The Nile River is not only the longest river in Africa, but it’s the longest river in the world. It was a really important part of Ancient Egyptian life, where it gave them food, transport, building materials and more. Read on to find out all about this amazing river.
What you need to know about the Nile River
The length of the Nile River is a whopping 6650km in length. That’s about 400km longer than the mighty Amazon River.
The Nile River is in Africa and even though people really think of it as belonging to Egypt it goes through many countries including Kenya, Eritrea, Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia. Who would have thought that?
- The Nile River played a huge part in Ancient Egypt. Most of Ancient Egypt’s historical sites are along the banks of the Nile River, including cities such as Luxor and Cairo.
- In 2004, the White Nile Expedition was the first to steer their way along the entire length of this massive river. They started out in Uganda and finished in Rosetta. It took 4 months and 2 weeks to complete. That is one mighty journey!
- The Nile Delta, which is the mouth of a river that forms where it drains into the sea, is in Northern Egypt. It goes into the Mediterranean Sea. It is around 160 km in length and is about 240 km of coastline. There’s heaps of good stuff in the soil here, so this area has been farmed for years and years.
Around 40 million people, which are half of Egypt’s population, live in the Nile Delta region. Wow, the land must be good here!
The famous Rosetta stone was found in the Nile Delta in the city of Rosetta In 1787. This Ancient Egyptian artefact (or object) was a major reason why we understand so much about Egyptian hieroglyphics today. That would be very cool to see don’t you think?
The Nile River was known for its flooding and then its periods of drought. The one good thing about the floods was that it left behind perfect soil to grow their crops again. They then built the Aswan High Dam in 1970 to help control the flooding of the Nile River and cities.
- Want to know where the name of the river came from? Well it comes from the Greek word ‘neilos’ which means ‘river’.
- Without the Nile River, the Ancient Egyptians could quite possibly never have become as powerful, or have been one of the greatest civilisations in history. They relied on it for their wealth and power.
- The Ancient Egyptians called the river ‘Ar’ or ‘Aur’ which means ‘black’. Now why in the world would they name it that? Well each time the river flooded it left black sediment along the river banks!
- If you want to find the largest crocodiles in Africa, then the Nile River is the place to go.
You will see loads of animals around the river including those rather large crocodiles, Nile monitors, frogs, mongooses, turtles, tortoises, hippopotamus, wildebeest, baboons, and over three hundred species of birds. Wow, you can go nature watching.
- The river is a big part of getting around, especially during the flood season when they can’t use any roads.
- The most important thing the Nile gave to the Ancient Egyptians was fertile land. Most of Egypt is desert, but along the Nile River the soil was perfect for growing crops. The three most important crops were wheat, flax, and papyrus.
- The Nile River also gave the Ancient Egyptians loads of building materials. From the mud they would make bricks and then build homes, walls and buildings.
This is amazing. The Egyptians built their calendars around the Nile River. They had three seasons which were called Akhet, where the river would flood, Peret, the growing season, and Shemu the harvest season.
Fun Facts about the River Nile
- That awesome black soil they got from the Nile River was called the ‘Gift of the Nile’ by the Ancient Egyptians.
- The Egyptians measured the height of the annual flood using a Nilometer. This helped them to see how good the crops would be that year.
- The cause of the flood each year was heavy rains and melting snow to the south near the source of the Nile. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the flood was caused by the tears of the goddess Isis, as she cried for her dead husband Osiris.
The Nile River is certainly one important river and sounds like a cool place to go and visit with so much to see!