Forget the bad things you have heard about South Sudan or the question: Is it safe to travel to South Sudan? The country has some good sides, which you have no idea about. The blossoming and rapidly growing South Sudan capital, Juba, is one city you wouldn’t wish to have missed visiting in your lifetime. Following the peace treaty of 2018, the country has grown to an admirable destination for business, tourism, and adventure in equal measures. You may not have visited South Sudan because you are probably wondering where is South Sudan located in Africa. Well, the country is located in Northeast Africa, bordered by Sudan in the north, the Central Africa Republic to the west, DRC, Kenya, and Uganda to the south and Ethiopia to the east. There are many reasons you should travel to South Sudan. The ones I have listed below should make you get that visa to South Sudan. Read along.
1. Experience wildlife migration at Boma National Park
Your trip to South Sudan will be remarkable if Boma National Park is on your list of places to tour. The national park's area is about 22,800 square kilometres and is located next to the country’s border with Ethiopia. One of the most outstanding features Boma National Park brags is the excellent wildlife migration that it records from between March to April and between November to January. The migration here is unique as it involves the movement of about two million animals, including gazelles, kobs, and other antelope species. The migration starts from the Sudd and Bandingilo National Park, then progresses to Boma National Park and later to Ethiopia. If you want to catch these movements at their peak moments, you have to travel concerning the region’s rain patterns. The animals move when rains approach between March and April and return when the grass is greener again in the months between November and January.
2. Have some priceless moments at Bandingilo National Park
You will undoubtedly love the great moments you will spend at Bandingilo National Park when you travel to South Sudan. The park is situated in the Equatorial region of the country and has not been a regular stop for many tourists since it was established in 1992. It spreads over an area of over 10,000 sq. km. It is one of the most treasured national parks in South Sudan because it also attracts the great migration of wildlife. This park also brags its richness in biodiversity with a variety of animals for you to watch, including giraffes, reedbuck, elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, and gazelles, among others.
3. Get first-hand information about John Garang
If you want to learn more about African history and leaders who brought outstanding and remarkable changes in their country, you will have an interest in John Garang. He was a highly respected former leader of South Sudan who met his death in a chopper crash when coming back from a meeting in Uganda. He led liberation wars against the oppressive rule of the Sudanese government until they gained independence as South Sudan. A great mausoleum is built at the Avenue of Nations (a place where independence festivities are conducted) in the South Sudan capital for citizens and visitors to visit and learn about this great leader. The facility is highly guarded, and you must be very courteous when signing the visitor’s book so that you can get access without any issues.
4. South Sudan is more peaceful now than before
Some of the major questions people ask when you mention visiting South Sudan include: "Is it safe to travel to South Sudan?" and "Where is South Sudan at now in the matters of war?". Following the promising peace treaty of 2018, there has been a more peaceful atmosphere for visitors to come into the country without fear or worry. The emergence of churches and other places of worship has also boosted the young nation’s unity. The All Saints Cathedral, for example, attracts and brings together many of the influential people in Juba. It is also the main worship centre in Juba and is located between Gombura and Lanya Street.
5. Enjoy some wrestling at Bor’s Freedom Square
South Sudan is made up of several tribes making up the vast South Sudan population that enjoy and share one thing in common: wrestling. Wrestling is a traditional sport that is practised among many of these tribes and is a uniting factor. You will undoubtedly love the view of bare-chested participants challenging each other for a duel in front of a large group of spectators. Winners get prizes summing up to several heads of cattle. You can only enjoy this thrilling sporting event during the weekends when you visit South Sudan.
6. Easy entry, exit, and visa requirements
South Sudan has some of the most manageable and easily achievable entry, exit, and visa requirements. You will not have to strain too much to get into or leave the country so long as you adhere to the country’s entry and exit demands. You have to obtain your visa before arrival. Your passport has to have two blank pages and should be valid for six months after your entry date. Also, you have to give proof of Yellow Fever vaccination. If you visit for the first time and stay for more than three days, you have to find out what is the capital of South Sudan and visit there for registration. The Department of Immigration and Aliens Control in Juba will help you register for a long stay.
7. Get the chance to visit Dinka Cattle Camp or Cattle Market
There is no chance that you will travel to South Sudan and fail to interact with the Dinka people. Why? Because they are the most influential and the largest tribal group in South Sudan. Even though many have lately moved to the capital and other administrative states, most of them have opted to remain nomadic pastoralists. Among the Dinka, cattle are an integral factor for determining the wealth status of individuals and families. Some marriages among the Dinka attract a bride price of more than 400 heads of cattle. A cattle camp can accommodate more than 600 heads, which expresses how deeply the Dinka are rooted in their cattle. The cattle offer the owners nearly everything they need to survive. In Juba, you can always visit the cattle market in the city centre to see cattle being taken to the market. The fully grown, long-horned white bulls are a sight you will love.
8. Whitewater rafting adventures
South Sudan is probably the rising challenge for Uganda’s whitewater rafting events. If you love taking part in this high adrenaline event or watching whitewater rafters in action, you will enjoy your visit to South Sudan. A whitewater rafting crew has been set up near Nimule on the Nile River, where rafters row through the challenging Nile rapids to the capital, Juba. The speed is not the only obstacles to worry about here. You will have to encounter animals along the way, including hippos, crocodiles, elephants, antelopes, and primates. Anytime you are in Juba, you can book a whitewater rafting trip with a rafting company. The company will pick you up from the capital and take you to the Fola Falls in Nimule National Park and take you through the rafting experience for eight kilometres.
9. Get close with elephants at Kidepo Game Reserve
The Kidepo Game Reserve of South Sudan is linked to the great Kidepo Valley National Park of Uganda. It is situated in the southernmost parts of South Sudan. The game reserve is consist of Savannah grasslands and woodland habitat covering up to 1,200 square kilometres. The reason you will love visiting this game reserve is the warm nature of the animals here. The animals are fond of humans, and you can enjoy a close encounter with elephants without worry. You can as well enjoy the company of other animals like the defassa waterbuck.
10. Have some historic catch-up at Bor
What better place to sign out your travel to South Sudan than the Bor region? Bor was once the site of some of the first-ever Christians before the separation of Sudan. Today you might recognize it as an abandoned ghost town but rich with historical occurrences, some bad and others good. The past conflicts in the country have majorly affected the shape of this town, with about 20,000 people losing their lives in the massacres recorded during the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1991. These occurrences did not dampen Bor’s spirit, and the city is living to date to tell stories of their traditions and cultures.
The South Sudan population of about 11.1 million people is a collection of people of all traits and behaviours. But one common trait you will find across this vast population is the warm heart they have towards visitors. The next time you want to travel to South Sudan, you should not hesitate as you will be getting ready to meet some of the warmest people in the world. So, is it safe to travel to South Sudan? Yes, it is, go have a good time!