What Are the Six Cataracts of the Nile River?

The six cataracts of the Nile River are shallow stretches where boulders break up the water like white water rapids. Counting from north to south, the first is located in Egypt, and the rest are located in Sudan. In geography, a cataract is defined as a large waterfall or rapids.

The First Cataract was located in Aswan, Egypt, but it has since become the site of the first dam on the Nile. The Second Cataract, described by Winston Churchill as being 9 miles long and known as the Great Cataract, is now submerged under Lake Nasser. Ships could only move upstream through this cataract during the summer flood season. The Sudanese village Tombos was located on the Third Cataract. Tombos was the site of a granite quarry, and the stone from this quarry was used to construct many buildings and statues, including one of an ancient pharaoh from about 2,700 years ago. The Fourth Cataract was flooded by the Merowe Dam, and it was located in the Manasir Desert. The Fifth Cataract is near where the Nile and Atbarah rivers converge, and the Sixth Cataract is near Bagrawiyah, a group of villages near the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Kush.