquoise greenery, rocky banks, and white sand of the Tamborasi beach at its mouth. People often throng here in the summers to cool down and have a nice, quiet time in its unsullied waters.
The Tamborasi River is located about 85 km (53 miles) from the city of Kolaka and gets the waters of several streams from the mountainous Sulawesi province.
2. Reprua River, Georgia
A beautiful water body set on the outskirts of Gagra district, in Abkhazia, Georgia, the Reprua River is only 27 m (88.5 ft) long. It originates in the springs in Krubera Cave which is the second-deepest cave in the world and flows back in the Black Sea, in the southwestern outskirts of Gagra. The water here is said to be very cold but pristine.
Another fascinating fact about this river is that it is one the deepest in the world with a depth of more than 2300 m (7545 ft) and has a terrific water flow rate.
3.Ombla River, Croatia
The Ombla River in Dubrovnik, Croatia, is approximately 30 meters (98 feet) long and empties into the Rijeka Dubrovačka embayment of the Adriatic Sea. It is the largest known karst spring (or karstic spring) in Croatia and is nourished by a huge cave at the foot of a 400-meter (1312 ft) massif. This may be a tiny body of water but it contains all the elements of a true river. It has a huge drainage basin that covers a massive area of 600 square kilometers (230 square miles), and up to 900 square kilometers (350 square miles) between the Adriatic Sea coast in the region of Dubrovnik and Popovo Polje.
Ombla is an important river as more than 50,000 people who live in the region depend on it for various needs. The short river also supplies drinking water to the residents of Dubrovnik nearby.
4. Roe River, United States
Located near Great Falls, Montana, the river Roe is about 61 meters (201 feet) long and flows continuously from its headwaters in Giant Springs to the mouth at the Missouri River. It has earned the label of being the shortest river in North America. In fact, the Roe River was actually awarded the Guinness World Record for being the shortest river in the world in 1987. This was before the rest of the short rivers on the list above were discovered.
A sign on the banks of the river states that it was given the name “Roe” (meaning fish eggs) because of its closeness to the State Fish Hatchery. This is a beautiful river and is considered one of the most alluring places to visit in Great Falls. The Roe River is surrounded by a fish hatchery, a park, a playground, a walking trail, and a number of interesting places to hike.
5. Aril River, Italy
Italy is renowned for possessing some of the most beautiful landmarks in the world. A little-known piece of beauty in the country, however, is the Aril River which passes through the village of Cassone. At just 175 m (574 ft), the river is by far the shortest one in Italy. However, despite its short course, the river flows under three bridges and also has a handsome waterfall.
Also called ‘Ri River’ by the locals, it is nurtured by many freshwater streams and is known to have a fair number of trouts in its waters. The Aril River has a moderate flow rate and its source is situated in the old town center of Cassone. Interestingly, you will find a spring forming a little lake at the source where the water is cool and teeming with little fishes.