The Nile Ecosystem
Owing to this large variation, the Nile basin is blessed with a wide range of ecoregions, including highlands and plateaus, open water surfaces, wetlands, flatlands, and deserts.
Historically, people living across the Nile basin had a strong connection with both land and water as is revealed by the stories of people living by Lake Tana and Lake Victoria and by the stories of the Merowe people and the ancient Egyptians. These communities not only expressed a deep connection with the land but also considered the land sacred and revered.
Some areas near the Nile’s origin are home to tropical rainforests hosting bamboo, banana plant, and others. While the papyrus plant is found along the Nile River.
Some of the plants like the Papyrus has been used as far back as the first dynasty of ancient Egypt, as the papyrus plant was once abundant across the Nile Delta. Due to habitat encroachment and increased urbanization, it has become rare in the Nile Delta but it is still present in the swamps, shallow lakes and along the stream banks in the Sudd of South Sudan and in the Great African lakes.
The animal kingdom
One of the most common animal across the Nile is the Nile Perch/ Tilapia which is mainly a freshwater fish species. It can be found nearly all across the Nile shallow streams, ponds and in the river. It is highly abundant in the Sudd region of South Sudan, where the Shilluk fishing communities depend on them for their livelihoods. Historically, they have been of major importance in artisanal fishing in the Nile basin and all of Africa. Tilapia symbolized rebirth and was associated with ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility and love Hathor and the symbol of the Nile Delta goddess Hawit Mahiyat.