10 things I wish I knew before going to South Sudan

Marina Nefedova12 October 20201085 views16 min. read
10 things I wish I knew before going to South Sudan
It isn't easy to imagine a person who suddenly decided to take a ride to South Sudan as a tourist. The place is very specific. So much so that even the colonization of this part of the world was conditional. On the other hand, you may have already travelled over a hundred countries, and the exotic choice due to the fact there are not many places left on the map. Did you decide to buy a wife? Then you are in the right place. Or maybe you are going on a business trip? Or perhaps you want the glory of a very unusual traveller in the spirit of Uncle Oswald, a stunning character of Roald Dahl? Yes, by the way, Roald Dahl is the author of excellent avant-garde novels and also a mad writer Tim Burton. But perhaps you just found South Sudan on map and thought: why not? Ok. If you are reading this, the idea to go for a ride to South Sudan has just visited your restless mind, and we will try to share with you useful knowledge about this beautiful place.

A little bit about the country. History and geography

History and geography  Where is South Sudan? South Sudan is not difficult to find on the map. It is in East Africa. Neighbours: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. There is no access to the sea, of course. But there is the Nile Valley - the main attraction of the country and the main source of water. The North of the country is a vast swamp, formed by numerous Western tributaries and the floodplain of the Great River (Nile), this area is called Sudd and is considered one of the main attractions. Almost all this area is located at an altitude of 200 to 400 meters above sea level, and only in the south-west the relief becomes hillier, and in the southeast begins the spurs of the Great African Rift up to 2000 meters high. South Sudan on map are swamps, forests and rivers. The climate corresponds to the geographical position and the terrain. In the North, these are floodplain tropics of monsoon type (in some places turning into savannahs and bay meadows, the Nile has the property of spilling, we remember it from the school course of history). What are floodplain tropics? It is hot, stuffy and very damp, it is a warm swamp with trees. In the South, there are tropical forests. It is a primary jungle, a paradise for biologists. What is the primary jungle? It is a jungle, which has been in this territory ALWAYS. It is an unclimbed tropical forest with the largest number of wild animals in the world. Closer to Ethiopia (for a diversity) - dry semi-deserts and steppes. Vegetation is less, but almost no water. Sweet child The ancient Egyptians called these places the Nubus country. They believed that it is home to black magicians and fearless warriors who wear gold necklaces, weapons of unknown black metal of extraordinary strength and paint the skin on their hands. Another miracle of the Nub was black girls with heavenly blue eyes. The gems of Nub were given magical properties. Strictly speaking, the territory of the ancient country of Nub is the Nile valley in the South of the Sahara and further, to the sources of the Great River. Formally, these territories nowadays belong to Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Egypt. And even, perhaps, Uganda, where one of the sources of the Nile. The ancient Egyptians have made repeated attempts to reach the source of the Nile, and according to some sources, have gone far enough. So we can assume that they also considered South Sudan to be the Nub. And to get even further, they did not have the technical ability - remember the terrain and climate and imagine the ancient Egyptians. Can you imagine? Yes, their movements ended together with the Great River (on which they sailed), and there were no roads then. They are not in those places even now. There are mountains, jungle, wild ogre tribes, swamps full of different exotic animals and other details that do not contribute to a comfortable journey. By the way, cannibals in those places are not exotic, but local fashion, a common thing. The menu of locals includes a human, nothing personal or related to South Sudan religion, just the menu. To each his own, as they say, the main thing is not to treat you, if you go there. Due to the inaccessibility of the area, even the mystery of the Nile's origin was solved quite recently - about 150 years ago. There are two origins: White and Blue, and this is a separate fascinating story. To understand what this region is, you need at least superficially know the history of those places. So, this is East Africa. Huge territories, where tribes migrate. The period of prosperity, when the Nubus Country (Nubia) competed with Ancient Egypt (to which it was inferior) in the distant past, drawn by the fog of history. The remains of civilization (if they were, there is no reliable information about it) are completely buried under the bogs and jungles. The Arab and Ottoman empires tried to spread their influence but did not have successes in colonization - too far away, too wild and sparsely populated places, impenetrable Sudd swamps, resulting in fever, poisonous flora and fauna and dangerous diseases. Neither Arabs nor Turks entered the swamp, which allowed the local South Sudan population to preserve their original culture up to the European colonization, which occurred in the 19th century. The territory fell under the influence of England, were marked conditional borders, and all this was called the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, which formally existed until 1922, in reality until 1956, when due to the global processes of decolonization gained independence and with it state status. The British did not have time to discover Sudan; they had other concerns (opium wars, Anglo-Boer War - that's all). Therefore, these lands were left until calmer times, limiting their mission to the spread of common influence and South Sudan religion, to be exactly Christianity. In contrast to Islam, which was slowly but surely moving from the North. In general, neither Islam nor Christianity received active response from the population - to this day, residents are animists or animists, and sometimes a little bit of everything. Animalists deify animals, and here one can see the transformed cults of Ancient Egypt. And who are the animists? To be short, these are those who believe in spirits. Do you remember the black magicians in the notes of Egyptian travellers? Well, here we are talking about them. Shamans, sorcerers, mediums - all this is still there now, has an impact on the local South Sudan population and is of great interest to ethnographers. Travel to South Sudan Despite the formal religious division of Africa into Islamic and Christian countries, the local South Sudan population still adheres to traditional cults, adding details of monotheistic religions to their taste. Such a cocktail. South Sudan is a war. This is a stable word combination. The war calms down and then flares up with renewed force. In 1956, Sudan gained independence, which gave rise to the first South Sudan Civil War and then to the second one. Formally, it was considered an ethnic conflict with religious admixture: northern Islamists conflicted with the Christian South. In fact, as always, in Africa, financial groups were fighting for control over resources. All civilians were involved in the war, and generations of them grew up in a situation where the war was going on all the time. Why did the wars break out in the 20th century, and before that period the country was not interested in anyone? The answer is obvious. The main wealth of South Sudan is oil. When the world recovered a little and shook up after the Second World War, the struggle for resources broke out with new strength and in new places. To understand the bigger picture, let us give a few figures. South Sudan elephant South Sudan Civil War (First Civil War) 1955 - 1972, lasted 17 years, more than half a million civilians died. South Sudan Civil War (Second Civil War) 1983 - 2005, lasted 22 years, led to a humanitarian disaster, more than 2 million civilian deaths, more than 4 million refugees. 2011, the conflict in Kordofan. 2012, border conflict in Heglig. 2013, attempted coup d'etat. Each conflict is not a partisan attack. It is a full-scale armed conflict with thousands of dead and tens of thousands of refugees. It's a nice place, isn't it? Are you still going on a trip? Perfect! There will be no more horrors—next, only on the merits of the question.

South Sudan independence

South Sudan soldiers In 2011, as a result of the referendum, South Sudan gained independence. After this landmark event, neither conflicts nor coup attempts ended, but formally the new state's independent existence began in 2011. Judging by what is happening in the region, it will take at least several more decades for the phrase "South Sudan's independence" to stop being just words and gain some functional meaning.

Juba South Sudan

Juba South Sudan Are you wondering what is the capital of South Sudan? Well, Juba is the capital of South Sudan. I have never felt so confused when writing about the city. Let us say so. 7 facts about the capital of the youngest country in the world. Make your conclusions.
  1. Juba South Sudan, a population of over 400,000 South Sudan people (slightly less than Antwerp).
  2. Juba South Sudan, sewage - no, water pipes - no, electricity - no, roads - almost no (there are five asphalt streets). Water is drunk from the river. Food is cooked at bonfires. A toilet is a unique story. But there is a craze to make a toilet in an open place and, if possible, higher. For example, on a high stone or a rock. Sorry for the unnecessary details.
  3. Juba South Sudan. There is no garbage and recycling service. Remember about 400,000 inhabitants. Well, here we are.
  4. Juba South Sudan. 99% of buildings in the "capital of South Sudan" are mud huts under a reed roof or shacks made of woven branches. So what? It's warm there! There are several multi-storey buildings in the city. You can guess what is in them. Hint: in the neighbouring, prosperous and highly developed compared to South Sudan Uganda, two traffic lights. One is in front of the Presidential Palace. The second one is in front of the Ministry of Transport.
  5. Juba South Sudan. Special permission from the Ministry of Information is required to take photographs.
  6. Water for South Sudan is taken directly from the Nile. Along the river, there are many large and small pumping stations, and throughout the city a vast number of water carriers.
  7. In South Sudan, there are neither tourists nor regular flights of airlines. Entry to the country is from neighbouring countries, where you can get an entry tourist visa for 1 month.
Just a few more words about customs, traditions and the country as a whole:
  • Make-up base in South Sudan - scars. The local South Sudan population is decorating themselves with scars from infancy.
  • Southern Sudan has the most massive maternal mortality rate in the world.
  • Southern Sudan is a homophobic country.
  • South Sudan - one of the most underdeveloped economies in the world
- In South Sudan, you can buy a wife. The procedure is as follows: an auction is announced, bidders bid. Whose bid is higher, he will get married. So, for example, the winner of a sensational auction of 17-year-old Magai Matiop Ngong laid out 530 cows, 3 Land Cruiser cars and $10 000 for the bride. Today, this is the most expensive bride in South Sudan.
  • More than 5,000,000 South Sudan people have been affected by famine in 2017.
  • 30% of girls get married before the age of 15, 52% - before the age of majority.

Visa: South Sudan

South Sudan on the map After all the above, it is quite strange to see the phrase "visa South Sudan", isn't it? Nevertheless, it exists. You can get a visa in Ethiopia, Uganda or Kenya, from which you will enter this beautiful country. Russian tourists visa for South Sudan is issued for 1 month, costs $100, and the process of consideration takes no more than 3 days. By the way, if you need it urgently, grab another $10, and you will be discharged right in your presence. Also, you can get your visa directly at the airport itself (if you are there, for example, with some French pilots). Processing time is 5 minutes. And last but not least, about the important thing. As we remember, about half of the territory of South Sudan are swamps and wet jungle. Vaccinations! We will have to make them, unlike Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, where in general, it is more than safe to visit. South Sudan without vaccination is deadly dangerous. The list of mandatory vaccinations includes vaccinations against hepatitis (A and B), cholera, yellow fever, meningitis, rabies and typhoid. It is better to abstain from intimate contact with the local population (AIDS and more exotic diseases). It is also not recommended to drink from the river, eat from the ground and give wild animals with uncleaned teeth and claws your body parts for bites. Have a nice trip!

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