First opened in 1986 and manufactured by Intamin, Congo Rivers Rapids was originally named Grand Canyon Rapids and located in the Aqua Land area of Alton Towers. The rapids ride was updated when Katanga Canyon opened in 1992, receiving an African safari theme. The ride originally used six-seater boats, but these were replaced by eight-seater boats to increase capacity.
How wet riders get depends on the exact rotations of the boat and where they are located when they hit the major "splash-points". The intertwining of the ride with the nearby Runaway Mine Train often results in trains of screaming passengers zooming past in the Congo River Rapids tunnel section.