Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Nile...

The Nile is famous as the longest river in the world. The river got its name from the Greek word Neilos, which means valley. The Nile floods the lands in Egypt, leaving behind black sediment. That's why the ancient Egyptians named the river Ar, meaning black.

* 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.

The Nile Crocodile has been a major component of the Egyptian culture and way of life since the first Egyptians settled along the fertile banks of the Nile. Most Nile Crocodiles are approximately 4 meters in length, although some have been reported as longer. The animals make their nests along the banks of the Nile River, where the female may lay up to 60 eggs at one time. Some three months later the babies are born and are taken to the water by their mother. They will remain with her for at least two years before reaching maturity.

Today, exotic and sophisticated cities like Cairo grace the banks of the Nile River, as they have for thousands of years.

Ancient Egypt could not have existed without the river Nile. Since rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt, the floods provided the only source of moisture to sustain crops. Every year, heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian highlands, sent a torrent of water that overflowed the banks of the Nile. When the floods went down it left thick rich mud (black silt) which was excellent soil to plant seeds in after it had been ploughed.

The ancient Egyptians could grow crops only in the mud left behind when the Nile flooded. So they all had fields all along the River Nile.

Melting snow and heavy summer rain in the Ethiopian Mountains sent a torrent of water causing the banks of the River Nile in Egypt to overflow on the flat desert land.

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