White Nile, river, one of the chief tributaries of the Nile, E Africa. The name is sometimes used for the 600 mi (970 km) long section of the river known as the Bahr el Abiad that extends upstream from Khartoum to the junction of the Bahr el Jebel and the Bahr el Ghazal at Lake No, c.100 mi (160 km) above Malakal. In a wider sense it is applied to the entire c.2,300 mi (3,700 km) long stem of the Nile draining from the headwaters of Lake Victoria (Victoria Nyanza). In this wider sense, its remotest headstream is the Luvironza River in Burundi, which flows into the Ruvuvu River and which, in turn, is a tributary of the Kagera River, one of the principal headstreams feeding into Lake Victoria. Known as the Victoria Nile for approximately the next 260 mi (430 km), it flows N and W through Uganda into Lake Albert. It leaves Lake Albert as the Albert Nile and flows north c.100 mi (160 km) to Nimule, where it enters South Sudan and becomes the Bahr el Jebel. From Nimule to Rejaf is a zone of rapids. At Juba it leaves the highlands of central Africa and enters the broad South Sudan plain; downstream at Bor, it flows through the Sudd, a vast swampy area named after the floating vegetation (sudd) that sometimes hinders navigation. At Lake No it receives the Bahr-el-Ghazal and continues E to Khartoum, where it joins with the Blue Nile to form the Nile.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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