Much of the drainage of Africa is relatively youthful. Many of its major rivers have shown substantial changes in their courses since the break up of Gondwanaland in the Cretaceous. In addition, many of the rivers have distinctive morphological characteristics such as inland deltas, cataracts and elbows of capture. Tectonic and climatic changes, including the development of the East African Rift System and the aridification of the Quaternary, help to explain the nature of these rivers. The history of the Saharan rivers, the Niger, the Nile, the Congo, the Cunene, the Zambezi, the Limpopo and the Orange, is reviewed.