|White Nile (Bahr al Jabal)|
|Victora Nile, Albert Nile|
|Countries||Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo|
|Cities||Jinja, Juba, Khartoum|
|Length||3,700 km (2,299 mi)|
|Basin||1,800,000 km2 (694,984 sq mi)|
|- average||878 m3/s (31,006 cu ft/s)|
The White Nile (Arabic: النيل الأبيض an nīl al 'abyaḍ) is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile from Egypt, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal Rivers.
In the wider sense, the term White Nile refers to the approximately 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi) of rivers draining from Lake Victoria into the White Nile proper. It may also, depending on the speaker, refer to the headwaters of Lake Victoria.
The 19th century search by Europeans for the source of the Nile was mainly focused on the White Nile, which disappeared into the depths of what was then known as 'Darkest Africa'. The White Nile's true source was not discovered until 1937, when the German explorer Dr. Burkhart Waldecker traced it to a stream in Rutovu at the base of Mount Kikizi.
When in flood the Sobat tributary carries a large amount of sediment, adding greatly to the White Nile's color.
Headwaters of Lake Victoria
The Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba, is the longest feeder river for Lake Victoria, although sources do not agree on which is the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself.
The source of the Nile can be considered to be either the Ruvyironza, which emerges in Bururi Province, Burundi, or the Nyabarongo, which flows from Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda. The two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo Falls on the Rwanda-Tanzania border.
The falls are notable because of an event on 28–29 April 1994, when 250,000 Rwandans crossed the bridge at Rusumo Falls into Ngara, Tanzania in 24 hours, in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called "the largest and fastest refugee exodus in modern times". The Kagera forms part of the Rwanda–Tanzania and Tanzania–Uganda borders before flowing into Lake Victoria.
The river arising from Lake Victoria is known as the Victoria Nile. The place where it arises, just outside Jinja, is marked by a monument. After Nalubaale Power Station and Kiira Power Station at the mouth, the river goes through Bujagali Falls (location of Bujagali Power Station) about 15 kilometres downstream from Jinja.
It then flows north and westwards through Uganda, feeding into Lake Kyoga in the centre of the country and then out west. At Karuma Falls, the river sweeps under Karuma Bridge ( ) at the southeastern corner of Murchison Falls National Park.
During much of the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army, Karuma Bridge, built in 1963 to help the cotton industry, was the key stop on the way to Gulu, where vehicles would gather in convoy before being provided with a military escort for the final run north. In 2009, the Government of Uganda announced plans to construct a 750-MW hydropower project several kilometres north of the bridge, which is scheduled for completion in 2016.
The World Bank had approved to fund a smaller 200-MW power plant, but Uganda opted for a bigger project, which the Ugandans will fund internally. Just before entering Lake Albert, the river is compressed into a passage seven metres in width at Murchison Falls, marking the entry into the western branch of the East African Rift. The river flows into Lake Albert opposite the Blue Mountains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The river exiting Lake Albert to the north is known as the Albert Nile. It separates the West Nile sub-region of Uganda from the rest of the country. A bridge passes over the Albert Nile near its inlet in Nebbi District, but no other bridge over this section has been built. A powered ferry connects the roads between Adjumani and Moyo: navigation of the river is otherwise done by small boat or canoe.
From Nimule to Khartoum
The river continues north to Nimule, where it enters South Sudan and becomes known as the Bahr al Jabal ("Mountain River" or "River of the Mountain"). Bahr al Jabal was the former name of the state of Central Equatoria.
The Bahr al Jabal then winds through rapids before entering the Sudan plain and the vast swamp of the Sudd. It makes its way to Lake No, where it merges with the Bahr el Ghazal and there forms the White Nile. An anabranch river called Bahr el Zeraf flows out of the Bahr al Jabal at and flows through the Sudd, to eventually join the White Nile.
The Bahr al Jabal passes through Juba, the capital of South Sudan, which is the southernmost navigable point on the Nile river system, and then to Kodok, the site of the 1898 Fashoda Incident that marked an end to the Scramble for Africa.
Notes and references
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to White Nile.|
- "Sobat River". Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- McLeay, cam (2006-07-02). "The truth about the source of R. Nile". New Vision. Retrieved 2011-04-04.
- "Nile River". Retrieved 2011-02-05.
- BBC News (2006-03-31). "Team reaches Nile's 'true source'". Retrieved 2011-04-04.
- Karuma Power Station to cost US$1.2 billion
- "Nile" in the Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. 19. 1911. Hosted at Wikisource.
- The Arabic word bahr can refer to either a sea or a large river.