The cataracts of the Nile are the sections of the Nile River characterized by tremendous shallowness and obstacles, such as big rocks, which make it very difficult to navigate. There are six established cataracts of the Nile, but some scientists believe there are many more.
The reason these sections of the Nile River are of great importance is that they are areas where granite and other similar rocks are found. Boats have never been able to move through cataracts, even in the past. The ancient people relied on strong north winds to sail the river, but they could not pass over the cataracts using the power of wind. Men teamed up to drag the boats across the cataracts.