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River Nile Fascinating Facts

River Nile Fascinating Facts

What do you know about the River Nile? Do you know where it is? How long it is? Why is the River Nile so important? Find out the answers to these questions and much more by reading PlanBee’s Facts about the River Nile for KS2!

Where is the River Nile?

The River Nile is located in the continent of Africa. Most people think of Egypt when they think of the River Nile, but this part is just a small section of the river. It runs through eleven different countries!

Map showing the countries that the River Nile flows through
As well as Egypt, the River Nile runs through Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Eritrea.

How long is the River Nile?

The River Nile was once thought to be the longest river in the world at 6,695 km long, however recent research suggests that the Amazon river, in South America, is slightly longer. There have been many disagreements about the true source of the Nile (meaning where the Nile starts). Most people now agree that the furthest distance from the mouth (the end) of the Nile is the small streams in Burundi that feed into Lake Victoria. 

Lake Victoria in Uganda
Lake Victoria in Uganda. This lake is bigger than the entire country of Ireland!


There are three different sections of the River Nile:

  • The White Nile is a tributary of the Nile. This means that it feeds into the main Nile. It starts at Lake Victoria.
  • The Blue Nile is another tributary of the Nile. It starts in Lake Tana in Ethiopia.
  • The White Nile and the Blue Nile meet in Sudan to form the main River Nile.


What is the River Nile like?

The River Nile flows from south to north. It starts at high ground and flows downhill in a northern direction towards the Mediterranean Sea. There are lots of famous waterfalls along the River Nile, including the Blue Nile Falls in Ethiopia and the Murchison Falls in Uganda.

Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia
Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia


After the White Nile and the Blue Nile meet in Sudan, the main river has a series of six rapids, called cataracts.

By the time the River Nile reaches Egypt’s capital city, Cairo, the river flows too slowly to carry the sediment along with it. The sediment then settles on the river bed and eventually forms a landform called a delta. The V-shaped landform at the mouth of the River Nile is the Nile Delta. 

Map showing the Nile Delta in Egypt
Map showing the Nile Delta


Why is the River Nile important?

As many as 300 million people depend upon the river Nile to survive. In Egypt, around 95% of the country’s 102 million people live along the banks of the Nile and depend on it for drinking, washing, farming and many other things. The Nile Delta has the most fertile land in Egypt thanks to all the sediment that is deposited there. This means that many of Egypt’s biggest and most important towns and cities have developed on the delta. Nearly half of all the people who live in Egypt live in the delta region. Without the Nile, Egypt would be just desert, which is very difficult to live in.

Satellite image of the Nile Delta
Satellite image showing green, fertile land around the Delta, and the desert surrounding it.


The ancient Egyptians and the River Nile 

It was thanks to the River Nile that the ancient Egyptians became one of the first great civilisations on Earth. Most of the historical sites from ancient Egypt are located along the banks of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians used the Nile for growing crops, drinking water for both people and animals, washing, cooking, transportation and many other things.

The River Nile flooded every year between June and September. After the flood died down, it left a thick, black mud behind which was excellent for growing crops. It was thanks to the annual floods that the ancient Egyptian civilisation was able to survive and thrive.

The pyramids at Giza during the flooding of the Nile
The pyramids of Giza at the time of the floods


Read our Ancient Egypt fact blog


The River Nile today

The annual flooding of the Nile no longer happens because of the Aswan High Dam. This was built in 1970 to help regulate the flooding of the Nile. When the Nile flooded, sometimes there was a lot of water which was very good for crops. Other years, there would be much less water which meant crops didn’t grow so well and there would be a famine. The Aswan High Dam was built so that amount of water flowing into the River Nile in Egypt could be controlled.

There are many major towns and cities along the River Nile, including Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Khartoum. These cities can now use modern methods for getting water from the river to people’s homes and businesses. Some farmers still use traditional methods to water their fields, but others now use modern electrical pumps.

Egypt's capital city, Cairo
Cairo, the capital city of Egypt, today


The River Nile has lots of wildlife, including the famous Nile crocodile, turtles, lizards and even a few hippos! Both locals and tourists use the Nile for lots of fun activities such as cruises, sailing and white water rafting.

A Nile crocodile
A Nile crocodile


We hope you have enjoyed reading these River Nile Facts for KS2. You might like to have a go at our FREE River Nile Word Search!

If you are a teacher looking for ready-to-teach resources, you might be interested in our River Nile Geography scheme for Years 3 and 4, or our Investigating Rivers Geography scheme for Years 5 and 6, which includes a lesson all about the River Nile.


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