The River Nile has played an important part in Egyptian history, producing fertile soil, much needed irrigation, and an essential way to transport goods in the past. Considered the primary river of Egypt, the River Nile is a fascinating waterway that is still an essential part of everyday life in Egypt and other countries.
There are many differing opinions as to how long the River Nile is because of the confusion over where the river actually starts and ends. What is clear is that it is an immensely long river, flowing from south to north through eleven countries before reaching the end of its journey at the Mediterranean Sea.
There is an ongoing argument between Brazilians declaring that the Amazon River is the furthest reaching river in the world, while the Egyptians maintain that the River Nile holds the title of the world’s longest river.
In 2006 an expedition of the Nile was undertaken and with the aid of hi-tech mapping equipment it was determined that the Nile measures 4,175 miles long, or 6,719 kilometres.
Current figures from sources such as the US Geological Survey have placed the River Nile as the world’s longest river and have given a figure of 4,132 miles with the Amazon in second place at 4,000 miles.
The 2006 expedition also determined that the true and longest source of the Nile, known as the White Nile, can be found in the Ngungwe forest in Rwanda, and not Lake Victoria in Burundi as previously believed. The Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in Ethiopia, joins the White Nile in Sudan before proceeding northwards.
The River Nile flows past many cities on its journey. These are Cairo, Khartoum, Aswan, Gondokoro, Karnak, and Thebes, also travelling past the town of Alexandria.
Lake Tanganyika once drained into the White Nile, making the river significantly longer by around 870 miles. The Virunga Volcanoes blocked it millions of years ago.