As you may know, South Sudan is known to be the youngest country in the world. Situated in northeastern Africa, surrounded by Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, this country gained independence on July 9th, 2011, after nearly 50 years of civil war, conflict, and struggle. The young nation counts slightly over 11 million people today, with more than 80 ethnic groups among them.
The diversity of its people and culture makes South Sudan a unique place to explore, with a fascinating history and stunning landscapes, that many are still discovering. If you have never considered traveling to South Sudan, let me take you on a journey to this young country, and let’s discover it together.
Before we dive into the details, let’s start with some facts about South Sudan. The official language is English, but Arabic and other local languages are also widely spoken. The capital city is Juba, which is conveniently situated near the River Nile, which flows through the eastern part of the country. The currency is the South Sudanese pound, and the time zone is GMT+3.
South Sudan is famous for its vast wildernesses, tropical forests, and savannah plains teeming with wildlife. The country is home to several National Parks, including Boma National Park, Nimule National Park, and the Southern National Park, which is located along the border with Uganda. These parks offer an incredible chance to see diverse flora and fauna, from elephants, giraffes, zebras, and lions to hippos, crocodiles, and gazelles.
One of the most popular things to do when visiting South Sudan is to explore the Sudd wetland, one of the largest wetlands in the world, extending over 130,000 square kilometers. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, including birds, insects, fish, and reptiles, as well as dozens of mammal species, including hyenas, antelopes, elephants, and the rare sitatunga antelope.
South Sudan is also rich in history and culture. The Dinka, Nuer, Bari, and other ethnic groups in the country have unique traditions, beliefs, and customs that are worth exploring. During your visit, make sure to attend some tribal ceremonies and dances or visit traditional villages to learn more about their livings and lifestyles.
Juba, the capital city, offers a variety of attractions for travelers interested in South Sudan’s history and culture. The city has several museums, including the Juba museum, which showcases the country’s rich cultural heritage, and the John Garang Mausoleum, which honors the late leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). Other places of interest include the Konyo Konyo Market, the St. Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, and the Juba University.
But South Sudan isn’t just about wildlife and culture; it also features stunning landscapes that are perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. The country has several mountains and hills, including Mount Kinyeti, which is the highest peak in South Sudan, reaching an elevation of 3,187 meters. Hiking up this mountain is an excellent way to experience the breathtaking views of South Sudan’s beautiful countryside.
One of the most significant advantages of traveling to South Sudan lies in the hospitality of the local people. They are friendly, welcoming, and eager to share their culture and history with visitors.
However, traveling to South Sudan may present some challenges, mainly due to various civil unrest and security issues in some parts of the country. Visitors are advised to take precautions and follow the latest travel advisories issued by their respective governments.
In conclusion, South Sudan is a young, vibrant, and exciting country that is still largely undiscovered by tourists. It offers a unique blend of wildlife, culture, history, and stunning landscapes that are worth exploring. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and start your journey to discover the world’s youngest country.