This paper presents the approximate analytical solutions to solve the nonlinear Fornberg-Whitham equation with fractional time derivative. By using initial values, explicit solutions of the equations are solved by using a reliable algorithm like the variational iteration method. The fractional derivatives are taken in the Caputo sense. The present method performs extremely well in terms of efficiency and simplicity. Numerical results for different particular cases of a are presented graphically. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.