Nile River Facts and Information

InformAfrica – The River Nile, stretches across half of Africa, flows northwards from the tropical mountains and forests of the Equator to the temperate Mediterranean Sea. Read our facts and information on Nile river.

How long is the Nile River?

It is Africa’s longest river, reaching 4184 miles from the lakes that feed it and the streams that feed those lakes. Of Egypt, the land with which it is most closely asso­ciated and which the Nile makes fruitful for the last thousand miles of its course, the ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote that it is an acquired country, ‘the gift of the river’.

The Nile stretches north for approximately 4,000 miles from East Africa to the Mediterranean, and is 4184 miles long. Photo: kfosterwg

So it is; but the river itself is, in a sense, the gift of man. ‘Help yourself,’ runs an Egyptian proverb, ‘and the Nile will help you.’ The Nile as we see it today is the product of peoples who have been helping themselves for the past 5000 years.

It is a supreme gift, not only of the equatorial rains, but of man with his inherent adaptability, industry, inventiveness, courage, curiosity and sense of adventure. During the millennium preceding the dynastic history of Egypt, which began around 3200 BC, the ending of the Ice Age gradually dried up the grass­lands which bordered the Nile, transforming the pastures of herdsmen and hunters into waterless desert.

Yet the river itself remained, sprawling through this desert, overflowing its banks into jungle swamps and waterlogged marshes where hippo­potamuses and crocodiles flourished and vegetation ran rife and unproductive.

Some evaded the challenge, taking the line of least resistance. Their progeny survive among the Nilotic tribesmen of the Southern Sudan, primi­tive men still living in a natural environment.

Here, in a tropical region perennially watered by rain, is a wilderness of swamps known as the Sudd, in which the river loses half its waters. Traversing a labyrinth of streams, inlets and lakes, its main channels have no fixed banks, but pass between floating masses of vegetable matter-‘floes’ of matted papyrus and reeds, forever shifting this way and that to block the river’s course.

Things You Should Know About Nile River

  • Nile river is 4184 miles long.
  • The Nile River’s average discharge is about 300 million cubic metres per day.
  • Crocodiles are very common along the banks of the Nile River.
  • Fishing Eagles are a common bird along the Nile.
  • The Nile stretches north for approximately 4,000 miles from East Africa to the Mediterranean.

Further more on River Nile…

Haven’t we heard of the phrase from early childhood that Egypt is the “Gift of Nile”? Yes it is a fact that Egypt would not have inhabitable in the absence of River Nile.

The Nile flooded and still floods the land in Egypt and deposits black sediment, which is why Egyptians called it “Ar” which means “black”. The river was named Nile since there is a Semitic word “Nahal” and then it was later named “Neilos” which meant River Valley. The Egyptians rightly termed it as “River of Life” since it has infused life not only in the land of Egypt but also its culture and civilization. The Egyptian Civilization grew up on the banks of Nile as the river deposits extremely fertile soil, which provided soil for the Egyptians to grow food crops, which sustained them amidst the desert. This has been repeated time and again and Nile has time and again proved itself to be the life giving force of Egypt.

As we know most of the civilization come up along the banks of one river or the other primarily because the river provides drinking water for people, which is one of the essentials for human life after oxygen.

In this photo: Sun sets over the Nile River, which average discharge is about 300 million cubic metres per day.

Interesting Facts about River Nile

  • The Nile originates in Burundi, which is located South of the Equator and then flows across Northeastern Africa, finally crossing Egypt and then drains into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It is one of the longest rivers in the world; it used to be the longest but recent studies suggest that Amazon River can be longer than Nile. The length of the river is approximately 6695 km and the river has two tributaries.
  • Only 22% of the river passes through Egypt, the other countries through which Nile passes are Sudan, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zaire, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
  • The cities that Nile flows past are Cairo, Khartoum, Gondokoro, Aswan, Karnak, Thebes and the town of Alexandria.
  • River Nile has two tributaries namely the Blue Nile and the White Nile; the volume of water of Nile is mostly determined by the Blue Nile, which contributes more than 50% of the water of the Nile River but then fertility wise, both the tributaries contribute considerably. In fact White Nile is called so because it appears white due to the presence of silt. White Nile originates at Lake Victoria and then the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, joins in Sudan and proceeds northwards.
  • The source of the river is debatable since it is commonly known that the source of the river is Lake Victoria, which is the biggest lake in Africa, but it is observed that on the northern side of the lake there is a waterfall called Ripon Falls, which has a small opening and seemingly that is where the water in the River Nile comes from but then this cannot be held as the ultimate truth since there are many rivers that flow into Lake Victoria therefore which one of these or if all of them are the sources of The Nile. Presently River Kagera and its tributary, which is called Ruvubu whose headwaters are in Burundi, are considered to be the source of the River Nile.
  • Nile also played an important in the building if the famous Pyramids since the blocks of stone, which were used to make these pyramids, were actually transported from the source to the site with the help of Nile.

If you have read the quote carefully it also mentions about the “blasts of evil” associated with the river, by evils probably Shelley meant the risks of flood that Egyptians initially had and now it has converted to greater risks after the construction of the Aswan Dam. Nile is also home to many deadly crocodiles, which are in abundance in the river since the female crocodiles lay approximately 60 eggs at a time but in spite of all the evils Nile still remains the ever-generous endowment of nature.

Credits: Poushali Ganguly, kKosterwg on edublogs for their contributions on Nile River. 

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