The White Nile (Arabic: النيل الأبيض, transliterated: an-Nīl al-Ābyadˤ) is a river of Africa, one of the two main tributaries of the Nile, the other being the Blue Nile. In the strict meaning, "White Nile" refers to the river formed at Lake No at the confluence of the Bahr al Jabal and Bahr el Ghazal rivers. In the wider sense, "White Nile" refers to the approximately 3700 kilometers (2300 miles) of rivers draining from Lake Victoria into the White Nile proper. It may also, depending on the speaker, refer to the headwaters of Lake Victoria.
The 19th century search by Europeans for the source of the Nile was mainly focused on the White Nile, which disappeared into the depths of what was then known as "Darkest Africa". The discovery of the source of the White Nile thus came to symbolise European penetration of unknown jungle.
The most distant source of the waters of Lake Victoria is the Luvironza River in Burundi, which flows into the Rurubu River near the northern Burundian town of Kayanza. The Ruvuvu in turn flows into the Kagera River, the most notable feature of which is Rusumo Falls. On 28—29 April 1994, 250,000 Rwandans crossed the bridge at Rusumo Falls into Ngara, Tanzania in 24 hours in what the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called the "the largest and fastest refugee exodus in modern times." The Kagera forms part of the Rwanda-Tanzania and Tanzania-Uganda borders before flowing into Lake Victoria.
The river arising from Lake Victoria is known as the Victoria Nile. After Nalubaale Power Station at the mouth, the river goes through Bujagali falls near Jinja. It then flows north and westwards through Uganda, feeding into Lake Kyoga in the center of the country and then out west. At Karuma Falls, the river sweeps under Karuma Bridge at the southeastern corner of Murchison Falls National Park. During much of the insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army, Karuma Bridge, built in 1963 to help the cotton industry, was the key stop on the way to Gulu, where vehicles would gather in convoy before being provided with a military escort for the final run north. In 2006, the World Bank approved a 200MW hydropower project several kilometers north of the bridge, which is scheduled for completion in 2009. Just before entering Lake Albert, the river is compressed into a passage seven meters in width at Murchison Falls, marking the entry into the Western branch of the Great Rift Valley. The river flows into Lake Albert opposite the Blue Mountains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The river exiting Lake Albert to the north is known as the Albert Nile. The river separates the West Nile sub-region of Uganda from the rest of the country. While a bridge passes over the Albert Nile near its inlet in Nebbi District, there is no other bridge over this section. A powered ferry connects the roads between Adjumani and Moyo, but navigation of the river is otherwise done by small boat or canoe.