Nile River

Stretching for approximately 6,695 km across 10 different countries, the Nile River is the longest river in the world and considered the Father of African Rivers. This ancient river begins in the mountains of Burundi and flows northward through Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan before draining into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile derives its name from the Greek word Neilos and Latin word Nilus. In Greek mythology, Nilus was the son of titans Oceanus and Tethys and was a river god who reigned of the River Nile. Another possible etymology derives the name from the Semitic word Nahal, which means “river valley”.

In ancient Egypt, its rippling stretches played a vital role in the development of Egyptian civilization as it provided a source of sustenance and building materials. The fertile land surrounding the river was used to cultivate crops such as wheat, flax and papyrus. These crops became a staple amongst Egyptians and was also traded throughout the Middle East, thereby securing their diplomatic relationships with other countries and helping the country thrive economically.

In modern times, this ancient river still provides Egyptians living along the banks with a source of sustenance, and enables them to inhabit the otherwise hostile Sahara. The Nile is also a source of water to the other countries lining its lackadaisical expanses.

While the Nile is a crucial source of water to populous cities and agriculture, it is also home to a number of animal and plant species. Hippopotamus, the Nile Crocodile and a variety of fish are common in the Southern parts of the river, while the upper regions of the river sustain plant species such as water hyancinth and papyrus.

The Nile River is a remarkable piece of Egypt’s history. The enduring river gleams beneath the sweltering North African sun, an artefact from the cradle of civilization that birthed iconic monuments and an alluring ancient mysticism. Experience the Nile’s ethereal beauty on a Cape to Cairo journey with Rovos Rail.