South Sudan is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa. It is bordered by Sudan to the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya, Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south and Central African Republic to the west.
After 50 years of intermittent civil war with the northern half of Sudan, South Sudan signed a cease fire in 2005 and with a 97% vote for independence, South Sudan became a nation in July 2011.The country has experienced nothing but turbulence since the independence. And despite being rich in natural resources, the country is suffering from poverty and hunger. Let’s hope and pray that the tough times get over soon and the country can shine in a new light of peace and happiness.
Few facts about South Sudan
1. South Sudan is the youngest country in the world. It gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a bloody civil war.
2. South Sudan is a very poor and under-developed country. The civil war has caused a lot of damage to the economy with the value of the country’s currency on a constant decline. Right now the country has the lowest GDP per capita in the world.
3. South Sudan has extensive oil fields that form the basis of the country’s economy. But since the country is landlocked, it runs almost all of its pipelines through Sudan. After a 2012 dispute with Sudan, there is a temporary suspension in production of oil which has shaken the economy.
4. Most people in the country reside in rural areas and live on less than a dollar a day. People live in thatched-roofed houses located in areas with poor sanitation. Eighty percent of the population has no access to any toilet facility.
5. In South Sudan, the wealth is measured by the number of cattle that each family owns. It is also common to pay a man in cattle for the opportunity to marry his daughter should there be several men competing for her.
6. The country also suffers from a poor education and healthcare system. South Sudan has the highest illiteracy rate in the world. Only 16% of South Sudanese children ever go to school and only 1.9% complete primary school.
7. South Sudan is a multilingual country with people speaking over 60 indigenous languages because of the diversity of their ethnic groups.
8. The first child born after the independence of South Sudan was a boy and was given the name ‘Independent’. However, the child died one year after his birth.
9. Communal meal sharing is a common practice among most of the communities in the country. People prefer to live in close proximity to their families and relatives.
10. South Sudan has an abundance of wildlife including giraffes, buffalos, lions, elephants and hartebeest (large antelope).
Boma National Park is home to one of the world’s great wildlife migrations where an estimated 1.3 million antelope move across the landscape in search of good grazing. This discovery has brought the country into limelight. The country is trying to focus on tourism to boost the economy of the region.
11. A lot of people have fled their homes due to the violence during civil wars. As of 2019, more than 7 million Sudanese were in need of humanitarian assistance.
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting South Sudan:
Boma National Park: Visit the park to witness one of the world’s greatest wildlife migration. About two million animals including kobs, gazelle and other antelope species move from the Sudds and Bandingilo National Park to Boma National Park and then to Ethiopia.
Climb the Imatong Mountains which lies close to the border with Uganda. Mount Kinyeti is the highest mountain of the range at 3,187 meters (10,456 feet), and also the highest in the whole of South Sudan. The surroundings are stunning with pristine views and you also get an opportunity to be in touch with the wilderness of the country. The Imatong Forest reserve is also home to many animals like leopards, buffaloes and elephants.
Canoe on the Sudd. The Nile River passes through the country forming one of the world’s largest wetlands. Paddle your canoe with the hippos as your company.
Wau: Wau is a multicultural city with several of South Sudan’s most populous tribal groups living here. The city has a lot to offer; from old colonial Buildings to the ramshackle huts and marketplaces constructed from the raw materials of the African bush. You can also visit the cathedral here which is famous for the architecture and its huge size.