Only the longest river in the world….Actually it’s composed of two rivers called the Blue Nile and White Nile. They later merge to become what is known as the Nile.
So, where does the name come from?
The Nile gets its name from the Greek word "Neilos", which means “River Valley”.
How long is it?
From its major source of Lake Victoria in central Africa, the Nile River flows through the countries of Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. The distance has been clocked at 3,470 miles (5584 km). From its furthest point, the Ruvyironza River in Burundi, the river clocks in at 4,145 miles long (6671 km). It’s basin covers 1,293, 049 square miles (3,349,000 sq km)
What countries does it flow through?
The Nile and its tributaries flow though nine countries. The White Nile flows though Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt. The Blue Nile starts in Ethiopia. Zaire, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi
Who “found” its source?
Well, it seems the Europeans considered the source of the Nile as one of the last great mysteries on earth. That is, until about the mid-nineteenth century, when a series of expeditions brought British and German explorers into the Lake Victoria region for the first time. These explorers included an Englishmen by the name of John Hanning Speke, who reached Lake Victoria in 1858 and Ripon Falls in 1862, and one Sir Samuel White, who sighted Lake Albert in 1864. Not to be outdone, the Germans sent one Georg August Schweinfurth, who explored (1868-1871) the western feeders of the White Nile; and finally, a British-American,Sir Henry Morton Stanley, (who also found David Livingstone and uttered the immortal “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”). In 1875 Stanley sailed around Lake Victoria; in 1889 he traced the Semliki River and reached Lake Edward and the Ruwenzori Range.
What lives there?
Well, for starters, several species of water snakes and various reptiles, most notably, the crocodile, live along the banks of the river. One can also find tortoises that are semiaquatic.
Most of the birds that live in this region are indigenous to the Africa Throughout the region surrounding the Nile River over 250 species of birds have been noted. The more popular of your avian species are ducks, herons, storks, and pelicans. At different times of the year, birds not typically found in the forest have been observed. For example the sea swallows will fly upstream from the Atlantic Ocean.
Not too many mammals call the banks of the Nile home. Mostly, the hippopotamus, and otters live there on a yearly basis. It is however, a stopping over point for many migratory animals as they make their way across Africa.
Which way does it flow?
Unlike most rivers, for the most part, the Nile flows from south to north. Simple explanation = that the path it has taken is downhill in that direction.
So How much water goes through it?
The Nile River's average discharge is about 300 million cubic litres per day. To put this in perspective, volume is measured in cubic feet of water. There are 7.489 gallons that weigh 65.4 pounds in a cubic foot. Noders, I leave it up to you to do the math if you want
When was is dammed?
The first dam on the Nile was called the High Dam and was built in 1902 It was subsequently heightened 1936. The Makwar Dam, now called the Sennar Dam, was built across the Blue Nile south of Khartoum following World War I in order to provide storage water for cotton plantations in the Sudan. A dam at Jabal Awliya was constructed on the White Nile south of Khartoum in 1937. But it was the Aswân High Dam, which opened in the early 1970s, that has changed the ecology and economic role of the Nile the most. Upon its completion, it created one of the world's largest reservoirs, Lake Nasser and allowed the Egyptian government to produce hydroelectric power, control flooding, and minimize droughts. That was on the upside. On the downside it wound up reducing the sedimentation deposits that the floodwaters once brought to the delta and increased the river's salinity. Consequently, the Nile delta has become less fertile, forcing Egyptian farmers to increase the use of chemical fertilizers.
This lack of sedimentation has had other effects, such as erosion of the river's banks. The silt in the floodwaters also fed into the coastal waters of the Mediterranean Sea, feeding the algae and sea-bottom dwellers that in turn fed sardines, shrimp, and other sea creatures. Since the Aswân High Dam's opening, fish and shrimp catches have declined significantly. (I’m reminded of an old commercial that said “It’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.”)