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The Nile no longer floods in Egypt since the completion of the Aswan Dam in 1970.An anabranch river, the Bahr el Zeraf, flows out of the Nile's Bahr al Jabal section and rejoins the White Nile.The source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size.The Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba, is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on which is the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself.The Bahr al Ghazal, itself 716 kilometers (445 mi) long, joins the Bahr al Jabal at a small lagoon called Lake No, after which the Nile becomes known as the Bahr al Abyad, or the White Nile, from the whitish clay suspended in its waters.When the Nile floods it leaves a rich silty deposit which fertilizes the soil.
It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan.
The drainage basin of the Nile covers 3,254,555 square kilometers (1,256,591 sq mi), about 10% of the area of Africa.
The Nile basin is complex, and because of this, the discharge at any given point along the mainstem depends on many factors including weather, diversions, evaporation and evapotranspiration, and groundwater flow.
Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along riverbanks.
In the ancient Egyptian language, the Nile is called Ḥ'pī or Iteru (Hapy), meaning "river".