Travel & Tourism
Typically, South Sudan isn’t a hot spot for most vacationers, especially if they’re looking for beach bunnies and Western-style fun. South Sudan does have aspects that intrigue tourists enough to lure them to this country, however. The country possesses a culture that can’t be experienced elsewhere.
The hospitality shown by the Sudanese is inherent in their culture: they are generally very kind, friendly, and welcoming.
What to Do in South Sudan
Due to ongoing conflict, tourists are advise not to travel to certain parts of South Sudan. Check your local embassy for updates.
- Boma National Park: One of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves is in Jonglei State and has a wildlife migration that compares in scale to that of the Serengeti. Between March and April and November to January you can see as many as two million animals on the move.
- Nimule National Park: The most easily accessible of South Sudan’s national parks, Nimule lies on the border with Uganda and is therefore a perfect stopover for those entering the country by road. The park infrastructure is, by South Sudan’s standards, well developed and park rangers will take you across the river by boat to Opekoloe Island to see the elephant herds, and then on foot to spot zebras, warthogs, baboons and even the occasional leopard.
- The Sudd: South Sudan’s stunning birdlife is best appreciated with a boat trip on the Sudd, one of the largest wetlands in the world. More than 400 species of bird can be found here, including shoebills, great white pelicans and black-crowned cranes, and once you’ve had your fill of all things feathered, there’s also some excellent fishing.
- Mount Kinyeti: South Sudan’s highest peak lies in the little-explored Imatong Mountains along the country’s southern border with Uganda. Whether you plan to climb the peak (3,187m) or trek through the thickly forested foothills, you can see monkeys, bushbuck and bushpigs, as well as occasional elephants, buffaloes and leopards.
- Rafting on the White Nile River: White-water rafting on the Nile is a new addition to South Sudan’s tourist options, and you can enjoy a short splash at Nimule or paddle all the way to Juba. The rapids will make you buzz with adrenaline, especially when you realise how many hippopotamuses and crocodiles are sharing the water, and in calmer stretches there are great possibilities for birdwatching and fishing.
When to Go
The weather in South Sudan is typically very hot. The rainy season lasts from May until October. Sandstorms can occur during the dry period, from April until September, so plan accordingly.
Getting In and Around
Visas: A valid passport and a visa are necessary when you’re arriving in South Sudan.
Transportation: Numerous international airlines fly to Sudan; most airlines fly into Juba International Airport.
In South Sudan, traveling by car is the best option. Driving at the appropriate hours in areas deemed safe is a secure way of getting about. If you’re bold enough to venture into areas that the government labels as dangerous or unfit for travel, you’ll need a travel permit to move around.
Mobile Phones: South Sudan has relatively good coverage. Make sure to have or buy a GSM phone with a SIM card.
Safety and Security
Concerned about your safety as you plan travel to South Sudan? We at Africa.com, together with our friends, family and colleagues, travel extensively throughout the continent. Here are the resources we consult when thinking of our safety in South Sudan:
Africa.com comment: Very timely and frequently updated. Perspective assumes that you ARE going to travel to South Sudan, and seeks to give you good guidance so that you understand the risks and are well informed.
Africa.com comment: Can sometimes be considered as overly conservative and discourage travel altogether to destinations that many reasonable people find acceptably secure. On the other hand, they have the resources of the CIA to inform them, so they know things that the rest of us don’t know. See what they have to say about South Sudan.
1. We recommend sticking to Khartoum and Omdurman during your visit. They are the safest and consequently the biggest tourist destinations in the country.
2. Pay attention to specific rules in any city that you stay in. Curfews are implemented in most large cities, usually from about midnight until four in the morning.
3. Sudan is an Islamic country. Be mindful and respect the culture in order to forestall any negative attention.
4. No American credit cards can be used in Sudan, because of embargoes. Make sure you change your money before traveling or at the airport at an authorized vendor, and also be mindful when you’re carrying cash on your person.
5. The official languages are Arabic and English. Learn some basic words in Arabic; even greetings will suffice.