29 September 2023 10:31 AM

The River Nile

Friday، 10 June 2022 - 12:30 AM


The Nile River is the longest river in the world and is located in the continent of Africa. It splits the land of Egypt from south to north to be divided into two branches that flow into the Mediterranean Sea, the Rashid Branch and the Damietta Branch.


Its length from its sources in Lake Tanganyika to its mouth in the Mediterranean Sea is 6650 km, and covers an area of ​​1.9 km. million square kilometers, and extends in 11 countries: Tanzania - Kenya - Zaire - Burundi - Rwanda - Ethiopia - Eritrea - Uganda - South Sudan - Sudan - Egypt.


-The Nile River originates from Lake Victoria and is crossed by drops and slopes that it crosses to rush up or down until it reaches its natural course.



The Nile River carries life, fertility and development for the land of Egypt, and as the Greek historian Herodotus wrote, “Egypt is the gift of the Nile,” in view of what he touched of the importance of the Nile River in the lives of the Egyptians. As, It is based on it  one of the types of tourism, which is "Nilotic tourism", where boats carrying tourists and visitors to Egypt sail north and south.


Reasons for naming

It is so called "Nile" due to its relation to the Greek term Neilos in Greek, as it is also called in Greek the name Aigyptos, which is one of the origins of European terms for the name of Egypt in Latin (Aegyptus).


The path of the Nile River

The Nile River meets in the capital of Sudan, Khartoum. It consists of two main tributaries that feed it: the White Nile from the Lakes Plateau (Lake Victoria), and the “Blue Nile” from Ethiopia (Lake Tana).


 White Nile

In parallel, the River Luveronza in Burundi is the southernmost source of the Nile. It is a tributary of the Kagera River, which cuts a course of 690 km (429 miles) before pouring into Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the main source of water for the White Nile and is the second largest fresh lake in the world. This lake is located in an area rich in swamps on the borders of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya and crossed by the equator. This lake, in turn, is considered the third Great Lakes, with an area of ​​67 thousand square kilometers and an average depth of 40 meters.


The Nile comes out of Lake Victoria at the city of Jinja. The Nile in this part is known as the "Victoria Nile" and runs for a distance of 70 kilometers until it enters Lake Kyoga. It is a shallow lake not exceeding 77 meters in depth, then leaves it at the port of Masindi and continues its path through the Morchanson Falls for a distance of 500 km (300 mile) until it reaches Lake Albert After 5,000 km (300 mile) after leaving Lake Victoria, it descends about 514m.


Lake Albert has an area of ​​about 5,300 km², and is fed by the Smilecki River, which originates from Lake Edward.

After leaving Lake Albert, the Nile is known as the “Nile Albert” and then the Nile reaches the Republic of South Sudan to enter it at the city of Nimoli, where it passes through the Falls of Fula to be known then as “Bahr al-Jabal” and then meets the Aswa River, 20 km from Nimoli, the river then enters the dams area, which is an area of ​​dense swamps, from which the Bahr ez Zeraf branches off to meet with it later, then the river connects with Bahr Al Ghazal and flows east to meet the Bahr ez Zeraf, then meets the Sobat River, which originates from the Abyssinian plateau, and then resumes its course towards the north, and the Nile extends for a distance of 720 km (445 km).

 Mila) is known as the "White Nile", and the Nile continues on its path bearing this name until it enters the Republic of Sudan and then passes through the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.


The Blue Nile comes with (80-85%) of the water feeding the Nile, but this water arrives in the summer during the seasonal rains on the Abyssinian plateau, which is known as the Nile flood, while it does not spread on the rest of the days with water.


The Blue Nile originates in Lake Tana, located in the Ethiopian highlands in eastern Africa, and is fed by only 7% of its revenue on average, and is fed by a number of tributaries with the remainder. It meets both rivers Rahad and Dinder inside Sudanese territory and is called (Abay) in the Amharic language, while it is called the "Blue Nile" after crossing the Ethiopian-Sudanese border.


After crossing the Ethiopian-Sudanese border, this Nile, bearing its Sudanese name, continues on a 1,400-kilometre (850-mile) path until it meets the other branch the "White Nile" in "Al-Muqrin" in Khartoum to form together from that point, passing through the lands of Egypt, and even downstream in the Mediterranean, what is known as the "Nile".


Nile confluence

 After the union of both Niles the White and the Blue one in the Muqrin of Khartoum to form the Nile River. There is only one tributary left for the Nile to feed it with water before entering Egypt, which is the Atbara River, whose course is approximately 800 km (500 miles).


This river also originates from the Ethiopian highlands, North of Lake Tana, and connects to the Nile at a distance of 300 km, (200 miles) after Khartoum city.


In the north of Khartoum, the Nile passes through six waterfalls, the sixth waterfall in Al-Sablouqa (North Khartoum) until the Aswan waterfall in Egypt, and changes its course, as the course of the Nile bends in a southwestern direction near Abu Hamad city, before returning to its original path - north - near Al-Dabba City, and this curved part is called “The Great Bend of the Nile.”



After returning to its original course, the Nile crosses the Sudanese-Egyptian border, and continues its course inside Egypt until it reaches Lake Nasser. It is an artificial lake located behind the High Dam. In 1998, some parts of this lake separated westward with the Western Desert to

form Toshka lakes. Returning to its original course in Lake Nasser, the Nile leaves the lake and heads north until it reaches the Mediterranean Sea.

 Along this path, a part of the river branches off at Assiut, which is called "Bahr Youssef", and continues until it reaches Fayyoum.


The Nile River reaches the far north of Egypt, to split into two branches: the Damietta branch in the east and the Rashid branch in the west, and they confine between them the Nile Delta, which is considered at the top of the list of deltas in the world. The Nile also eventually flows through these two branches in the Mediterranean Sea, ending its long path from central East Africa And even to its north, and from the cities that the Nile River passes through after the confluence (Shendi, Al-Matma, Al-Damir, Atbara, Abu Hamad, ending with Halfa before entering Egypt).


Nile water

 The Nile gets its water from the following sources: The Blue Nile 59% of the revenue of  Sobat River 14% Atbara River 13% Bahr al-Jabal 14% These percentages change during the flood season, reaching 68% from the Blue Nile, 22% from the Atbara River, and 5% for each of Sobat and Bahr al-Jabal.The relatively small contribution of the White Nile is attributed to the losses caused by evaporation in the dams’ area.



 The Nile carries about 110 million tons of silt annually, most of which comes from the Abyssinian plateau. These quantities of silt have a significant impact on the basin countries, as it renews the fertility of the soil on the two banks in some areas and reduces the storage capacity of reservoirs and dams along the course of the Nile.  As for example, Sennar  tank losses 50% of its storage capacity by 1975, and due to silt, it is not possible to close the tank doors during the flood period to reduce sedimentation and avoid backfilling lakes by silt.


 Nile flood

 The civilizations that were started on the two banks of the Nile relied on agriculture, as their main distinctive activity, especially in Sudan and Egypt. Therefore, the Nile flood constituted a great importance in ancient Egyptian and Nubian life as well, and the flood occurs periodically in the summer.


In Pharaonic Egypt, the flood was associated with semi-sacred rituals, where they held celebrations of fulfilling the Nile to rejoice in the flood. They also recorded these celebrations in the form of carving on the walls of their temples, tombs and pyramids to show the extent of their reverence for the flood.


In Islamic Egypt, its rulers also took care of the flood, and they designed a "nilometer" to make an accurate measurement of the flood, and this scale still exists today on "Rawda Island" in Cairo.


In the modern era, in the late eighties of the last century, the Nile Basin countries experienced drought as a result of the weakness of the Nile flood, which led to water shortage and the occurrence of major famine in both Sudan and Ethiopia. However, Egypt did not suffer from the effects of that problem due to the water storage in Lake Nasser behind the High Dam.

Economic importance

 1-The Nile Basin constitutes a unique geographical diversity, starting from the highlands in the south and decreasing in height until it reaches wide plains in the far north, and therefore the Nile River flows from south to north according to the slope of the land.

 2-The Nile is of great importance in the economies of the Nile Basin countries especially in agriculture field. Farmers in the Nile Basin countries depend on its water to irrigate their crops. The most famous of these crops are: cotton, wheat, sugar cane, dates, legumes, and citrus fruits.

 3-In fishing field, fishermen depend on the indigo fish available in it, and fish is one of the favorite foods of many peoples of these countries.

 4 - The Nile River is famous for the presence of many aquatic life, the most important of which is the Nile crocodile, which is present in most of the course of the Nile.

 5- In tourism field , in Sudan and Egypt, one of the types of tourism is based on it, which is “Nilotic tourism”, where the felucca carrying tourists and visitors to the country sails between the third and fourth dams in northern Sudan and between Juba and Kosti in southern Sudan, Giza, Minya, Sohag, Qena, Luxor and Aswan in Egypt.




As a result of the enormous potential provided by the Nile River, it was desirable by the colonial powers in the nineteenth century.


European countries controlled the Nile Basin countries in that period; While Britain was tightening its grip on Egypt, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, Germany tightened its grip on Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. At the same time, Belgium took control of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was known at that time as Zaire.


After the First World War (1914-1918) ended, the German Empire was divided between Britain and Belgium, and England got Tanzania, while Belgium got Rwanda and Burundi, while Ethiopia remained an independent state.


With the end of British control of Egypt and Sudan in the fifties of the twentieth century, the Nile River agreement was signed in 1959 to divide the Nile waters.



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