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South Sudan Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

South Sudan

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Egypt conquered the lands of current South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan under the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, and the areas were afterwards administered as an Anglo-Egyptian condominium until Sudanese independence was won in 1956. The Southern Sudan Autonomous Region was established in 1972 as a result of the First Sudanese Civil War and lasted until 1983. Soon after, a second Sudanese civil war erupted, which ended with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Later that year, an Autonomous Government of Southern Sudan was created, restoring southern autonomy.

South Sudan gained independence on July 9, 2011, following a referendum that received 98.83 percent of the vote. It is a member of the United Nations, the African Union, the East African Community, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. South Sudan ratified the Geneva Conventions on July 2012. South Sudan has experienced internal strife since its independence, and as of 2016, is ranked second on the Fragile States Index (formerly the Failed States Index).


South Sudan is located between the latitudes of 3° and 13°N and the longitudes of 24° and 36°E. It has tropical forest, wetlands, and grassland. The White Nile runs across the nation, stopping in Juba.


Bandingilo National Park in South Sudan is home to the world’s second-largest animal migration. Large concentrations of hartebeest, kob, topi, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, and lions have been found in Boma National Park, west of the Ethiopian border, as well as the Sudd wetland and Southern National Park near the Congo border.

The forest reserves of South Sudan also offered home for bongo, giant forest pigs, red river hogs, forest elephants, chimps, and forest monkeys. WCS surveys, which began in 2005 in collaboration with the semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan, showed that considerable, though reduced, animal populations still persist, and that, surprisingly, the massive movement of 1.3 million antelopes in the southeast remains mostly intact.

Grasslands, high-altitude plateaus and escarpments, forested and grassy savannas, floodplains, and wetlands are among the habitats found in the nation. The indigenous white-eared kob and Nile Lechwe, as well as elephants, giraffes, common eland, giant eland, oryx, lions, African wild dogs, cape buffalo, and topi, are among the associated animal species (locally called tiang). Little is known about the white-eared kob and tiang, two species of antelope whose mythical migrations preceded the civil war. Boma National Park, wide pasturelands and floodplains, Bandingilo National Park, and the Sudd, a large expanse of marsh and seasonally flooded grasslands that contains the Zeraf Wildlife Reserve, are all part of the Boma-Jonglei Landscape Area.

The fungi of South Sudan are little understood. S.A.J. Tarr compiled a list of fungi in Sudan, which was published in 1955 by the Commonwealth Mycological Institute (Kew, Surrey, UK). The list, which comprised 383 species in 175 genera, includes all fungus discovered within the country’s borders at the time. Many of the documents are about what is now South Sudan. The majority of the species discovered were linked to agricultural problems. The actual number of fungus species in South Sudan is most likely considerably greater.

President Kiir said in 2006 that his administration will do all in its power to preserve and spread South Sudanese wildlife and flora, as well as to mitigate the impacts of wildfires, trash dumping, and water contamination. The growth of the economy and infrastructure endangers the environment.

South Sudan is divided into many ecoregions, including the East Sudanian savanna, the Northern Congolian forest-savanna mosaic, the Saharan flooded grasslands (Sudd), the Sahelian Acacia savanna, the East African montane forests, and the Northern Acacia-Commiphora bushlands and thickets.


South Sudan has a climate that is comparable to that of an Equatorial or tropical climate, with a wet season marked by high humidity and significant quantities of rainfall followed by a dry season. The average temperature is usually high, with July being the coldest month with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 °C (68 to 86 °F) and March being the hottest month with temperatures ranging from 23 to 37 °C (73 to 98 °F).

The rainiest months are May and October, although the rainy season may begin in April and last until November. May is the wettest month on average. The season is “affected by the yearly shift of the Inter-Tropical Zone” and the change to southerly and southwesterly winds, which results in somewhat lower temperatures, greater humidity, and increased cloud coverage.


South Sudan has a population of 8 to 10 million people (the precise number is debatable) with a mainly rural, subsistence economy. Since 1956, this area has been adversely impacted by conflict in all but ten years, resulting in chronic neglect, a lack of infrastructure development, and significant damage and displacement. As a consequence of the civil war and its aftermath, more than 2 million people have perished, and more than 4 million have been internally displaced or have become refugees.

Ethnic groups

South Sudan’s main ethnic groups include the Dinka, who number over one million people (about 15% of the total population), the Nuer (roughly 10%), the Bari, and the Azande. The Shilluk are a historically important polity along the White Nile, and their language is linked to Dinka and Nuer. Shilluk and Northeastern Dinka traditional areas are nearby.


Traditional indigenous faiths, Christianity, and Islam are among the religions practiced by South Sudanese. The most recent census to include southerners’ religion goes back to 1956, when the majority were categorized as following traditional beliefs or being Christian, while 18 percent were Muslim. According to scholarly and US Department of State sources, the majority of southern Sudanese adhere to traditional indigenous (sometimes referred to as animist) beliefs, with Christians constituting a minority (albeit an influential minority), making South Sudan a country where the majority of people adhere to traditional indigenous religion. However, the majority of the population adheres to Christianity, according to the United States State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report of 2012, but accurate data on animist and Muslim belief are unavailable.

According to the US Library of Congress’ Federal Research Division, “in the early 1990s, probably little more than 10% of southern Sudan’s population was Christian.” In the early 1990s, official Sudanese statistics said that 25% of the population of what was then known as South Sudan practiced traditional faiths and 5% were Christians. However, according to certain news sources, there is a Christian majority, and the US Episcopal Church claims a significant number of Anglican followers from the Episcopal Church of Sudan: 2 million members in 2005.

Similarly, the Catholic Church has been the biggest single Christian entity in Sudan since 1995, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia, with 2.7 million Catholics mostly concentrated in South Sudan. According to a Pew Research Center study on religion and public life published on December 18, 2012, in 2010, 60.5 percent of South Sudan’s population was Christian, 32.9 percent practiced traditional African religions, and 6.2 percent were Muslim.

Sudan’s Presbyterian Church is the third biggest denomination in the country. It has about 1,000,000 members spread over 500 congregations. Some publications characterized the pre-partition battles as a Muslim-Christian war, while others disagree, saying that Muslim and Christian forces occasionally overlapped.

South Sudanese President Kiir, a Roman Catholic, said at Saint Theresa Cathedral in Juba that his country will protect religious freedom. The majority of Christians are Catholic and Anglican, but other faiths are active, and animist ideas are often mixed with Christian beliefs.


South Sudan’s economy is one of the world’s most undeveloped, with minimal existing infrastructure and the worst maternal mortality and female illiteracy rates in the world as of 2011. South Sudan sells wood on the international market. Petroleum, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, diamonds, hardwoods, limestone, and hydropower are among the natural resources found in the area. The economy of the nation, like that of many other developing countries, is largely reliant on agriculture.

Other similar organizations, in addition to natural resource-based firms, include Southern Sudan Beverages Limited, a subsidiary of SABMiller.


Since the late twentieth century, the oilfields in the south have been important to the economy. South Sudan possesses the Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil reserves. However, when South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, southern and northern negotiators were unable to reach an agreement on how to divide the income from these southern oilfields.

South Sudan is believed to have four times the oil reserves of Sudan. According to the Comprehensive Peace Pact (CPA), oil earnings were divided evenly for the term of the agreement. Because South Sudan depends on pipelines, refineries, and Port Sudan facilities in Sudan’s Red Sea state, the deal stipulated that the Sudanese government in Khartoum would get a 50 percent share of all oil earnings. This system was kept in place throughout the second era of autonomy, which lasted from 2005 to 2011.

Northern negotiators allegedly pushed for a settlement that maintained the 50–50 share of oil income in the run-up to independence, while South Sudanese reportedly demanded more favorable conditions. According to the southern government’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, oil earnings account for more than 98 percent of the government’s budget and have totaled more than $8 billion in income since the signing of the peace deal.

South Sudan protested after independence to Sudan charging US$34 per barrel to transport oil via the pipeline to the oil terminal at Port Sudan. With a daily output of approximately 30,000 barrels, this was costing more than a million dollars. South Sudan halted oil production in January 2012, resulting in a significant drop in income and a 120 percent increase in food prices.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is a significant investor in the oil industry of South Sudan. According to the International Monetary Fund, South Sudan’s economy is under pressure to diversify away from oil, since oil reserves are expected to half by 2020 if no fresh discoveries are found (IMF).


In terms of South Sudan’s foreign debt, Sudan and South Sudan share a debt of about 38 billion dollars, which has accrued over the last five decades. Though a small portion of this debt is owed to international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (approximately 5.3 billion according to a 2009 report provided by the Bank of Sudan), the majority of its debt load is owed to numerous foreign actors that have provided the nation with financial loans, including the Paris Club (over 11 billion dollars) and also the World Bank (approximately 5.3 billion) (over 13 billion dollars).

The Paris Club is an informal club of 19 of the world’s most powerful economies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Canada, whereas non-Paris Club bilateral creditors are any institution that does not have permanent/associated status as a Paris Club member. The bulk of the rest is accounted for by private bilateral creditors (i.e. private commercial banks and private credit providers) (approximately 6 billion of the total debt).

While it is possible to arrive at a relatively accurate determination of the region’s total debt accumulation, it is not yet possible to determine precisely how much debt the newly formed nation of South Sudan carries independently, as an agreement between Sudan and South Sudan on this highly contentious issue has not yet been reached.

How To Travel To South Sudan

By planeThere are no direct commercial flights from outside of Africa at the moment. Most airlines flying into Juba leave from Cairo (Egypt), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Entebbe (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya), and Khartoum (Sudan), from whence you should be able to arrange flights to and from Europe, Asia, or the...

Visa & Passport Requirements for South Sudan

Because South Sudan just recently gained independence, the immigration laws are still subject to modification. They have, however, replaced the previously utilized travel permits with appropriate visas in your passport. Visas cost USD100 and are available at all border checkpoints including Juba International Airport. The duration of the visas...

Culture Of South Sudan

South Sudan's culture has been significantly impacted by its neighbors as a result of the many years of civil conflict. Many South Sudanese refugees went to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda, where they mingled with locals and acquired their languages and cultures. Most of those who stayed in the nation...

History Of South Sudan

South Sudan's Nilotic people—the Acholi, Anyuak, Bari, Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Kaligi (Arabic Feroghe), Zande, and others—arrived in the country before the 10th century. Tribal migrations, mostly from the region of Bahr el Ghazal, transported the Anyuak Dinka, Nuer, and Shilluk to their current positions in both the Bahr El...

Stay Safe & Healthy in South Sudan

Although the degree of violence has decreased since the country's creation and the conclusion of the civil war, South Sudan remains hazardous for travel due to ceasefire breaches and border disputes. Traveling near the Sudan or Central African Republic borders is very hazardous. Western countries continue to warn against...



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