Bahr el Ghazal River

The Bahr el Ghazal (بحر الغزال) (also spelled Bahr al Ghazal and Baḩr al Ghazāl) is a river in South Sudan. The name translates as "sea of gazelles" from Arabic. The South Sudanese region of Bahr el Ghazal takes its name from the river.

Bahr el Ghazal
CountrySouth Sudan
Physical characteristics
  locationSudd swamps
  elevationc. 428 m (1,404 ft) above sea level
White Nile
Length445 mi (716 km)
Basin size200,800 sq mi (520,000 km2)
  average1,700 cu ft/s (48 m3/s)

The Bahr el Ghazal is the main western tributary of the Nile. It is 716 kilometres (445 mi) long, flowing through the Sudd wetlands to Lake No, where it joins the White Nile.[1]


The Bahr al Ghazal's drainage basin is the largest of any of the Nile's sub-basins, measuring 520,000 km² (200,800 mi²) in size, but it contributes a relatively small amount of water, about 2 m³/s (70 ft³/s) annually, due to tremendous volumes of water being lost in the Sudd wetlands.[2] Seasonally, the river's discharge ranges from nothing to 48 m³/s (1,700 ft³/s).[1]

According to some sources, the river is formed by the confluence of the Jur River and Bahr al-Arab rivers.[1] However other more recent sources say the river rises in the Sudd wetlands with no definitive source, that the Jur River joins at Lake Ambadi, and the Bahr al-Arab joins below that.[3] The river's drainage basin, including its tributaries, is 851,459 square kilometres (328,750 sq mi) and reaches west to the border of the Central African Republic and northwest to the Darfur region.


The river was first mapped in 1772 by French geographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville, although it was vaguely known to early Greek geographers.

See also


  1. "Bahr al-Ghazal". Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  2. Shahin, Mamdouh (2002). Hydrology and Water Resources of Africa. Springer. pp. 276, 287–288. ISBN 1-4020-0866-X.; online at Google Books
  3. Shahin, Mamdouh (2002). Hydrology and Water Resources of Africa. Springer. p. 276. ISBN 1-4020-0866-X.; online at Google Books

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