Magazine article Geographical

Down the Big River

Magazine article Geographical

Down the Big River

Article excerpt

Winding some 6,695 kilometres from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile is the longest river in the world; the ancient Egyptians called it iteru, or 'big river'. Flowing through no fewer than eight countries, it has a drainage basin that extends over more than three million square kilometres--almost ten per cent of continental Africa--and has even been venerated as a god. Photographer Aldo Pavan travelled along the river's course, from one of its many sources high in the mountains of Uganda, across the plains of Ethiopia and the deserts of Sudan, all the way into Egypt, capturing the diverse landscapes and cultures through which it flows

Top: hippopotami wallow in the Nile as it passes through Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. The park, which is bordered by the Rwenzori Mountains and filled with extinct volcanic craters, is home to a vast array of wildlife. The birds in the background are a mixture of saddle-billed stork, sacred ibis, hamer kops and herons; Above: a village in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. The two initial branches of the Nile--the White and Blue Niles-meet in Sudan, near the capital, Khartoum. While flowing through the country, the river reverses direction for much of its course. In a section known as the 'Great Bend of the Nile', it flows back toward the southwest before returning to flow north again

Top: jungle fires along the road that runs between Hoima, one of the first administrative districts to be formed when Uganda became independent in 1962, and Lake Albert, through which the river flows. In spring, farmers start fires to clear land for cultivation; Above: a young Karamojong boy peers out from behind the protective barrier encircling his village in Uganda. It's only possible to enter a Karamojong village when accompanied by someone who is already known to them--in the Karamojong language, ngimoe, the word meaning stranger, also means enemy. Photographer Aldo Pavan was only able to visit this compound because he was accompanied by a priest from a nearby mission

Above left: the village of Bashindi, part of the Dakhla Oasis, Egypt. The oasis supports 75,000 people and is split into 14 settlements, some of which, Bashindi included, date back to 2000 BC. The village's name derives from 'Pasha Hindi', a medieval sheikh who is buried in the local cemetery; Left: a felucca navigates the waters of the Nile near Kawm Umbu, Egypt. The city is a refuge for the many Nubians who were displaced by the creation of Lake Nasser during the 1960s. The world's largest artificial lake, it was built to control the river's annual floods. …

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