The Nile River's most distant source is the Kagera River in Burundi and it empties into the Mediterranean Sea in northern Egypt. The Nile River is considered the longest river in the world at about 4,180 miles or 6,695 kilometers.
The Kagera River flows from Burundi through Tanzania into Lake Victoria as its largest tributary. From there, the Nile has two principal streams called the White Nile, which originates at Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile, which originates at Lake Tana in the Ethiopian highlands. The two streams meet in Sudan, south of Egypt. The White Nile is the larger of the two, but it loses much of its flow along the way, contributing to 15 percent of the water that eventually flows into Egypt.
The Nile River drains an area of over 1.9 million square miles, or 3.1 million square kilometers, which comprises roughly 10 percent of the African continent. The river has played an enormous role in the development of agriculture and civilization along its banks, including the ancient Egyptian civilization. Rainfalls in the Ethiopian highlands made the waters of the Nile rise and flood the lands adjacent to it. This flooding has been crucial to the development in arid Egypt where rainfall is rare.