South Sudan is a country in Africa. Formerly a breakaway region of Sudan, it became an independent country on 9 July 2011 after a referendum was held in January that year. It borders Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.
South Sudan had been home of semi-nomadic cattle herding peoples for most of its history. Its formal ownership has changed hands from the Egyptians, Ottomans, British and Sudanese. After half a century of ethno-religious conflict South Sudan legally seceded from Sudan on 9 July 2011.
Since South Sudan is located near the Equator in the tropics, much of its landscape consists of tropical rain forest. South Sudan also has extensive swamp and grassland regions.
The White Nile, a main tributary of the Nile River, also passes through the country.
The highest point in South Sudan is Kinyeti at 10,456 feet (3,187 m).
South Sudanese culture varies by ethnicity. Zande, a Bantu people, will have very different language, legend and dance from the Shilluk, a Nilotic people.
English is the official language of South Sudan, and is widely spoken by those who have had the opportunity of going to school.
Juba Arabic - an Arabic-based pidgin - is used as a lingua franca in the city of Juba. However, owing to the presence of many thousands of foreign - chiefly Kenyan and Ugandan - UN and NGO personnel, Juba Arabic is rapidly being supplanted by English and Swahili. Since South Sudan was part of Sudan for a century, some South Sudanese are conversant in either Sudanese Arabic or Modern Standard Arabic.
All indigenous languages are recognized as national languages in South Sudan. Of the indigenous languages, Dinka is the most widely spoken language closely followed by Nuer. Jur Modo, Bari, Chollo/Shilluk, and Zande are also spoken there.
Most indigenous languages are non-standard macro-languages, variations in dialect and accent are significant so universal intelligibility should not be assumed.
As South Sudan achieved independence only recently, the immigration rules are still subject to change.
All other visitors must obtain a visa from one of the South Sudan diplomatic missions before departure, unless they are of South Sudani origin. The visa is needed to board an aircraft to South Sudan, and costs $100 USD.
Holders of diplomatic, official, service and special passports issued to nationals of any country can obtain a visa on arrival.
Most airlines flying into Juba depart from Cairo (Egypt), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Entebbe (Uganda) or Nairobi (Kenya) Khartoum (Sudan) to/from where you should be able to manage flights to Europe, Asia or the Americas. Flydubai has regular flights from Dubai to Juba.
South Sudan has a rainy season which lasts from May to November. The rainy season massively limits roads and other transportation due to South Sudan's roads being dirt tracks and in the rainy season, they turn into mud tracks. The only paved roads South Sudan has are in major cities like Juba and Rumbek. The 190 Kilometers from Nimule on the Ugandan Border to Juba has recently been paved. Work is underway to upgrade the road from Juba to Bor.
Safaris to Boma National Park and Nimule National Park. See the parks by 4x4 vehicle or aircraft. See the greatest migration of mammals on the earth in Boma National Park. Contact the following companies for safaris: Bahr El Jebel Safaris,
Most South Sudanese is very similar to Sudanese cuisine. Restaurants for both international and local cuisine can be found in Juba and other major city centers.
The drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 18.
A brewery has opened up in Juba, providing the country with Nile Beer.
Fresh fruit juices are available throughout Sudan. One of the local juices is "aradeab" (tamarind).
Starting in August 2012, Sudan and South Sudan have been fighting along the border of the two countries and traveling to the Sudan-South Sudan border is very dangerous and highly discouraged! Please be very careful while you are traveling in this area, so you do not get injured or killed. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT going across the gated and secured border into Sudan. This is highly dangerous as well. Updated October 2012, due to continued violent disruptions journalist permits honored by Sudan are sporadically recognized as sufficient identification in South Sudan. Bribing is a possibility, but does not guarantee entry into South Sudan. Islamist groups such as Janjaweed also intermittently operate in the country.
A warning to LGBT travelers:
Homosexuality is ILLEGAL in South Sudan, as in the north. Men found having homosexual sex can be sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment (Wikipedia: LGBT rights in South Sudan); the penalty for women is unknown (Wikipedia: LGBT rights in South Sudan). If you are gay or lesbian and thinking of traveling to South Sudan, you should take extreme precaution.
The area from Juba to the Mundari and Dinka cattle camps is relatively safe.
As with all countries a respect for the native culture is essential. Due to the multi-ethnic demography of South Sudan some people might take offense to being mistaken for others. It is best not to assume a person speaks a particular language or holds particular custom which is representative of another ethnic group.