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Ogowe

lower, river and region

OGOWE, a river of West Central Africa, about75o m. long, rising in 3 S. in the highlands known as the Crystal range, and flowing north-west and west, reaches the Gabun coast of the Atlantic by Cape Lopez, a little south of the equator. Here it forms a considerable delta. In its upper course the Ogowe is much obstructed by rapids as it descends the successive steps of the tablelands. It breaks through the outer chains of the moun tainous zone, between 1 oi and I ii E. In its lower course the river passes through a lacustrine region in which it sends off secondary channels. These channels, before reuniting with the main stream, traverse a series of lakes, one north, the other south, of the river. These lakes are natural regulators of the river when in flood. Of its tributaries the chief are the Lolo, which joins on the south bank in 20' E., and the Ivindo, which enters the Ogowe a few miles lower down. Below the Ivindo the largest tributaries are the Of owe, 400 yd. wide at its

mouth (I I 47' E.), but unnavigable except in the rains, and the Ngunye, the largest southern tributary, navigable for 6o m. to the Samba or Eugenie Falls. Apart from the narrow coast plain the whole region of the lower Ogowe is densely forested and the predominant industry of the region is the timber trade. The fauna includes the gorilla and chimpanzee.

The Ogowe rises in March and April, and again in October and November; it is navigable for steamers at low-water as far as the junction of the Ngunye, and at flood time for a distance of 235 m. to N'Jole. The first person to explore the valley of the Ogowe was Paul du Chaillu, who travelled in the country during 1857-59. The Ogowe lies wholly in French Equatorial Africa (q.v.).

For a vivid account of life on the lower Ogowe see A. Schweitzer, On the Edge of the Primeval Forest (1922).