- Two main rivers that flow into the River Nile
The River Nile in Egypt is about 6,670 km (4,160 miles) in length and is the longest river in Africa and in the world. Although it is generally associated with Egypt, only 22% of the Nile’s course runs through Egypt.
Its basin includes parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Sudan, and the cultivated part of Egypt. Its most distant source is the Kagera River in Burundi.
About River Nile in Egypt
The name Nile is derived from the Greek Neilos (Latin: Nilus), which probably originated from the Semitic root naḥal, meaning a valley or a river valley and hence, by an extension of the meaning, a river. The fact that the River Nile in Egypt—unlike other great rivers known to them—flowed from the south northward and was in flood at the warmest time of the year was an unsolved mystery to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.
The ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur (Coptic: Iaro), “Black,” in allusion to the colour of the sediments carried by the river when it is in flood. Nile mud is black enough to have given the land itself its oldest name, Kem or Kemi, which also means “black” and signifies darkness.
Perhaps no river on Earth has captured the human imagination quite like the River Nile in Egypt. From stories of Pharaohs and man-eating crocodiles to the discovery of the Rosetta stone, it was here, along the river’s fertile banks, that one of the world’s most remarkable civilizations — Ancient Egypt — was born around 3000 B.C. The River Nile was not only the source of life for the ancient Egyptians, but is still so today for the millions of people living along its banks.
Known as both the “Father of Life” and the “Mother of All Men,” the Nile was the center of life in Ancient Egypt. In the ancient Egyptian language, the Nile was called Ḥ’pī or Iteru, meaning “river.” The Ancient Egyptians also called the river Ar or Aur, which means “black,” in reference to the black silt left behind after the yearly flooding.
The River Nile in Egypt was central to the Ancient Egyptians rise to wealth and power. Since rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt, the Nile River and its yearly floodwaters offered the people a fertile oasis for rich agriculture.
The Nile is associated with many gods and goddesses, all of whom the Egyptians believed were deeply intertwined with the blessings and curses of the land, weather, culture and abundance of the people. They believed the gods were intimately involved with the people and could help them in all facets of their lives.
In some myths, the Nile was considered a manifestation of the god Hapi who blessed the land with abundance, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Isis, the goddess of the Nile and the “Giver of Life,” was believed to have taught the people how to farm and work the land.
The water god Khnum, who ruled over all forms of water, even the lakes and rivers in the underworld, was believed to be in charge of the amount of silt that flooded the river banks every year. In later dynasties, Khnum branched out to become the god of rebirth and creation as well.
The source of the River Nile in Egypt is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria. Much of Lake Victoria is surrounded by mountains with streams tumbling down into the lake.
The largest tributary of Lake Victoria is the Kagera river. The Kagera and its tributary the Ruvubu, with its headwaters in Burundi, is now considered to be the true source of the Nile. It is from here that the Nile is measured as the world’s longest river.
Two main rivers that flow into the River Nile
The White Nile, which originates at Lake Victoria and the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. These rivers meet in Sudan and then go on their long journey northwards towards the sea.
The White Nile is a lot bigger than the Blue Nile, but because of losses along the way the it only contributes about 15% to the flow of the combined Nile. The Blue Nile, rising in Ethiopia, contributes about 85% to the flow of the Nile that passes through Egypt to the Mediterranean.