The Confluence of the Niles
Khartoum Travel Blog› entry 59 of 81 › view all entries
We woke to the smell of coffee. Young boys visited each cot offering tiny cups of Arab espresso which was much stronger than the brew Scott and I guzzled in upper Michigan. It seemed thick enough to hold a spoon upright but provided an abrupt jolt of energy to launch another new day of discovery. Hand- or donkey-powered food carts plied the old streets of Khartoum. Their meals were incredibly delicious. Falafels (fried balls of chickpeas, soybean, and wheat) were flavored nicely with Middle-Eastern spices - and maybe a dash of India. Combined with a tangy white and crumbly goats cheese and a creamy diced tomato and cucumber sauce, they were wrapped in the clay-oven flat bread nan.
While Richard and Virginia explored the city, Dave, Scott, and I found our way to the confluence of the two primary tributaries of the Nile River. The wider White Nile flowed from the east African equatorial forests of southern Rwanda via Lake Victoria. It got its name from the whitish clay suspended in its upstream waters. The resulting silt from annual flooding provided rich soil for farming and created the ancient civilizations of the Sudan and Egypt. But it is the Blue Nile that deposits most silt and that only occurs during the summer rainy season in the highlands of Ethiopia. The Blue springs from there - Lake Tana 870 miles upstream. Now, springtime in Khartoum, its flow was rather weak and calm but we were able to trace its up-current swirl to where it touched the moistened bank of the White. At that spot, we waded ankle-deep in each, then the Nile.