Nile River

Nile is the longest river in the world at 6,825 kilo meters or 4,130 miles. It is a great natural resource, which if harnessed properly will give Ethiopia the long awaited opportunity for growth and self-sufficiency of its people.

The Blue Nile (Amharic: ዓባይ; transliterated: ʿAbbay but pronounced Abbai, Arabic: النيل الأزرق‎ an-Nīl al-Azraq) is a river originating at Lake Tana in North West Ethiopia. With the White Nile, the river is one of the two major tributaries of the Nile. The Blue Nile is considered holy by many, and is believed to be the River Gihon of the Bible mentioned as flowing out of the Garden of Eden in Genesis Chapter 2.

According to materials published by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, the Blue Nile has a total length of 1,450 kilometres (900 mi), of which 800 km (500 mi) are inside Ethiopia. The Blue Nile flows generally south from Lake Tana and then west across Ethiopia and northwest into Sudan.

Within 30 kilometres (19 mi) of its source at Lake Tana, the river enters a canyon about 400 kilometres (250 mi) long. This gorge is a tremendous obstacle for travel and communication from the north half of Ethiopia to the southern half. The power of the Blue Nile may best be appreciated at Tis Issat Falls, which are 45 metres (148 ft) high, located about 40 kilometres (25 mi) downstream of Lake Tana.

Although there are several feeder streams that flow into Lake Tana, the sacred source of the river is generally considered to be a small spring at Gish Abbai, situated at an altitude of approximately 2,744 metres (9,003 ft). This stream, known as the Lesser Abay, flows north into Lake Tana. Other affluents of this lake include, in clockwise order from Gorgora, the Magech, the Northern Gumara, the Reb, the Southern Gumara and the Kilte.

Lake Tana’s outflow then flows some 30 kilometres before plunging over the Tis Issat Falls. The river then loops across northwest Ethiopia through a series of deep valleys and canyons into Sudan, by which point it is only known as the Blue Nile.

There are numerous tributaries of the Abay between Lake Tana and the Sudanese border. Those on its left bank, in downstream order, include the Wanqa River, the Bashilo River, the Walaqa River, the Wanchet River, the Jamma River, the Muger River, the Guder River, the Agwel River, the Nedi River, the Didessa River and the Dabus River. Those on the right side, also in downstream order, include the Handassa, Tul, Abaya, Sade, Tammi, Cha, Shita, Suha, Muga, Gulla River, Temcha, Bachat, Katlan, Jiba, Chamoga, Weter and the Beles.

After flowing past Er Roseires inside Sudan, and receiving the Dinder on its right bank at Dinder, the Blue Nile joins the White Nile at Khartoum and, as the River Nile, flows through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria. The Blue Nile is so-called because during flood times the water current is so high, it changes colour to an almost black; since in the local Sudanese language the word for black is also used for the colour blue.

The distance from its source to its confluence is variously reported as 1,460 and 1,600 kilometres (907 and 1,000 miles). The uncertainty over its length might partially result from the fact that it flows through a virtually impenetrable gorges cut in the Ethiopian Highlands to a depth of some 1,500 metres (4,900 ft)—a depth comparable to that of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in the United States.

Please watch this short clip:

For more information on the Blue Nile, please see Wikipedia:


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