The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world but in 2007 this title is given to the Amazon river. It is 6,853 km (4,258 miles) long. The Nile is an “international” river as its water resources are shared by eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda,Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.
The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the 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 through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet just north of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
The northern section of the river flows north almost entirely through the Sudanese desert to Egypt, then ends in a large delta and empties into the 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.
The great River Nile is certainly one of the many natural wonders only found in Africa. It offers great mysteries that, for centuries, have put the African continent on the global map. For thousands of years, Egypt has relied on the River Nile to sustain her economy.
A number of dams have been constructed along the River Nile for water supply in the neighboring towns and cities. Lately, however, the Nile has caused serious dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt following Ethiopia’s plan to construct a mega hydroelectric dam on the waterway.
Egypt has relentlessly criticized Ethiopia’s current project, even threatening to go to war with Ethiopia to protect its lifeline. At the moment, the two governments are currently involved in talks as they seek a lasting solution to the stalemate.
Over the years, manmade mishaps such as encroachment and water pollution have taken a huge toll on this great waterway, but its wonders are still intact. Here are just a few of the little-known secrets of the River Nile.