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The Rivers of Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 6, 2009

And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia [Genesis 2:13]


Few people know that many of Africa’s fertile Mountains and water-rich Rivers are located in Ethiopia. The vast majority of these rivers go out of the Ethiopian Eden to water the gardens of Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Egypt and, even Israel.

Today we will learn a little bit about some of the glorious rivers of Ethiopia.

Most of the Ethiopian uplands have a decided slope to the north-west, so that nearly all the large rivers flow in that direction to the Nile, and comprising around 85% of its water. Such rivers are the Tekezé River, the Abay, and the Sobat. The rest is carried off by the Awash, which runs out in the saline lacustrine (lake bed) district along the border with Djibouti; by the Shebelle River and the Jubba, which flow southeast through Somalia, though the Shebelle fails to reach the Indian Ocean; and by the Omo, the main feeder of the closed basin of Lake Turkana.

The Tekezé River has its headwaters in the central tableland. During the rains the Tekezé rises around 5 m above its normal level and at this time forms an impassable barrier between the northern and central regions. In its lower course, the river is called Setit. The Gash or Mareb, which forms part of the border with Eritrea, is the most northerly of the highland rivers which flow toward the Nile valley. Its headwaters rise on the landward side of the eastern escarpment within 80 km of Annesley Bay on the Red Sea. The Mareb is dry for a great part of the year, but like the Takazze, is subject to sudden freshets during the rainy season. Only the left bank of the upper course of the river is in Ethiopian territory.

The Abay has its source near Mount Denguiza in the Gojam highlands, and flows to the south side of Lake Tana. Tana, which stands 750 to 1,000 m below the normal level of the plateau, is more like a flooded crater. It has an area of about 2,800 km² and a depth of 75 m. At the southeast corner the rim of the crater is breached by a deep crevasse through which the Abay escapes, and here makes a great semicircular bend like that of the Tekezé, but in the reverse direction down to the plains of Sennar, where it takes the name of Bahr-el-Azrak or Blue Nile. The Abay has many tributaries. All these are perennial rivers.

In the mountains and plateaus of Gambela and Kaffa in southwestern Ethiopia rise the Baro, Gelo, Akobo and other chief affluents of the Sobat tributary of the Nile. The Akobo, joins the Pibor, which unites with the Baro, the river below the confluence taking the name of Sobat. These rivers descend from the mountains in great falls, and like the other Ethiopian streams are unnavigable in their upper courses.

The chief river of Ethiopia flowing east is the Awash River, which rises in the Shoan uplands and makes a semicircular bend first southeast and then northeast. It reaches the Afar Depression through a broad breach in the eastern escarpment of the plateau, beyond which it is joined on its left bank by its chief affluent, the Germama and then moves around in the direction of the Gulf of Tadjoura. Unfortunately, it fails to reach the coast.


Abay RiverAdabay RiverAkaki RiverAkobo RiverAlero RiverAngereb RiverAtaba RiverAtaye RiverAtbarah RiverAwash RiverAwetu RiverAyesha River


Balagas RiverBaro RiverBashilo RiverBeles RiverBilate RiverBirbir RiverBlue NileBorkana River


Cheleleka River


Dabus RiverDawa RiverDechatu RiverDembi RiverDenchya RiverDidessa RiverDinder RiverDoha RiverDukem RiverDurkham River


Erer River


Fafen River


Galetti RiverGanale Dorya RiverGebele RiverGermama RiverGestro RiverGibe RiverGilgel Gibe RiverGilo RiverGojeb RiverGololcha RiverGreater Angereb RiverGuder RiverGumara River


Hanger RiverHawadi River


Jamma RiverJerer RiverJikawo RiverJubba River


Kabenna RiverKatar RiverKeleta RiverKersa RiverKibish RiverKulfo River


Lagabora RiverLesser AbayLesser AngerebLogiya River


Mago RiverMagyecha RiverMareb RiverMeki RiverMena RiverMille RiverModjo RiverMofar RiverMuger RiverMui River


Neri River


Omo River


Pibor River


Qechene River


Rahad RiverReb RiverRobe River


Sagan RiverShebelle RiverShinfa RiverSor River


Tekezé River


Usno River


Wabe RiverWalaqa RiverWajja RiverWanchet RiverWari RiverWeito RiverWeyib RiverWelmel River


Yabus River

3 Responses to “The Rivers of Ethiopia”

  1. Novec said


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