Nile River

Nile River
Aerial view of the White Nile River

The Nile River is the longest river on Earth. It runs from central Africa to the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile drains more than 1 million square miles (3 million square km) which is about 10 percent of Africa’s landmass.

The Nile has two major tributaries; they are called the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

The White Nile originates near Lake Victoria in Uganda. It descends into the Great Rift Valley, flows over the Murchison Falls, crosses Lak Albert, then passes onto a huge wetland on the plain of Sudd. At the city of Khartoum in Sudan, it meets the Blue Nile.

Water leaving Lake Victoria on the longer White Nile takes three months to reach the Mediterranean.

River Nile at dusk
River Nile at dusk

The Blue Nile originates at Lake Tana in the Ethiopian Highlands. It runs over a series of rapids before passing through Egypt’s historic valleys. North of the city of Cairo, the Blue Nile splits into two branches that form the Nile Delta where it enters the Mediterranean.

The Nile Delta is one of the most cultivated parts of Egypt. It was formed by sediment brought down the Blue Nile from the Ethiopian Plateau. The flooding of the Nile brings not only water but fertile silt the replenishes the soil across the Delta floodplain.

Since the completion of the Aswan Dam in 1970, the flow of the Nile has been significantly moderated.

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