River is any natural body of water that flows from a higher altitude to a lower altitude in a channel with defined banks. Rivers, creeks and brooks are all names for water flowing in natural channels. The names are pretty much interchangeable, but it is commonly assumed that brooks are the smallest of the three, with creeks being in the middle, and rivers being the largest.

A seasonal distribution of rivers streamflow is closely related to the precipitation and evaporation regimes in their drainage areas. River types include:

  • perennial or permanent rivers (always flow),
  • intermittent or seasonal rivers (flow periodically),
  • ephemeral or episodic rivers (flow only during and after storms).

Most of the rivers in Liberia are of perennial type however discharge in these rivers varies greatly between a wet and a dry season.

The Liberian rivers are rain-fed and discharge into the Atlantic Ocean. Six largest Liberian rivers are international rivers, which can be defined as rivers shared by two or more countries. The Mano River, the Lofa, the St. Paul, the St. John, the Cestos and the Cavalla River have headwaters in Guinea or in Sierra Leone and cross the entire Liberia territory from north-west to south east. The largest rivers in Liberia are:

Name of the River

River length


Total basin area (km2) Basin area in Liberia (km2) Basin area in Liberia (%)
Moa River 475 19,617 1,730 9
Mano River 391 7,520 5,539 74
Lofa River 410 10,612 9,189 87
St. Paul River 495 20,281 10,991 54
Farmington River 153 5,249 5,249 100
St. John River 464 16,930 14,363 85
Cestos River 476 12,709 10,389 82
Sehnkwehn River 230 5,659 5,659 100
Cavalla River 861 30,277 12,240 40