National Geographic : 1925 Feb
0 Photograph by Vittorio Sella RIPON FALLS: THE GOAL OF MORE THAN 2,000 YEARS' SEARCH The birthplace of the Nile, the falls at the outlet of Lake Victoria, was discovered in 1862 by J. H.Speke and J.A.Grant, two British explorers. The ultimate source of the Nile is the headwaters of the Kagera River, southwest of the lake, but RiponFalls are generally considered the beginning of the White Nile, main branch of the mighty river. Egypt, pushing south, always wondered about the source ofthe Nile, the most important factor in its national life. Ptolemy, the celebrated astronomer, mathematician, and geographer of the second century ofthe Christian Era, made agood guess, but tropical forests and great floating islands of vegetation peculiar to the upper Nile postponed discovery. The river, whose lower valley was acradle of civilization, was one of the last of the world's great rivers to surrender the secret of its headwaters.