Dinka cattle camps The Dinkas have all been part of life’s rich pageant after the civil unrests that occurred in …
The Republic of South Sudan, also popularly referred to as Southern Sudan is Africa’s youngest nation located in East Africa. It gained its independence on 9th July 2011 and in 2016, it became a member of the East African Community (EAC). South Sudan is a beautiful landlocked country located in East-Central Africa and shares its borders with Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. Visiting South Sudan is possible on a short or long South Sudan Tours and Safaris with the best local tour operator.
South Sudan is one of the least explored destinations, and a holiday here guarantees travelers authentic African experiences. South Sudan is a unique country, also listed among Africa’s most endowed agricultural due to her fertile soils and plenty of water supplies. It is also famous for its biodiversity characterized by scenic savanna, rain-forests and swamplands where its diverse wildlife species roam freely. It is also a country with distinct African cultures.
Juba is the capital city of South Sudan, a country with over 60 Nilotic and Bantu speaking communities. These include the Shilluk, Dinka, Nuer, Bari and Azande, the biggest ethnic communities in South Sudan.
Attractions in South Sudan
South Sudan is an exceptional destination of its own. For nature enthusiasts on African safaris, it is one place to consider a must-visit for authentic experiences. It is a remarkable country with lots unexplored tourist sites ranging from the heritage sites to diverse cultures.
Boma National Park.
Located in Northern Jonglei, South Sudan, Boma National Park is Africa’s biggest protected area. Boma National Park was established in 1977 and its borders spread covering up to 22800sq.kms. Its landscape is characterized by extensive grasslands and floodplains.
Boma National Park is popular for its huge concentration of wildlife especially mammal species. It is a home to diverse mammal species including elephants, African leopards, mongalla gazelle, white eared kob, Nubian giraffe, tiang, oryx, Northeast African cheetah, lelwel hartebeest, waterbucks, giant eland, maneless zebras, eland, grant’s gazelles, and more.
Bandingilo National Park
Bandingilo National Park along the Equatoria area in South Sudan. It is one of the destinations not fully explored. Founded in 1992, Bandingilo National Park is popular for its incredible wildlife migration, a major attraction of its own. Its wildlife migration is rated second after the Serengeti wildebeest migration in Tanzania. It is an extensive park covering more than 10,000 sq.kms lying close to the White Nile River. The park’s wildlife to see include lions, cheetahs, leopards, gazelles, reedbucks, giraffes, tiang, white eared kob, caracals, African wild dongs, etc.
The Sudd wetland
The Sudd is the world’s biggest swamp covering an area of up to 30,000 sq.kms. For birders visiting South Sudan, it is one area to consider a must-visit. A total of about 450 bird species exists in the Sudd area alone together with other wildlife. The birds of interest here include the giant white pelicans, black-crowned cranes, shoebill storks and more.
It is one of the best places to carryout fishing safaris in South Sudan. It is rich in fish species, about 70 species including the Nile carp, African tetra, lungfish, African arowana, Senegal bichir, Nile Perch, Mango tilapia, Elongate tigerfish. Other wildlife species can also be spotted roaming along the Sudd edges including the white eared kob, bohor reedbucks, tiang, sitatungas and more.
The Sudd extends from Mongalla to cover parts of the Sobat River confluence with the White Nile. Other than being a valuable birding spot, it also plays a significant part in storing floodwaters and trapping sediments from the Bahr al Jabal. The Sudd is also officially a designated Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.
Nimule National Park
Nimule National Park is one of the oldest parks in Africa, founded in 1954 under the British rule. It is a compact park in South Sudan, covering land area of 540sq.kms and it is located on the border with Uganda. Because of its close location with Uganda, wildlife can move freely between the two countries. It is also South Sudan’s most accessible park by public transportation.
Nimule National Park protects a range of wildlife including zebras, baboons, leopards, warthogs, hyrax, bushbucks, Uganda Kobs, baboons, vervet monkeys, hippos, crocodiles, ostriches, jackals, etc.
The White Nile is one of the tributaries of the Nile River, one of the longest rivers in the world. The Blue Nile is the other tributary. The White Nile takes its name from the color of the River. The color of the Nile changes due to the clay soil. The White Nile crosses via Juba, making it an iconic attraction for visitors in the city to visit.
Nyakuron cultural center.
If you are interested in authentic cultural experiences, no better place is worth visiting in South Sudan than Nyakuron cultural center. South Sudanese are credited for their unique dances, storytelling, cultures, traditions and more.
On a cultural safari in South Sudan, tourists get to interact with local people, learn more about their traditions, practices and more. The Nyakuron cultural centre was set up in 1976 and it was built primarily to display the unique cultural heritage of South Sudanese.
Located near the river in the Bahrel Ghazal, Wau Zoo is one of the valuable attractions worth exploring in South Sudan. The zoo hosts a range of wildlife especially the stripped hyenas, warthogs, ostriches, crocodiles, baboons to mention but a few.
Mt. Kinyeti & Imatong.
For climbers, you are covered with mountaineering or hiking adventures on Mount Kinyeti (3187m). This is the highest peak in South Sudan and it is found nearby Uganda border. At the summits, visitors get the best view of forested slopes, wildlife especially those roaming in Imatong Forest Reserve.
Activities to do in South Sudan.
White water rafting.
White water rafting is one of the new additions on the exceptional adventures South Sudan has to offer the world. It is best done on the White Nile located in Nimule National Park. For tourists around Juba, it is one a must-do adventure and you get to challenge yourself in the tough grades 3-4+ rapids.
Visit John Garang Mausoleum
John Garang was one of the high ranked and respected leaders in South Sudan. He passed following helicopter crash on his return from a meeting in Uganda. He led the liberation movement that fought against Sudan’s oppressive rule till South Sudan gained her independence.
The mausoleum is found at the Avenue of Nations, where the country’s independence festivities are held. Visiting this site is one way to remember the incredible leader and father of South Sudan.
Wau Cathedral tour
For religious or faith tourism, one place to consider visiting in South Sudan is the Wau Cathedral. This was constructed in 1913, one of the oldest sites symbolizing the role of Christian missionary groups in South Sudan’s development. The cathedral features unique architectural designs and glass windows, stone carvings.
Another significant area for faith tourism is All Saints Cathedral, a worship centre located in Juba. The cathedral is built lying between the Gombura and Lanya Street. It always attracts a large number of influential people in Juba, South Sudan especially for Sunday service.
Watch the wrestling at Bor’s freedom square
Wrestling is one of the traditional sport most South Sudanese practice. It attracts a large number of spectators who come to watch participants challenge themselves. This is usually done during weekends.
Enjoy a safari in South Sudan
Visit Nimule National Park, the South Sudan’s most accessible destination and also a home to diverse wildlife. There are plenty of adventures to take part while at Nimule NP including boat ride, skydiving, rock climbing, snorkeling, white water rafting and others.
People & Cultures in South Sudan
South Sudanese share cultural connection among themselves especially practices. They have more cultural affiliation and loyalty to tribal and ethnic groups. There are 3 ethnic groups in South Sudan: the Bantu, Nilo Sudanic and Nilo Hamites. The main languages in South Sudan comprise of subsets of languages including the Central Sudanic, Eastern and Ubangian.
The Ubangian is linked more to the Bantu people. On cultural safari, expect to meet the Dinka (the renowned cattle keepers), Nuer -this group lives in the extensive savanna area and Luo group comprise of Luo speakers and they prefer keeping small herds of cattle.
Is it safe to visit South Sudan?
South Sudan is a newly created nation in Africa and like other states in the world, it isn’t 100% safe. Safaris can be conducted but, visitors are advised to exercise high level of cautiousness. Tourists are discouraged from visiting some areas, and before you consider undertaking a road trip to South Sudan, first talk to the safari expert on the ground to be certain if you can travel for a tour.
In case you want to move out, it is advisable to leave all valuables back in the accommodation you booked. For solo female travelers on safari in South Sudan and they would like to get out, it is important that you leave but with company of someone/local guide. While on the streets of Juba, never display your wallet or cash, jewelries and more.
Like other countries, also be aware of scammers. Be keen especially when handling money especially at ATMs. Terrorist attacks have not been reported in South Sudan recently although it is at higher threat considering its close location at the border with Sudan. All travelers are advised to be vigilant at all times while on a holiday or business trip in South Sudan.
Best time to visit South Sudan.
The best time to consider visiting South Sudan is during the dry months of the year; December, January, February. These are the months of the year when temperatures in Juba city and other areas fall between 20 and 37 degrees Celsius.
The rainy season or months occur in April and October – being the rainy months, the landscape changes with floor turning muddy or slippery. During the dry season, it can be windy but perfect season to navigate around South Sudan.
Seasons and Climate of South Sudan.
South Sudan is one of the countries in Africa that experience tropical climate. The temperature rise varies depending on the season, but in average, about 25 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius. This is normally during the dry season from January, February, March to April. In Juba capital, temperatures tend to rise up to 34.5 degrees Celsius in average every year.
The rainy season falls from April to November and the lowland areas of Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria, Bahr el Ghazal and Upper Nile experience rainfall record of 700 and 1300mm. In the extreme Eastern Equatoria, rainfall record of about 200mm while the heaviest rains take place in the Southern upland areas. The western Equatoria and highland Eastern Equatoria often records rainfall amount of 1200-2200mm.
South Sudan Travel advice.
In case you are planning to visit South Sudan, you may need yellow fever vaccination certificate, visa and also, covid-19 vaccination. Once you get to South Sudan, ensure that you are keen enough on the country’s security and safety. Always follow the embassy travel advise or travel updates or connect with your ground travel agency or company to keep updated with latest security matters of South Sudan before you consider visiting for a holiday.
Note, medical facilities aren’t plenty in South Sudan’s Juba city and very scarce in the remotest areas. In case you have health issues, better you consult your doctor back home to be provided with medication required. Be respectful to South Sudan’s rules and regulations to avoid penalties.
Be mindful of waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases including cholera, typhoid. Avoid eating half cooked food or water not boiled. Consider visiting classic restaurants or hotels that observe certain level of hygiene and avoid street food.
Visas are essential for you to be allowed to visit South Sudan just like other states. You are advised to obtain your visa or passport early and should be valid if you plan to visit South Sudan. The commonly used currency in South Sudan is South Sudanese pound although other currencies are also welcome. We also recommend that you get travel insurance if you have plans to visit South Sudan for a tour.
What to pack?
Things to pack for South Sudan Tours: valid visas, passports, long-sleeved shirts, trousers, daypack, cameras, sweater, first aid kit, bottled water, snacks, toiletries, insect repellents, sun glasses, safari hat and more.