Dongola Reach

The Dongola Reach is a reach of approximately 160 km in length stretching from the Fourth downriver to the Third Cataracts of the Nile in Upper Nubia, Sudan.[1] Named after the Sudanese town of Dongola which dominates this part of the river, the reach was the heart of ancient Nubia.[2]

The area where the Nile flows from the Fourth Cataract to the southwest making a great S-shaped bend following the structure of the Central African Shear Zone is the Southern Dongola Reach. The area where it flows northward out of the bend and through to the Third Cataract is the Northern Dongola Reach.

In the Dongola Reach the Nile is without any significant perennial tributary inputs. It passes over mostly sandstone and is flanked by wide alluvial flood plains. In the Southern Dongola Reach the Nile is joined by the extinct river systems of Wadi Abu Dom, Wadi Muqaddam, Wadi Howar and Wadi Al-Malik. The Northern Dongola Reach contains cultivable basins on the eastern side of the Nile valley floor such as the Kerma Basin, a large fertile flood plain traversed by a series of palaeochannels.[3]

The Dongola Reach saw the emergence of kingdoms of Nile Valley Civilizations such as ancient Kerma, Kush and medieval Makuria.[4] The area of the Southern Dongola Reach served as a connection between the Red Sea in the east and Wadi Howar in the west, linking the Nile Valley with inner Africa. [5] Abundant archaeological sites belonging to different archaeological periods area lined on the banks of old Nile channels in the Northern Dongola Reach.[6]