The NILE (
Arabic : النيل,
Egyptian Arabic en-Nīl,
Standard Arabic an-Nīl; Coptic : ⲫⲓⲁⲣⲱ, P(h)iaro; Ancient
Egyptian : Ḥ'pī and Jtrw;
Biblical Hebrew : היאור, Ha-Ye'or or
השיחור, Ha-Shiḥor) is a major north-flowing river in
northeastern Africa . It is generally regarded as the longest river in
the world, however other conflicting sources cite a 2007 study that
gave the title to the Amazon
South America . The Nile, which
is 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long, is an "international" river as its
drainage basin covers eleven countries, namely,
Burundi , the
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo ,
Eritrea , South
Egypt . In particular,
Nile is the primary water source of
Egypt and Sudan.
Nile has two major tributaries , the
White Nile and
Blue Nile .
White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream
Nile itself. The Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of
the water and silt . The
White Nile is longer and rises in the Great
Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still
undetermined but located in either
Rwanda or Burundi. It flows north
Lake Victoria ,
Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue
Nile (Amharic : ዓባይ? , ʿĀbay ) begins at
Lake Tana in
Ethiopia and flows into
Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet
just north of the Sudanese capital of
The northern section of the river flows north almost entirely through
the Sudanese desert to Egypt, then ends in a large delta and flows
Mediterranean Sea . Egyptian civilization and Sudanese
kingdoms have depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the
population and cities of
Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile
valley north of
Aswan , and nearly all the cultural and historical
sites of Ancient
Egypt are found along riverbanks.
In the ancient
Egyptian language , the
Nile is called Ḥ'pī or
Iteru (Hapy), meaning "river". In Coptic , the words piaro (
or phiaro (
Bohairic ) meaning "the river" (lit. p(h).iar-o
"the.canal-great") come from the same ancient name.
The English name
Nile and the
Arabic names en-Nîl and an-Nîl both
derive from the
Latin Nilus and the
Ancient Greek Νεῖλος.
Beyond that, however, the etymology is disputed. One possible
etymology derives it from a Semitic Nahal, meaning "river". The
standard English names "White Nile" and "Blue Nile", to refer to the
river's source, derive from
Arabic names formerly applied only to the
Sudanese stretches which meet at Khartoum.
* 1 Course
* 1.1 Sources
* 1.1.1 Lost headwaters
* 1.2 In
* 1.3 In South
* 1.4 In
* 1.5 In
* 2 Tributaries
* 2.1 Atbara
* 2.3 Bahr el
Ghazal and Sobat
* 2.4 Yellow
* 3 History
* 3.1 Eonile
* 3.2 Integrated
* 3.3 Role in the founding of Egyptian civilization
* 3.4 Search for the source of the
* 3.5 Since 1950
Water sharing dispute
* 5 Modern achievements and exploration
* 6 Crossings
* 6.1 Crossings from
Khartoum to the
* 6.2 Crossings from
* 7 Images and media of the
* 8 Annotated bibliography
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 11 Further reading
* 12 External links
White Nile The
Dendera , as seen from the
SPOT satellite The Nile's watershed The
Nile near Beni
Suef Composite satellite image of the
Khartoum , the
Nile is also known as the
White Nile , a term
also used in a limited sense to describe the section between Lake No
and Khartoum. At
Khartoum the river is joined by the
Blue Nile . The
White Nile starts in equatorial East Africa, and the
Blue Nile begins
in Ethiopia. Both branches are on the western flanks of the East
African Rift .
The drainage basin of the
Nile covers 3,254,555 square kilometers
(1,256,591 sq mi), about 10% of the area of Africa. The
Nile basin is
complex, and because of this, the discharge at any given point along
the mainstem depends on many factors including weather, diversions,
evaporation and evapotranspiration , and groundwater flow.
The source of the
Nile is sometimes considered to be
Lake Victoria ,
but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size. The Kagera River
, which flows into
Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of
is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on which is the
longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of
Nile itself. It is either the Ruvyironza , which emerges in
Bururi Province ,
Burundi , or the
Nyabarongo , which flows from
Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda. The two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo
Falls on the Rwanda-
Tanzania border. The source of the
the underwater spring at the neck of Lake Victoria, Jinja
In 2010, an exploration party went to a place described as the
source of the
Rukarara tributary, and by hacking a path up steep
jungle-choked mountain slopes in the Nyungwe forest found (in the dry
season ) an appreciable incoming surface flow for many kilometres
upstream, and found a new source, giving the
Nile a length of 6,758 km
Gish Abay is reportedly the place where the "holy water" of the first
drops of the
Blue Nile develop.
List of rivers by length
List of rivers by length
Lake Tanganyika drained northwards along the African Rift
Valley into the
White Nile , making the
Nile about 1,400 kilometers
(870 mi) longer, until it was blocked in
Miocene times by the bulk of
Virunga Volcanoes .
Nile leaves Lake Nyanza (Victoria) at
Ripon Falls near Jinja,
Uganda , as the
Victoria Nile . It flows north for some 130 kilometers
(81 mi), to
Lake Kyoga . The last part of the approximately 200
kilometers (120 mi) river section starts from the western shores of
the lake and flows at first to the west until just south of Masindi
Port , where the river turns north, then makes a great half circle to
the east and north until
Karuma Falls . For the remaining part it
flows merely westerly through the
Murchison Falls until it reaches the
very northern shores of Lake Albert where it forms a significant river
delta . The lake itself is on the border of
DR Congo , but the
not a border river at this point. After leaving Lake Albert, the river
continues north through
Uganda and is known as the
Albert Nile .
IN SOUTH SUDAN
The river flows into South
Sudan just south of
Nimule , where it is
known as the Bahr al Jabal ("Mountain River" ). Just south of the town
it has the confluence with the Achwa
River . The Bahr al
itself 716 kilometers (445 mi) long, joins the Bahr al Jabal at a
small lagoon called
Lake No , after which the
Nile becomes known as
the Bahr al Abyad, or the
White Nile , from the whitish clay suspended
in its waters. When the
Nile floods it leaves a rich silty deposit
which fertilizes the soil. The
Nile no longer floods in
the completion of the
Aswan Dam in 1970. An anabranch river, the Bahr
el Zeraf , flows out of the Nile's Bahr al Jabal section and rejoins
the White Nile.
The flow rate of the Bahr al Jabal at Mongalla, South
Sudan is almost
constant throughout the year and averages 1,048 m3/s (37,000 cu ft/s).
After Mongalla, the Bahr Al Jabal enters the enormous swamps of the
Sudd region of South Sudan. More than half of the Nile's water is lost
in this swamp to evaporation and transpiration . The average flow rate
White Nile at the tails of the swamps is about 510 m3/s (18,000
cu ft/s). From here it soon meets with the Sobat
Malakal . On
an annual basis, the
White Nile upstream of
Malakal contributes about
fifteen percent of the total outflow of the
The average flow of the
White Nile at Malakal, just below the Sobat
River, is 924 m3/s (32,600 cu ft/s); the peak flow is approximately
1,218 m3/s (43,000 cu ft/s) in October and minimum flow is about 609
m3/s (21,500 cu ft/s) in April. This fluctuation is due the
substantial variation in the flow of the Sobat, which has a minimum
flow of about 99 m3/s (3,500 cu ft/s) in March and a peak flow of over
680 m3/s (24,000 cu ft/s) in October. During the dry season (January
to June) the
White Nile contributes between 70 percent and 90 percent
of the total discharge from the Nile.
Below Renk the
White Nile enters Sudan, it flows north to Khartoum
and meets the Blue Nile.
The course of the
Sudan is distinctive. It flows over six
groups of cataracts , from the sixth at Sabaloka just north of
Khartoum northward to
Abu Hamed . Due to the tectonic uplift of the
Nubian Swell , the river is then diverted to flow for over 300 km
south-west following the structure of the Central African Shear Zone
embracing the Bayuda
Desert . At Al Dabbah it resumes its northward
course towards the first Cataract at
Aswan forming the 'S'-shaped
Great Bend of the
Nile already mentioned by
In the north of
Sudan the river enters
Lake Nasser (known in
Lake Nubia), the larger part of which is in Egypt.
Aswan High Dam , at the northern limit of Lake Nasser, the
Nile resumes its historic course.
Cairo , the
Nile splits into two branches (or distributaries
) that feed the Mediterranean: the
Rosetta Branch to the west and the
Damietta to the east, forming the
Nile Delta .
Below the confluence with the
Blue Nile the only major tributary is
River , roughly halfway to the sea, which originates in
Ethiopia north of
Lake Tana , and is around 800 kilometers (500 mi)
long. The Atbara flows only while there is rain in
Ethiopia and dries
very rapidly. During the dry period of January to June, it typically
dries up. It joins the
Nile approximately 300 kilometers (200 mi)
north of Khartoum.
Blue Nile The
Blue Nile Falls fed by Lake Tana
near the city of
Bahir Dar ,
Nile Delta from space
Annotated view of the
Nile and Red Sea, with a dust storm.
Blue Nile (Ge\'ez ጥቁር ዓባይ Ṭiqūr ʿĀbbāy (Black
Abay ) to Ethiopians ;
Arabic : النيل الأزرق;
transliterated : AN-NīL AL-AZRAQ) springs from
Lake Tana in the
Ethiopian Highlands. The
Blue Nile flows about 1,400 kilometres to
Khartoum, where the
Blue Nile and
White Nile join to form the Nile.
Ninety percent of the water and ninety-six percent of the transported
sediment carried by the
Nile originates in Ethiopia, with fifty-nine
percent of the water from the
Blue Nile (the rest being from the
Tekezé , Atbarah, Sobat , and small tributaries). The erosion and
transportation of silt only occurs during the Ethiopian rainy season
in the summer, however, when rainfall is especially high on the
Ethiopian Plateau ; the rest of the year, the great rivers draining
Ethiopia into the
Nile (Sobat, Blue Nile, Tekezé, and Atbarah) have a
weaker flow. In harsh and arid seasons and droughts the blue Nile
dries out completely.
The flow of the
Blue Nile varies considerably over its yearly cycle
and is the main contribution to the large natural variation of the
Nile flow. During the dry season the natural discharge of the Blue
Nile can be as low as 113 m3/s (4,000 cu ft/s), although upstream dams
regulate the flow of the river. During the wet season the peak flow of
Blue Nile often exceeds 5,663 m3/s (200,000 cu ft/s) in late
August (a difference of a factor of 50).
Before the placement of dams on the river the yearly discharge varied
by a factor of 15 at Aswan. Peak flows of over 8,212 m3/s (290,000 cu
ft/s) occurred during late August and early September, and minimum
flows of about 552 m3/s (19,500 cu ft/s) occurred during late April
and early May.
BAHR EL GHAZAL AND SOBAT RIVER
The Bahr al
Ghazal and the Sobat
River are the two most important
tributaries of the
White Nile in terms of discharge.
The Bahr al Ghazal's drainage basin is the largest of any of the
Nile's sub-basins, measuring 520,000 square kilometers (200,000 sq mi)
in size, but it contributes a relatively small amount of water, about
2 m3/s (71 cu ft/s) annually, due to tremendous volumes of water being
lost in the
The Sobat River, which joins the
Nile a short distance below Lake No,
drains about half as much land, 225,000 km2 (86,900 sq mi), but
contributes 412 cubic meters per second (14,500 cu ft/s) annually to
the Nile. When in flood the Sobat carries a large amount of sediment,
adding greatly to the White Nile's color.
Nile is a former tributary that connected the Ouaddaï
Highlands of eastern
Chad to the
River Valley c. 8000 to c. 1000
BC. Its remains are known as the
Wadi Howar . The wadi passes through
Gharb Darfur near the northern border with
Chad and meets up with the
Nile near the southern point of the Great Bend.
Sahara § Climate history Reconstruction
Oikoumene (inhabited world), an ancient map based on Herodotus
' description of the world, circa 450 BC
Nile (iteru in Ancient Egyptian ) has been the lifeline of
Egypt since the
Stone Age , with most of the
population and all of the cities of
Egypt resting along those parts of
Nile valley lying north of Aswan. However, the
Nile used to run
much more westerly through what is now Wadi Hamim and Wadi al Maqar in
Libya and flow into the
Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Sidra . As sea level rose at the end
of the most recent ice age , the stream which is now the northern Nile
pirated the ancestral
Asyut , this change in climate also
led to the creation of the current
Sahara desert, around 3400 BC.
Nile is at least the fifth river that has flowed north
from the Ethiopian Highlands.
Satellite imagery was used to identify
dry watercourses in the desert to the west of the Nile. An Eonile
canyon, now filled by surface drift, represents an ancestral Nile
called the EONILE that flowed during the later
million years before present). The Eonile transported clastic
sediments to the Mediterranean; several natural gas fields have been
discovered within these sediments.
During the late-
Messinian salinity crisis , when the
Mediterranean Sea was a closed basin and evaporated to the point of
being empty or nearly so, the
Nile cut its course down to the new base
level until it was several hundred metres below world ocean level at
Aswan and 2,400 m (7,900 ft) below Cairo. This created a very long
and deep canyon which was filled with sediment when the Mediterranean
was recreated. At some point the sediments raised the riverbed
sufficiently for the river to overflow westward into a depression to
Lake Moeris .
Lake Tanganyika drained northwards into the
Nile until the Virunga
Volcanoes blocked its course in Rwanda. The
Nile was much longer at
that time, with its furthest headwaters in northern
There are two theories about the age of the integrated Nile. One is
that the integrated drainage of the
Nile is of young age, and that the
Nile basin was formerly broken into series of separate basins, only
the most northerly of which fed a river following the present course
Egypt and Sudan. Rushdi Said postulated that Egypt
itself supplied most of the waters of the
Nile during the early part
of its history.
The other theory is that the drainage from
Ethiopia via rivers
equivalent to the
Blue Nile and the Atbara and Takazze flowed to the
Mediterranean via the Egyptian
Nile since well back into Tertiary
Salama suggested that during the
Neogene Periods (66
million to 2.588 million years ago) a series of separate closed
continental basins each occupied one of the major parts of the
Sudanese Rift System:
Mellut rift ,
White Nile rift ,
Blue Nile rift ,
Atbara rift and Sag El Naam rift . The Mellut Rift Basin is nearly 12
kilometers (7.5 mi) deep at its central part. This rift is possibly
still active, with reported tectonic activity in its northern and
southern boundaries. The
Sudd swamps which form the central part of
the basin may still be subsiding. The
White Nile Rift System, although
shallower than the
Bahr el Arab rift , is about 9 kilometers (5.6 mi)
deep. Geophysical exploration of the
Blue Nile Rift System estimated
the depth of the sediments to be 5–9 kilometers (3.1–5.6 mi).
These basins were not interconnected until their subsidence ceased,
and the rate of sediment deposition was enough to fill and connect
them. The Egyptian
Nile connected to the Sudanese Nile, which captures
the Ethiopian and Equatorial headwaters during the current stages of
tectonic activity in the Eastern, Central and Sudanese Rift Systems.
The connection of the different Niles occurred during cyclic wet
River Atbara overflowed its closed basin during the wet
periods that occurred about 100,000 to 120,000 years ago. The Blue
Nile connected to the main
Nile during the 70,000–80,000 years B.P.
wet period. The
White Nile system in Bahr El Arab and
White Nile Rifts
remained a closed lake until the connection of the
Victoria Nile to
the main system some 12,500 years ago.
ROLE IN THE FOUNDING OF EGYPTIAN CIVILIZATION
A felucca traversing the
The Greek historian
Herodotus wrote that "
Egypt was the gift of the
Nile". An unending source of sustenance, it provided a crucial role in
the development of Egyptian civilization.
Silt deposits from the Nile
made the surrounding land fertile because the river overflowed its
banks annually. The Ancient Egyptians cultivated and traded wheat ,
flax , papyrus and other crops around the Nile.
Wheat was a crucial
crop in the famine-plagued Middle East. This trading system secured
Egypt's diplomatic relationships with other countries, and contributed
to economic stability. Far-reaching trade has been carried on along
Nile since ancient times.
Water buffalo were introduced from Asia, and Assyrians introduced
camels in the 7th century BC. These animals were killed for meat, and
were domesticated and used for ploughing—or in the camels' case,
Water was vital to both people and livestock. The
also a convenient and efficient means of transportation for people and
Nile was an important part of ancient Egyptian spiritual
Hapy was the god of the annual floods, and both he and the
pharaoh were thought to control the flooding. The
Nile was considered
to be a causeway from life to death and the afterlife. The east was
thought of as a place of birth and growth, and the west was considered
the place of death, as the god Ra , the Sun, underwent birth, death,
and resurrection each day as he crossed the sky. Thus, all tombs were
west of the Nile, because the Egyptians believed that in order to
enter the afterlife, they had to be buried on the side that symbolized
Nile was such an important factor in Egyptian life, the
ancient calendar was even based on the 3 cycles of the Nile. These
seasons, each consisting of four months of thirty days each, were
called Akhet , Peret , and
Shemu . Akhet, which means inundation, was
the time of the year when the
Nile flooded, leaving several layers of
fertile soil behind, aiding in agricultural growth. Peret was the
growing season, and Shemu, the last season, was the harvest season
when there were no rains.
SEARCH FOR THE SOURCE OF THE NILE
John Hanning Speke c. 1863. Speke was the Victorian explorer
who first reached
Lake Victoria in 1858, returning to establish it as
the source of the
Nile by 1862.
Henry Morton Stanley
Henry Morton Stanley in 1872.
Stanley circumnavigated the lake and confirmed Speke's observations in
Owing to their failure to penetrate the sudd wetlands of South Sudan
, the upper reaches of the
Nile remained largely unknown to the
ancient Greeks and Romans . Various expeditions failed to determine
the river's source .
Agatharcides records that in the time of Ptolemy
II Philadelphus , a military expedition had penetrated far enough
along the course of the
Blue Nile to determine that the summer floods
were caused by heavy seasonal rainstorms in the
Ethiopian Highlands ,
but no European of antiquity is known to have reached
Lake Tana .
Tabula Rogeriana depicted the source as three lakes in 1154.
Europeans began to learn about the origins of the
Nile in the 15th
and 16th centuries, when travelers to
Lake Tana and
the source of the
Blue Nile in the mountains south of the lake.
James Bruce claimed to be the first European to have visited
the headwaters, modern writers give the credit to the
Páez . Páez's account of the source of the
Nile is a long and vivid
account of Ethiopia. It was published in full only in the early 20th
century, although it was featured in works of Páez's contemporaries,
including Baltazar Téllez,
Athanasius Kircher and by Johann
Michael Vansleb .
Europeans had been resident in
Ethiopia since the late 15th century,
and one of them may have visited the headwaters even earlier without
leaving a written trace. The Portuguese João Bermudes published the
first description of the
Tis Issat Falls in his 1565 memoirs, compared
them to the
Nile Falls alluded to in
Cicero 's De Republica.
Jerónimo Lobo describes the source of the Blue Nile, visiting shortly
after Pedro Páez. Telles also used his account.
White Nile was even less understood. The ancients mistakenly
believed that the Niger
River represented the upper reaches of the
White Nile. For example,
Pliny the Elder wrote that the
Nile had its
origins "in a mountain of lower
Mauretania ", flowed above ground for
"many days" distance, then went underground, reappeared as a large
lake in the territories of the
Masaesyli , then sank again below the
desert to flow underground "for a distance of 20 days' journey till it
reaches the nearest Ethiopians." A merchant named Diogenes reported
that the Nile's water attracted game such as buffalo. A map of
Nile c. 1911, a time when its entire primary course ran through
British occupations, condominiums, colonies, and protectorates.
Lake Victoria was first sighted by Europeans in 1858 when the British
John Hanning Speke reached its southern shore while traveling
Richard Francis Burton
Richard Francis Burton to explore central Africa and locate the
great lakes. Believing he had found the source of the
Nile on seeing
this "vast expanse of open water" for the first time, Speke named the
lake after the then Queen of the United Kingdom . Burton, recovering
from illness and resting further south on the shores of Lake
Tanganyika, was outraged that Speke claimed to have proved his
discovery to be the true source of the
Nile when Burton regarded this
as still unsettled. A very public quarrel ensued, which sparked a
great deal of intense debate within the scientific community and
interest by other explorers keen to either confirm or refute Speke's
discovery. British explorer and missionary
David Livingstone pushed
too far west and entered the Congo
River system instead. It was
ultimately Welsh-American explorer
Henry Morton Stanley
Henry Morton Stanley who confirmed
Speke's discovery, circumnavigating
Lake Victoria and reporting the
great outflow at
Ripon Falls on the Lake's northern shore.
European involvement in
Egypt goes back to the time of
Laird Shipyard of
Liverpool sent an iron steamer to the
Nile in the
1830s. With the completion of the
Suez Canal and the British takeover
Egypt in the 1870s, more British river steamers followed.
Nile is the area's natural navigation channel, giving access to
Sudan by steamer. The Siege of
Khartoum was broken with
purpose-built sternwheelers shipped from England and steamed up the
river to retake the city. After this came regular steam navigation of
the river. With British Forces in
Egypt in the First World War and the
inter-war years, river steamers provided both security and sightseeing
to the Pyramids and Thebes . Steam navigation remained integral to the
two countries as late as 1962.
Sudan steamer traffic was a lifeline as
few railways or roads were built in that country. Most paddle steamers
have been retired to shorefront service, but modern diesel tourist
boats remain on the river. Village on the Nile, 1891
The confluence of the Kagera and Ruvubu rivers near Rusumo Falls
, part of the Nile's upper reaches Dhows on the
Nile passes through Cairo, Egypt's capital city
Nile has long been used to transport goods along its length.
Winter winds blow south, up river, so ships could sail up river, and
down river using the flow of the river. While most Egyptians still
live in the
Nile valley, the 1970 completion of the
Aswan High Dam
ended the summer floods and their renewal of the fertile soil,
fundamentally changing farming practices. The
Nile supports much of
the population living along its banks, enabling Egyptians to live in
otherwise inhospitable regions of the Sahara. The rivers's flow is
disturbed at several points by the
Cataracts of the Nile
Cataracts of the Nile , which are
sections of faster-flowing water with many small islands, shallow
water, and rocks, which form an obstacle to navigation by boats. The
Sudd wetlands in
Sudan also forms a formidable navigation obstacle and
impede water flow, to the extent that
Sudan had once attempted to
Jonglei Canal ) to bypass the swamps.
Nile cities include Khartoum, Aswan,
Luxor (Thebes ), and the Giza
Cairo conurbation. The first cataract, the closest to the mouth of
the river, is at Aswan, north of the
Aswan Dam. This part of the river
is a regular tourist route, with cruise ships and traditional wooden
sailing boats known as feluccas . Many cruise ships ply the route
Luxor and Aswan, stopping at
Kom Ombo along the way.
Security concerns have limited cruising on the northernmost portion
for many years.
A computer simulation study to plan the economic development of the
Nile was directed by H. A. W. Morrice and W. N. Allan, for the
Ministry of Hydro-power of the Republic of the Sudan, during
1955–1957 Morrice was their Hydrological Adviser, and Allan his
predecessor. M.P. Barnett directed the software development and
computer operations. The calculations were enabled by accurate monthly
inflow data collected for 50 years. The underlying principle was the
use of over-year storage, to conserve water from rainy years for use
in dry years. Irrigation, navigation and other needs were considered.
Each computer run postulated a set of reservoirs and operating
equations for the release of water as a function of the month and the
levels upstream. The behavior that would have resulted given the
inflow data was modeled. Over 600 models were run. Recommendations
were made to the Sudanese authorities. The calculations were run on an
IBM 650 computer. Simulation studies to design water resources are
discussed further in the article on hydrology transport models , that
have been used since the 1980s to analyze water quality.
Despite the development of many reservoirs, drought during the 1980s
led to widespread starvation in
Ethiopia and Sudan, but
nourished by water impounded in
Lake Nasser . Drought has proven to be
a major cause of fatality in the
River basin. According to a
report by the Strategic Foresight Group around 170 million people have
been affected by droughts in the last century with half a million
lives lost. From the 70 incidents of drought which took place between
1900 and 2012, 55 incidents took place in Ethiopia, Sudan, South
Kenya and Tanzania.
WATER SHARING DISPUTE
The Nile's water has affected the politics of East Africa and the
Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa for many decades. Countries including Uganda, Sudan,
Kenya have complained about Egyptian domination of its
water resources. The
Nile Basin Initiative promotes a peaceful
cooperation among those states.
Several attempts have been made to establish agreements between the
countries sharing the
Nile waters. It is very difficult to have all
these countries agree with each other given the self-interest of each
country and their political, strategic, and social differences. On 14
May 2010 at
Uganda signed a
new agreement on sharing the
Nile water even though this agreement
raised strong opposition from
Egypt and Sudan. Ideally, such
international agreements should promote equitable and efficient usage
Nile basin's water resources. Without a better understanding
about the availability of the future water resources of the Nile
River, it is possible that conflicts could arise between these
countries relying on the
Nile for their water supply, economic and
MODERN ACHIEVEMENTS AND EXPLORATION
White Nile Expedition, led by South African national Hendrik
Coetzee , became the first to navigate the White Nile's entire length
of approximately 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi). The expedition began at
the White Nile's source,
Lake Victoria in
Uganda , on January 17, 2004
and arrived safely at the Mediterranean in
Rosetta , four and a half
Blue Nile Expedition, led by geologist Pasquale Scaturro and his
partner, kayaker and documentary filmmaker Gordon Brown became the
first people to descend the entire Blue Nile, from
Lake Tana in
Ethiopia to the beaches of Alexandria on the Mediterranean. Their
approximately 5,230 kilometres (3,250 mi) journey took 114 days: from
December 25, 2003 to April 28, 2004. Though their expedition included
others, Brown and Scaturro were the only ones to complete the entire
journey. Although they descended whitewater manually the team used
outboard motors for much of their journey.
On January 29, 2005 Canadian Les Jickling and New Zealander Mark
Tanner completed the first human powered transit of Ethiopia's Blue
Nile. Their journey of over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) took five
months. They recount that they paddled through two war zones, regions
notorious for bandits, and were arrested at gunpoint.
On April 30, 2005 a team led by South Africans Peter Meredith and
Hendrik Coetzee became the first to navigate the major remote source
of the White Nile, the Akagera river that starts as the Ruvyironza in
Bururi Province , Burundi, and ends at Lake Victoria, Uganda.
CROSSINGS FROM KHARTOUM TO THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA
The following bridges cross the
Blue Nile and connect
Mac Nimir Bridge
Blue Nile Road ">
* Omhuraz Bridge (proposed)
the following bridges cross from Omdurman: to
* Shambat Bridge
* Halfia Bridge
The following bridges cross to Tuti from
Khartoum states three cities
* Khartoum-tuti Bridge
* Omdurman-Tuti Suspension Bridge (proposed)
Khartoum North-tuti Bridge (proposed)
* Shandi Bridge,
Merowe Dam , Merowe
* Merowe Bridge, Merowe
* Suhag Bridge, Suhag
* Al Minya Bridge, Minya
* Al Marazeek Bridge,
* First Ring Road Bridge (Moneeb Crossing),
* Abbas Bridge, Cairo
* University Bridge, Cairo
Qasr al-Nil Bridge , Cairo
6th October Bridge
6th October Bridge , Cairo
* Abu El Ela Bridge ,
Cairo (removed in 1998)
* New Abu El Ela Bridge, Cairo
Imbaba Bridge , Cairo
* Rod Elfarag Bridge, Cairo
* Second Ring Road Bridge, Cairo
* Banha Bridge, Banha
* Samanoud Bridge, Samanoud
Mansoura 2 Bridges,
* Talkha Bridge, Talkha
* Shirbine high Bridge
* Shirbine Bridge
* Kafr Sad - Farscor Bridge
* International Coastal Road Bridge
Damietta high Bridge,
* Kafr El Zayat Bridges, Kafr El Zayat
* Zefta Bridge, Zefta
This list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it .
CROSSINGS FROM RWANDA TO KHARTOUM
* Nalubaale Bridge, Jinja,
Owen Falls Bridge )
Karuma , Uganda
* Pakwach Bridge, Uganda
This list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it .
IMAGES AND MEDIA OF THE NILE
Riverboat on the Nile,
Marsh along the
A river boat crossing the
Murchison Falls in Uganda, between
Lake Victoria and
Nile flows through Cairo, here contrasting ancient customs
of daily life with the modern city of today.
The following is an annotated bibliography of key written documents
for the Western exploration of the Nile.
* Historia da Ethiopia,
Pedro Páez (aka Pero Pais), Portugal, 1620
Jesuit missionary who was sent from
Ethiopia in 1589 and
remained in the area until his death in 1622. Credited with being the
first European to view the source of the
Blue Nile which he describes
in this volume.
* Voyage historique d'Abissinie,
Jerónimo Lobo (aka Girolamo Lobo),
Piero Matini, Firenze; 1693
One of the most important and earliest sources on
Ethiopia and the
Jerónimo Lobo (1595-1687), a
Jesuit priest, stayed in Ethiopia,
mostly in Tigre , for 9 years and travelled to
Lake Tana and the Blue
Nile, reaching the province of
Damot . When the Jesuits were expelled
from the country, he too had to leave and did so via
Suakin . "He was the best expert on Ethiopian matters. After Pais,
Lobo is the second European to describe the sources of the Blue Nile
and he did so more exactly than Bruce" (transl. from Henze).
Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years – 1768,
1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 ,
James Bruce of Kinnaird. J. Ruthven for
G. GJ. and J. Robinson et al., Edinburgh, 1790 (5 Volumes)
With time on his hands and at the urging of a friend, Bruce composed
this account of his travels on the African continent, including
comments on the history and religion of Egypt, an account of Indian
trade, a history of Abyssinia , and other material. Although Bruce
would not be confused with "a great scholar or a judicious critic, few
books of equal compass are equally entertaining; and few such
monuments exist of the energy and enterprise of a single traveller"
(DNB). "The result of his travels was a very great enrichment of the
knowledge of geography and ethnography" (Cox II, p. 389.) Bruce was
one of the earliest westerners to search for the source of the Nile.
In November 1770 he reached the source of the Blue Nile, and though he
acknowledged that the
White Nile was the larger stream, he claimed
Blue Nile was the
Nile of the ancients and that he was thus
the discoverer of its source. The account of his travels was written
twelve years after his journey and without reference to his journals,
which gave critics grounds for disbelief, but the substantial accuracy
of the book has since been amply demonstrated.
Egypt And Mohammed Ali, Or Travels In The Valley of The Nile,
James Augustus St. John , Longman, London, 1834
St. John traveled extensively in
Nubia in 1832–33,
mainly on foot. He gives a very interesting picture of Egyptian life
and politics under Mohammed Ali , a large part of volume II deals with
the Egyptian campaign in
* Travels in
Ethiopia Above the Second Cateract of the Nile;
Exhibiting the State of That Country and Its Various Inhabitants Under
the Dominion of Mohammed Ali ; and Illustrating the Antiquities, Arts,
and History of the Ancient Kingdom of Meroe, G. A.Hoskins. Longman,
Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, 1835.
Egypt and Thebes: Being a Description of Egypt; Including
Information Required for Travelers in That Country, Sir Gardner
Wilkinson, John Murray, London, 1843
The first known English travelers guide to the Lower
* Lake Regions of Central Equatorial Africa, with Notices of The
Lunar Mountains and the Sources of the White Nile; being The Results
of an Expedition Undertaken under the Patronage of Her Majesty's
Government and the Royal Geographical Society of London, In the Years
Sir Richard Burton . W. Clowes , London; 1860
Sir Richard Burton's presentation of his expedition with John Speke
. Ultimately, Burton's view of the sources of the
Nile failed and
* Travels, researches, and missionary labours, during eighteen
years' residence in eastern Africa. Together with journeys to Jagga,
Usambara, Ukambani, Shoa, Abessinia, and Khartum; and a coasting
voyage from Mombaz to Cape Delgado. With an appendix respecting the
snow-capped mountains of eastern Africa; the sources of the Nile; the
languages and literature of Abessinia And eastern Africa, etc. etc.,
Rev Dr. J. Krapf , Trubner and Co, London; 1860;
Ticknor and Fields
Ticknor and Fields ,
Krapf went to East Africa in the service of the English Church
Missionary Society, arriving at
Kenya in 1844 and staying in
East Africa until 1853. While stationed there he was the first to
report the existence of
Lake Baringo and a sighting of the snow-clad
Kilimanjaro . Krapf, during his travels, collected information from
the Arab traders operating inland from the coast. From the traders
Krapf and his companions learned of great lakes and snow-capped
mountains, which Krapf claimed to have seen for himself, much to the
ridicule of English explorers who could not believe the idea of snow
on the equator. However, Krapf was correct and had seen Mounts
Kilimanjaro and Kenya, the first European to do so.
* Egypt, Soudan and Central Africa: With Explorations From Khartoum
White Nile to the Regions of the Equator, Being Sketches from
Sixteen Years' Travel,
John Petherick .
William Blackwood , Edinburgh;
Petherick was a well known Welsh traveler in East Central Africa
where he had adopted the profession of mining engineer. This work
describes sixteen years of his travel throughout Africa. In 1845, he
entered the service of Mehemet Ali, and was employed in examining
Upper Egypt, Nubia, the
Red Sea coast and
Kordofan in an unsuccessful
search for coal. In 1848, he left the Egyptian service and established
himself at El Obeid as a trader and was, at the same time made British
Consul for the Sudan. In 1853, he removed to
Khartoum and became an
ivory trader. He traveled extensively in the Bahr-el-
then almost unknown, exploring the Jur ,
Yalo and other affluents of
Ghazal and in 1858 he penetrated the Niam-Niam country.
Petherick's additions to the knowledge of natural history were
considerable, being responsible for the discovery of a number of new
species. In 1859, he returned to England where he became acquainted
John Speke , then arranging for an expedition to discover the
source of the Nile. While in England, Petherick married and published
this account of his travels. He got the idea to join Speke in his
travels, and in this volume is an actual subscription and list of
subscribers to raise money to send Petherick to join Speke. His
subsequent adventures as a consul in Africa were published in a later
* Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, John Hanning
William Blackwood , Edinburgh, 1863; Harper 1864
Speke had previously made an expedition with Sir Richard Burton
under the auspices of the Indian government, during which Speke was
convinced that he had discovered the source of the Nile. Burton,
however, disagreed and ridiculed Speke's account. Speke set off on
another expedition, recounted here, in the company of Captain Grant.
During the course of this expedition he not only produced further
evidence for his discoveries but he also met (later Sir) Samuel and
Florence Baker . Speke and Burton provided them with essential
information which helped Baker in the discovery of the
Albert Nyanza .
The importance of Speke's discoveries can hardly be overestimated. In
discovering the source reservoir of the
Nile he succeeded in solving
the problem of all ages; he and Grant were the first Europeans to
cross Equatorial Eastern Africa and gained for the world a knowledge
of about 800 km (500 mi) of a portion of Eastern Africa previously
* Africa portal
* Geography portal
Bujagali Hydroelectric Power Station
Egyptian Public Works
Kiira Hydroelectric Power Station
Water politics in the
Nalubaale Hydroelectric Power Station
* Orders of magnitude
Vid Flumina , a river of liquid methane and ethane on Saturn's
GEOnet Names Server
* ^ "
Encyclopædia Britannica .
* ^ Amazon Longer Than
Nile River, Scientists Say
* ^ Oloo, Adams (2007). "The Quest for Cooperation in the Nile
Water Conflicts: A Case for Eritrea" (PDF). African Sociological
Review. 11 (1). Retrieved 25 July 2011.
* ^ A B Mohamed Helmy Mahmoud Moustafa Elsanabary"Teleconnection,
Modeling, Climate Anomalies Impact and Forecasting of Rainfall and
Streamflow of the Upper
Canada : University of
Alberta . 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012
* ^ BGN /PCGN . "Romanization System for Amharic Archived 13
February 2013 at the
Wayback Machine .". 1967. Hosted at the National
Geospatial Intelligence Agency , 2013. Accessed 28 Feb 2014.
* ^ See also:
BGN/PCGN romanization .
* ^ The river's outflow from that lake occurs at 12°02′09″N
37°15′53″E / 12.03583°N 37.26472°E / 12.03583;
* ^ "What\'s the
Blue Nile and the White Nile? - Times of India".
The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
* ^ "Nile".
Oxford English Dictionary (3 ed.). Oxford, England:
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press . December 2009.
* ^ A B C " Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "
Nile § Name".
Encyclopædia Britannica . 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
* ^ An overview is given by: Carles Múrcia (2006). Greek :
Νεῖλος : El nom grec del riu Nil pot ser d’origen amazic?
Aula Orientalis 24: 269-292
* ^ "Nile". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved January 20,
* ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Nile".
Encyclopædia Britannica .
19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 695.
* ^ "The
Nile Basin Initiative. 2011. Retrieved 1
* ^ EarthTrends: The Environmental Information
Portal Archived 27
May 2012 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ McLeay, Cam (July 2, 2006). "The Truth About the Source of R.
New Vision . Retrieved August 31, 2011.
* ^ "
Nile River". Archived from the original on 10 January 2007.
Retrieved 5 February 2011.
* ^ "Team Reaches Nile\'s \'True Source\'". BBC News. March 31,
2006. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
* ^ Described in
Joanna Lumley 's Nile, 7 pm to 8 pm, ITV , Sunday
12 August 2011.
* ^ "Journey to the source of the Nile". Telegraph. Retrieved
* ^ Next on Egypt\'s to-do:
Ethiopia and the Nile
Arabic bahr can refer to either seas or large rivers.
* ^ Hurst H.E.; et al. (2011). "The
Nile Basins volume 1 The
Hydrology of the
Blue Nile and Akbara and the Main
Nile to Aswan, with
some Reference to the Projects
Nile control Dept. paper 12" (PDF).
Cairo: Government Printing office.
* ^ J. V. Sutcliffe ">(PDF). IAHS
Special Publication no. 5. p.
161. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 November 2010.
* ^ Robert J. Stern, Mohamed Gamal Abdelsalam: The Origin of the
Great Bend of the
Nile from SIR-C/X-SAR Imaginary. In: Science, New
Series, Vol.274, Issue 5293 (Dec.6,1996), pp.1696-1698
* ^ as per Strabos Geographika book XVII
* ^ Egyptian Dust Plume, Red Sea
* ^ "
River river, Africa". Encyclopedia Britannica.
* ^ Marshall et al., "Late Pleistocene and Holocene environmental
and climatic change from Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile" (PDF).
(247 KB), 2006
* ^ "Two Niles Meet : Image of the Day". earthobservatory.nasa.gov.
2013-04-26. Retrieved 2017-07-31.
* ^ Shahin, Mamdouh (2002). Hydrology and
Water Resources of
Africa. Springer. pp. 276, 287–288. ISBN 1-4020-0866-X . ; online at
* ^ "Sobat River".
Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition.
Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved January 21, 2008.
* ^ Keding, Birgit (2000). "New Data on the Holocene Occupation of
Wadi Howar Region (Eastern Sahara/Sudan)". Studies in African
Archaeology. 7: 89–104.
* ^ Carmignani, Luigi; Salvini, Riccardo; Bonciani, Filippo (2009).
River flow to the Gulf of Sirt during the late Miocene?"
(PDF). Bollettino della Societa Geologica Italiana (Italian Journal of
Geoscience). 128 (2): 403–408. doi :10.3301/IJG.2009.128.2.403 .
* ^ Salvini, Riccardo; Carmignani, Luigi; Francionib, Mirko;
Casazzaa, Paolo (2015). "Elevation modelling and palaeo-environmental
interpretation in the Siwa area (Egypt): Application of SAR
interferometry and radargrammetry to COSMO-SkyMed imagery". Catena.
129: 46–62. doi :10.1016/j.catena.2015.02.017 .
* ^ Although the ancestral
Desert initially developed at
least 7 million years ago, it grew during interglacial periods and
shrank during glacial ones. The growth of the current
about 6,000 years ago . Schuster, Mathieu; et al. (2006). "The age of
Sahara desert" (PDF). Science. 311 (5762): 821–821. doi
* ^ Warren, John (2006). Evaporites:Sediments, Resources and
Hydrocarbons. Berlin: Springer. p. 352. ISBN 3-540-26011-0 .
* ^ Said, R. (1981). The geological evolution of the
Springer Verlag .
* ^ Williams, M.A.J.; Williams, F. (1980). Evolution of
In M.A.J. Williams and H. Faure (eds). The
Sahara and the Nile.
Balkema, Rotterdam, pp 207–224.
* ^ Salama, R.B. (1987). "The evolution of the
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buried saline rift lakes in Sudan". J. African Earth Sciences. 6 (6):
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* ^ Salama, R.B. (1997). Rift Basins of Sudan. African Basins,
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* ^ A B Springer, Lisa; Neil Morris (15 January 2010). Art and
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* ^ A B Chisholm 1911 , p. 698.
Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile
* ^ History of Ethiopia, circa 1622
* ^ Historia geral da
Ethiopia a Alta, 1660
* ^ Mundus Subterraneus, 1664
* ^ The Present State of Egypt, 1678.
* ^ S. Whiteway, editor and translator, The Portuguese Expedition
to Abyssinia in 1441–1543, 1902. (Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus
Reprint, 1967), p. 241.
* ^ Natural History , 5.10
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* ^ Shahin, Mamdouh (2002). Hydrology and
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* ^ "Big Canal To Change Course of
Nile River". October 1933.
Popular Science (short article on top-right of page with map).
* ^ H. A. W. Morrice and W. N. Allan, Planning for the ultimate
hydraulic development of the
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of Civil Engineers, 14, 101, 1959. doi :10.1680/iicep.1959.11963
* ^ M. P. Barnett, Comment on the
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* ^ D. F. Manzer and M. P. Barnett, Analysis by Simulation:
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Maas et al, Design of
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* ^ A B Blue Peace for the Nile, 2009 Archived 8 September 2013 at
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* ^ The
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* ^ Cambanis, Thanassis (25 September 2010). "
Egypt and Thirsty
Neighbors Are at Odds Over Nile". New York Times. Retrieved 25
* ^ National Geographic released a feature film about the
expedition in late 2005 entitled The Longest River.
* ^ They chronicled their adventure with an
IMAX camera and two
handheld video cams, sharing their story in the
IMAX film Mystery of
Nile released in 2005, and in a book of the same title.
* ^ Mark Tanner, Paddling the
Blue Nile in Flood. Retrieved
November 1, 2014
* ^ Dorothy Middleton, ‘Baker , Florence Barbara Maria, Lady
Baker (1841–1916)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,
Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 11 Sept 2015
* Jeal, Tim (2011). Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy
of a Great Victorian Adventure. ISBN 978-0-300-14935-7
* Tvedt, Terje, ed. The
Nile in the Post-Colonial Age:
Conflict and Cooperation Among the
Nile Basin Countries (I.B. Tauris,
2010) 293 pages; studies of the river's finite resources as shared by
multiple nations in the post-colonial era; includes research by
scholars from Burundi, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan,
Tanzania, and Uganda.
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* A Struggle Over the