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10 Awesome Facts About the River Nile

Think you know the River Nile? See if you know all ten facts in our awesome list!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:ย  November 21st 2022

You probably know the River Nile as the longest river in Egypt - you know, that place with the pyramids and the mummies. But there's a lot more to it than that! Find out everything about the Nile in our fun fact list! Then hop over to our fun Ancient Egypt Facts and our spooky mummy facts!

1. It runs through 11 countries

The river is most associated with Egypt, but it actually runs through ELEVEN countries in Africa - Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan.

2. It MIGHT be the longest river in the world...

...but it also might not be! The Nile is is around 4,132 miles long (about 6,650 kilometres), so it's definitely the longest river in Africa. But some scientists think the Amazon river in South America may be longer. It's tricky to measure a river!

3. There's more than one Nile

There are two major tributaries that flow into the Nile! A tributary is a smaller river than goes into a larger river, and the Nile's are known as the White Nile (which starts in South Sudan) and the Blue Nile (which starts in Ethiopia).

4. The Nile was VERY important to ancient Egyptians

Back in the olden days rivers were really important to people. They allowed fast transport for one thing - before trains and cars the fastest and easiest way to travel was on water. The Nile did this, but it also provided fresh water to people, and most importantly, it let people farm. Egypt is very dry so it's not an ideal place to grow crops, but every August the Nile would flood and this made the land farmable. This meant the ancient Egyptians could grow food!

5. It doesn't flood any more

The Aswan Dam was built between 1960 and 1970 to stop the flooding in the Nile River basin. This is also good for modern Egyptians as it provides hydroelectricity (electricity powered by the movement of water), and it allows them to control the flooding to make sure farmlands are perfect for farming - the annual flood was good, but it could be unpredictable and sometimes meant too much or too little water flowed into the basin.

6. The Nile is as important as ever

More than 95% of the population of Egypt lives in or near the river basin - that's almost 100 million people!

7. It's a wildlife sanctuary

The Nile is home to lots of wildlife species, including birds, fish, snakes, hippos, and most famous of all - the Nile Crocodile! This magnificent beast is Africa's largest crocodile, growing as large as 16 feet long!

8. Your bedsheets might be from the Nile!

On of Egypt's most popular exports is Egyptian cotton, which is historically grown along the banks of the Nile and is considered one of the best cottons available.

9. The ancient Egyptians believed it led to the afterlife

The ancient Egyptians had a lot of beliefs about the afterlife, and one was that the river Nile was the path between life and death. The pyramids are actually tombs, and are built on the west side of the river. Ancient Egyptians believed that the west = death, as the sun sets in the west.

10. It's the site of a festival!

Wafaa El-Nil is a festival held every August to celebrate the historical flooding of the Nile. People prepare ancient-style boats, dress up in colourful clothes and sail the river dancing, scattering flowers, and thanking the river for its loyalty!