Travel Advice To South Sudan
South Sudan is an African country located in the eastern region of Africa, being one of the latest countries to gain independence in 2011 from Sudan, this explains why it’s at times referred to as South Sudan. South Sudan is bordered by a number of countries including Sudan in the North, Ethiopia in the East, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Uganda in the South and Central African Republic in the West.
South Sudan is rated among the developing countries with a poor economy but with the hope of serious economic development in the coming years, having joined the East African Community and as it’s also endowed with lots of rich resources including several tourism destinations that are hotspots for international visitors each year.
South Sudan carries a heavy history full of instability as a result of political crisis that brought up a nearly 7 years civil war which forced many citizens to flee to the neighboring countries and also tribal conflicts between the Dinka and Nuer. Clearly the country is still developing as at most the road network outside the top cities is still poor. These still can’t stop one from visiting South Sudan, insecurity remains one of the characteristics of most African Countries but rarely targets tourists.
People of South Sudan are always welcoming and English language is widely spoken, which makes it easier for them to communicate. The world news usually talk about the wars that have been in South Sudan but they don’t tell you that it has the world’s biggest swamp or home to the only place in the world where you can have a chance to look at an ancient community. Tourist attractions in South Sudan are actually in the countryside and not just in the city centers, some of these places are not yet infiltrated by technology and people there still live like they used to in the ancient times.
WHAT SHOULD ONE CONSIDER WHEN VISITING SOUTH SUDAN?
Travelling to South Sudan
South Sudan is a landlocked country and there are two means of entering the country which is either by land or air. If you plan to travel to South Sudan, travelling by air would be the safest means through Juba International Airport. Connecting through land borders from the neighboring countries isn’t advisable with armed conflicts in D.R. Congo, uncertain stability in Central African Republic and some parts of Ethiopia. Travelling through either Kenya or Uganda borders my seem safe since there are no ongoing conflicts but you may not be sure about your security on the road since security is more guaranteed in the big cities. There are many road blocks or check points so it’s important to always carry visa and valid passport even when travelling to the countryside.
South Sudan as a destination wouldn’t be advisable for budget trips as its expensive compared to the neighboring countries. South Sudan is a low developing country which brings about scarcity of basic commodities more in the countryside, the country hasn’t embraced cashless payment so you have to move with some cash. The local currency is South Sudanese pound and is important to move with it, credit cards may only be used in big cities like Juba.
While in Juba and some other big towns, security is guaranteed as the country police and UN Peace Keepers keep patrolling. However before travelling to places outside Juba, you need to get a trusted local guide because they know these places more, it’s also important to inquire from your embassy about the security situation of any place you intend to visit.
When to visit South Sudan?
This depends mainly on climate; the country is dominated by tropical climate so it has the rainy season as well the dry season. Like all tourism destinations, it’s always advisable to visit during the dry season which occurs between November and April. South Sudan has a poor road network which can make travelling to the countryside very hard during rainy seasons.
However, migration of wildlife from Sudd to Boma National Park happens between the months of March and April and animals move back to Sudd between the months of November and late December.
South Sudan has many tourism destinations that you would really prefer with many of them hidden in the countryside. The country has mountains good for hiking, wildlife in over 14 national parks, the world’s largest swamp Suud which is perfect for bird watching, the Nile River which is also good for white water shafting and many more.
People of South Sudan
South Sudan is the home of welcoming people who are always willing to connect with visitors. It’s important to respect their culture if you want to enjoy your tour. They hold cultural events which you would be interested in watching including wrestling at the Bor’s Freedom Square, the Dinka Cattle Camp and so many others. Tribal conversations are sensitive so it would be advisable you stay out of any conversation of the kind.
Before you think of taking pictures of any place such as government buildings or even the people, ask your local guide if it’s acceptable and if it’s not then let them help you ask permission. If you take pictures of any place that isn’t acceptable then you may face some problems or attract unnecessary public attention.