Nile River

The world-famous Nile River is the longest river in the world cutting across several African countries in central and North Africa. Whether by length or by width, Africa has a couple of water bodies to represent her in each regard. While Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest, the Nile river is the longest; both water-bodies seem to have more in common than we know. Let’s take a look at some of the major facts about the Nile River under the following Subheadings.

Map, Geographical Location


The most famous River Nile is not strictly defined by a particular geographical space since it lies across several African nations. From the northeast, the lower parts of Egypt, it flows through the deserts and into the Mediterranean Sea. River Nile serves as Egypt’s major water source and flows all year round. At Khartoum, the Nile separates into 2 different major watercourses- the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The Nile river runs through 4 African cities- Cairo in Egypt, Jinja in Uganda, Khartoum in Sudan and Juba of the Republic of South Sudan. But generally lies across 11 African Countries- Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.

 See Also: Congo River Map, Location, Depth, Animals, Quick Facts

Source, Length And Width

With a length of 6,853 km, it has become the longest river in the world. However, Lake Victoria has been speculated to be the source of the great river while on the other hand, Biblical references clearly show that the Nile river had existed from time immemorial, right from creation, with strong affiliations to Egypt. It is arguable though that the Nile river started from Jinja in Uganda. There has not been a conclusive detail about the starting point of the river. However, it runs for as long as from lower parts of Egypt, to Northeast/Central Africa, up into the Mediterranean sea and pours its water to over nine countries. The average Water level is 8 to 11metres deep while its width after Aswan is in average 2.8 km. The widest part of the Nile is at Edfu, with 7.5 km in width, and the smallest part in width is at Silwa Gorge, near Aswan, being only 350 meters wide.


Crocodiles at the Nile

Depending on the area and feeder course, the Nile is home to crocodiles, hippos and fishes. The Nile has also made possible the erection of the 364 ft tall Aswan Dam; while the Nile delta is measured to be around 100-160 km and runs through a distance of 149 miles.

Historical Significance


Aside the significant purpose of being a vital source of food and water for the ancient Egyptian people; the legendary river played a role in the spirituality and development of the revered Egyptian civilization. On the domestic aspect, the river sustained both lives, plants and livestock; the lands surrounding the Nile benefits from the river whenever it overflows its banks, thereby making the soil fertile from the silt deposit. By extension, this positive occurrence boosted their commercial status- the fertile land favoured the cultivation of their cash crops, which were also traded and transported on the Nile as well. As their trade grew in leaps and bounds, so also was their global recognition as a world power; and their interaction with other prominent civilizations; this, in turn, translated into a vibrant economy.

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Spiritually, the Nile is rather known as one of the sacred locations in Egypt as most of the sacred Egyptian monuments are located by the Nile. As stern believers in the concept of afterlife, it is believed that the east location of the Nile is perfect for transporting the dead to eternal life, thus, such monument as temples and tombs of their emperors and deities are situated there, at the banks of the Nile river- “the valley of kings” at Luxor, west of the Nile.


The Nile

River Nile is a great tourism asset, and as a naturally endowed advantage, serves a purpose in Egypt’s tourism- the route of the Nile takes you through some of the prominent Egyptian monuments, plus the water-body has been explored to suit tourism, thereby accommodating the operation of shows, cruise ships and boats on the Nile. From the Nile falls in Ethiopia, to all the African countries it lies across, tourists enjoy sightseeing and sailing of the river which is always surrounded by either green vegetation or desserts in cases of the north region- Egypt and Sudan. The Nile is one of Egypt’s tourist attraction on demand.

Current Condition

The desert meets the Nile at Aswan

The State of this famous water body depends on the individual nations that it lies across, but with a particular interest in Egypt, the Nile has been threatened by a number of factors in recent times, warranting a possible pollution of this indispensable water source. Currently, there is a panic about contracting waterborne disease form this age-old natural wonder, most probably from the industrialization and exploration of the Nile. Coupled with this unpleasant speculation, farmers who benefited from their farms on the delta of the Nile have discovered a high salinity content which is not favourable for their soil and crops in the long run. This tendency has been traced to the contact with the Mediterranean Sea. In any case, the Egyptian dam constructions have helped to check erosion as well as provide electricity for the nation. The gentle flowing Nile in Egypt has been a long time source of irrigation, farming and fishing.

 Quick Facts About The River Nile

  • The Nile River is the longest river in Africa and in the world with about 6,853 km in length
  • The river began flowing northwards into Egypt about five million years. The river has created a fertile green valley in the desert and has helped ancient Egyptians in producing food for themselves and their animals.
  •  The flow of the river northwards has nothing to do with its location on the equator, rather, it flows north due to geographic features going from higher to lower in the area.
  • The Nile river has a strong historical impact on the ancient Egyptian civilization. Most of the historical sites of Ancient Egypt are situated along the banks of the river, including cities such as Luxor and Cairo.
  • The Nile floods every year between June and September, in Egypt called this season called akhet.
  • The rivers average discharge is approximately 300 million cubic meters per day.
  • The Nile river flows through nine countries which are Egypt, Zaire, Tanzanian, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya.
  •  Ancient Egyptians believed that the River Nile was a passway from life to death to afterlife. They believed that people’s spirit travelled down the Nile after they perished.
  • Major dams built on the Nile include the Aswan High Dam, Roseires Dam, Owen Falls Dam, and Sennar Dam.
  • Activities such as water rafting, bungee jumping, Kayaking, boat rides as well as fishing are done at the Nile river.
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