Toshka Lakes (Arabic: بحيرات توشكىEgyptian Arabic pronunciation: [boħeˈɾæːt ˈtoʃkæ]) is the name given to recently formed endorheic lakes in the Sahara Desert of Egypt. Their presence caused by periodic overflow from Lake Nasser.

In fact, the presence of the depression helped establish the New Valley Project, made possible by the Sheikh Zayed Canal. Which starts from the Mubarak pump station to raise water from the creek of Lake Nasser to the canal. Whose aim is to develop the southern valley area.

Etymology Of Toshka

Opinions differed about naming the region as “Toshka” between two opinions:

  • Firstly: that the word “toshka”  made up of two syllables, the first syllable is “toshi” or “tosho”. Which is the name of a type of medicinal herb that grows in the valley of Toshka, the stump plant (in English: Ambrosia), while the second syllable is “ki” or “Ke” or “Ka” and its meaning in the Nubian dialect is “the place”, “the house”, or “the homeland”, and therefore the meaning of the word “toshka” in its entirety is “the home of the Ghubeira plant.”
  • Secondly: is the prevailing opinion; That the lakes named after a Nubian village Toshka (Old Nubian: ⲧⲱϣⲕⲉⲁ) who lived in the region in the past, until which the village drowned after the construction of the Aswan High Dam. The word “toshka” consists of two syllables.

In the past, the Toshka region included two villages. One east of the Nile, “Toshka East” and the other west of the Nile, “Toshka West.” The residents used Nile boats to move between the two villages. The two new ones have the same name “Toshka East” and “Toshka West”. A new city was built in remembrance of the village.


In 1998, Ethiopia experienced mass flash floods and river floods. Excess water coming from in Ethiopia’s highlands put strain on the river Nile and put the flood control plan of the Aswan High Dam to the test. For the first time, the massive reservoir reached its highest level of 183 meters above sea level in September. Excess water started being released from Lake Nasser by overflow into a hollow at the south end of the Eocene limestone plateau. During September and October, the basin received between 32 and 98 million cubic meters of water per day.

Astronauts on the ISS began noticing the first, easternmost lake growing in November 1998. By late 1999, three additional lakes formed successively westward, and the westernmost lake started forming sometime between September 2000 and March 2001. These lakes not yet named individually.

Estimated that in total, it covers approximately 1300 square kilometers (502 mi2). The levels of the lakes as of 2006 are lower than in 2001. In addition to, areas of wetlands and sand dunes have formed between the former and present shorelines. A minor lake downstream of the three larger lakes has completely dried out. The levels of the lakes vary between  574 ft close to Lake Nasser to 472 ft furthest.

Toshka Lakes

Location of the Toshka Lakes and Lake Nasser in Egypt.