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White Nile
A steel bridge spans the White Nile at Juba, Sudan
Cities Jinja, Juba, Khartoum
Source White Nile
 - coordinates 2°16′55.92″S 29°19′52.32″E / 2.2822°S 29.3312°E / -2.2822; 29.3312
White Nile marked with the Blue Nile

The White Nile (Arabic: النيل الأبيض, transliterated: an-Nīl al-Ābyadˤ) is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile, 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, "White Nile" refers to the approximately 3700 kilometers (2300 miles) 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 discovery of the source of the White Nile thus came to symbolize European penetration of unknown jungle.


Headwaters of Lake Victoria

The Rusumo Falls border crossing over the Kagera River. Tanzania is on the left, Rwanda on the right.

The most distant source of the waters of Lake Victoria is the Luvironza River in Burundi, which flows into the Rurubu River near the northern Burundian town of Kayanza.[1] The Ruvuvu in turn flows into the Kagera River, the most notable feature of which is Rusumo Falls. On 28-29 April 1994, 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 "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.

In Uganda

Rafters flipping in Bujagali falls near the mouth of the Victoria Nile.

The river arising from Lake Victoria is known as the Victoria Nile. It arises just outside Jinja. There is a monument at the spot. After Nalubaale Power Station and Kiira Power Station at the mouth, the river goes through Bujagali falls (location of Bujagali Power Station) about 15 kilometers downstream from Jinja. It then flows north and westwards through Uganda, feeding into Lake Kyoga in the center of the country and then out west. At Karuma Falls, the river sweeps under Karuma Bridge (2°14′45.40″N 32°15′9.05″E / 2.245944°N 32.2525139°E / 2.245944; 32.2525139) 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 750MW hydropower project several kilometers north of the bridge, which is scheduled for completion in 2016.[2] The World Bank had approved to fund a smaller 200MW power plant but Uganda opted for a bigger project, which the Ugandans will fund internally.[citation needed] Just before entering Lake Albert, the river is compressed into a passage seven meters in width at Murchison Falls, marking the entry into the Western branch of the Great Rift Valley. 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. The river separates the West Nile sub-region of Uganda from the rest of the nation. While a bridge passes over the Albert Nile near its inlet in Nebbi District, there is no other bridge over this section. A powered ferry connects the roads between Adjumani and Moyo, but navigation of the river is otherwise done by small boat or canoe.

In Sudan

The river continues north to Nimule where it enters Sudan and becomes known as the Bahr al Jabal ("River of the Mountain", sometimes Mountain Nile). 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 eventually makes its way to Lake No, where it merges with the Bahr el Ghazal and forms the White Nile. An anabranch river called Bahr el Zeraf flows out of the Bahr al Jabal and flows through the Sudd to eventually join the White Nile. The Bahr al Jabal passes through Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, and the southernmost navigable point on the Nile river system, and then Kodok, the site of the 1898 Fashoda Incident that marked an end to the "Scramble for Africa". The river lends its name to the state of White Nile before merging with the larger Blue Nile at Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and forming the Nile.

See also

Notes and references



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