Cataracts of the Nile
The cataracts of the Nile are areas between Aswan and Khartoum where the water is shallow and flows quickly. The surface is broken by numerous small boulders and stones that lie on the river bed, as well as many small rocky islets. This is called "rapids or "white water".
River cataracts often go with a rapid down-drop of the river. They block the waterway, since boats cannot safely carry cargo though.
The six first cataracts of the River Nile were the main obstacles for boats sailing on the Nile in antiquity. Counted upstream (from north to south), the First Cataract is in modern Egypt; the rest are in Sudan.
- The First Cataract is near Aswan
- The Second Cataract (or Great Cataract) was in Nubia and is now submerged in Lake Nasser
- The Third Cataract is around Tombos / Hannek
- The Fourth Cataract is in the Manasir Desert and will be flooded by the Merowe Dam from 2006 onward
- The Fifth Cataract is near the confluence with the Atbara River
- The Sixth Cataract is where the Nile cuts through the Sabaluka pluton near Bagrawiyah
The cataract faces north, not south, because the river flows north, from Lake Victoria in the south.
The 1899 book The River War by Winston Churchill explains each of the cataracts.
- The Cataract Nile and the Great Bend Archived 2006-05-12 at the Wayback Machine -University of Texas
- Photo links
- Second Cataract: Second Cataract Second Cataract
- Third Cataract: Third Cataract Third Cataract Archived 2011-05-08 at the Wayback Machine Third Cataract Archived 2011-05-08 at the Wayback Machine
- Fourth Cataract: Fourth Cataract
- Fifth Cataract: Fifth Cataract Archived 2011-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
- Sixth Cataract: Fifth Cataract Fifth Cataract