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Exploring Tourism in South Sudan
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South Sudan Popular Places to Visit

Pibor

Pibor is located in Pibor CountyJonglei State, in eastern South Sudan, near the border with Ethiopia. It lies approximately 342 kilometres (213 mi), by road, northeast of Juba, the capital and largest city of the country

Pibor Post is a colonial era outpost built in 1912 by the British and was originally called Fort Bruce. The town serves as the headquarters of Pibor County, one of the constituent counties of Jonglei State. The Pibor River, formed by the confluence of several smaller streams, begins its journey at Pibor. The river then flows north, receiving the Akobo River near Akobo. Eventually, after receiving the Gillo River and the Bela River, it joins the Baro River to form the Sobat River.

A major gravel road leads north to Akobo at the border with Ethiopia. Another major gravel road leads southwest out of Pibor to the town of Bor, the capital of Jonglei State. The town is also served by Pibor Airport.

As of July 2011, it is estimated that the population of Pibor Post is 1,000 people or fewer.[2]

Boma National Park, the largest national park in South Sudan, lies about 65 kilometres (40 mi), by road, east of Pibor Post.

Pibor, South Sudan

Imatong Forest Reserve

 

Lowland tropical forest of Imatong

The entrance to this reserve is reached by driving 192 kilometers from Juba east to Torit and then driving 60 kilometers south to Katire. Katire is an old British Forestry station built next to a running stream.

The forest has been heavily logged for timber and charcoal since British colonial times, with much of the reserve in secondary growth. Plantations of teak, Australian Eucalyptus and soft woods have been planted in some areas. In the 1950s it was ruled that there could be no logging above the 1500 meter level (4900 feet), but that is difficult to enforce. The Lotuko, Acholi and Lango tribes all make use of the reserve that covers 1032 square kilometers (103,200 hectares).

Rainfall in the reserve is the highest in all of South Sudan measuring 2261 mm annually.

The highest peak in all of South Sudan is located within the reserve called Mount Kinyeti at 3187 meters (10,456 feet).12 major streams/small rivers originate out of the reserve which feed into the Badingalo National Park.

Blue Monkeys are found in the Imatong Forest

 A 1984 report listed Bushbuck, Blue Duiker, Colobus Monkey,Blue Monkey, Elephant, Leopard, Nile Buffalo and Hyeana in the reserve. Today the Elephant and Buffalo are gone. It is estimated that over 500 species of bird use the forest, many migrating between Europe and Kenya. The endangered "Spotted Ground Thrush" is found in the reserve.

See this link for a more thorough description of the complex area of the Imatong - Wikipedia

See this link for a description and maps of past logging operations - 1977 Forestry Report

See this link for a bird list of the forrest - Bird List

Spotted Ground Thrush

Gneiss rock hills within the reserve

Base of Mount Kinyeti, highest mountain in South Sudan

 

Torit, South Sudan

Lontoto National Park

 

Bahr El Jebel Safaris does not operate in this park yet. Rebel activity in the park hunting for meat for their fighters and poaching for ivory have stopped us. Hopefully this situation will change,  because the park is a one day drive from Juba, which is logisticaly easy for tourists.

The park is 760 square kilometers (290 square miles) and lies up against the border with DR Congo. The nearest large town is Yambio. Lontoto Park and Garamba National park of DR Congo are seperated only by the international border.

The park boundaries have not been de marcated. The plant life is a combination of woodland, forest and open grassland.

No survey of the wildlife has been made of Lontoto Park. Directly across the unmarked border with DR Congo in Garamba National Park there are - elephant (estimated 2000 in number), Nile buffalo, Hippo, Uganda Kob, Roan antelope and Giraffe. The park was also the location of the last population of Northern White Rhino (now exinct). 

Garamba National Park in DR Congo which is an extension of Lontoto National Park in South Sudan. Only an unmarked international border seperates the two parks.

 

Yei, South Sudan

Zeraf Game Reserve And The Sudd

     
   

The great Sudd is a swamp the size of England that has blocked exploration from Egypt into Africa for centuries. Alan Moorehead in his book "The White Nile", wrote that for the early explorers searching for the source of the Nile - "...there is no more formidable swamp in the world".

The Nile River flowing north spreads into a huge basin called the "Sudd" (Arabic for "block" due large floating islands of vegetation blocking the river), and then reappears again as a river near Malakal. During the wet season the Sudd can reach the size of 130,000 square kilometers (or 50,193 square miles), depending on the out flow from Lake Victoria in Uganda. The Sudd is a maze of channels and lagoons created by papyrus and other grasses, best seen by using satellite imagery (See our map page and our home page on this web site).

The Zeraf Game Reserve protects most of the central part of the Sudd wetland at a size of 970,000 hectares (2,400,000 acres) or 9,700 square kilometres (3,700 sq miles) and was set aside in the year 1939. The game reserve is important in protecting populations of Nile Lechwe antelope, Sitatunga antelope and Hippopotamus, not to mention the enourmous numbers of migrating birds.

A large portion of this reserve is on Zeraf Island, which floods every wet season. The island is bounded on the west by the White Nile and on the east by the Bahr el Zeraf river.

We do not offer safaris in the Sudd or the reserve at this time.

The Sudd was designated as a Ramsar Wetland of International importance on 5 june 2006.

Click the following link for a good bird lists compiled for the Sudd wetland:

 BIRD LIST FOR THE SUDD

The great Sudd is the size of England, in the wet season (130,000 square kilometers). The Nile River spreads out into this huge basin on its way north and becomes one of the largest swamps in the world. The Nile then reemerges in the north and becomes a river once again. Above is the main channel of the Nile through the Sudd, with a River barge transporting goods. River transport between Juba and Kosti (1436 kilometers, 892 miles) had no overland alternative until the 1980s.

Dinka village on the Nile during the wet season.

The Sudd provides food and water to a large population of migrating birds, with more than 400 species including Shoebills, Great White Pelicans and Black crowned cranes. The swamp is a haven for large populations of antelopes such as Nile Lechwe, Tiang, Reedbuck, White-eared Kob, Bushbuck, Waterbuck, and Sitatunga. Crocodiles and Hippopotami are common. Elephants have been known to seek refuge on some of the islands. Giant perch, talapia, tiger fish, cat-fish and a host of other fishes inhabit the waters 

It is estimated that there are 1013 species of birds in South Sudan, more than any country in the world (Uganda claims 1008 species). 

Shoebill at Bor, along the River Nile.

Temporary hunting and fishing camp in the Sudd-drying meat

Floating Island in the Sudd with temporary camp- Robert Caputo photo

The Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk pastoralists use the Sudd and the surrounding area. Cattle, fishing, hunting and rain dependant agriculture are the means of support for these people who can be found on islands, banks of the river and on seasonal floating islands of vegetation, who we will visit. Floating islands of papyrus break free of their roots when flooding exceeds 150 cm in water depth. People, animals, birds make their homes temporarily on these islands until they break up.

Dinka cattle camp on the River Nile. The smoke of cooking fires rise in the wind. 

Black crowned cranes

Male Cinnamon Weaver. This bird is in its breeding plumage in the wet season (June-Aug) and is common in the Sudd.

The Sudd is a maze created by the Bahr el Zeraf River (sea of the Giraffes) branching off from the Bahr el Jebel River (sea of the mountains-the main channel) and then returning to join together near Malakal. Then the Bahr el Ghazal River (Sea of the Gazelles) joins the main river channel of Bahr el Jebel  at Lake No in the center of the Sudd. At Malakal, the Sobat River joins the system to flow north as the White Nile. Water levels can fluctuate up to 1.5 meters (4.5 feet) depending on the annual flood. The area of the swamp at full flood extends from Mongalla in the south to Malakal in the north, a distance of 500 kilometers (310 miles) and a width of 200 kilometers (124 miles) east to west.

   River barge used on the Nile.

 

 

Juba Nile River Harbor, the departing pointing for the voyage north. River barges loading cargo and people to travel to Khartoum.

 

Fishermen, in a dug-out canoe, offering their catch for sale.

 

Malakal, South Sudan

Southern National Park

Bahr El Jebel Safaris does not operate in Southern National Park yet.  Fauna & Flora International a non-profit based in the United Kingdom, was supporting the re-creation of the park infrastructure. They had a base of operations just south of the park at Yambio. They were searching the vast park for the possibility of the Northern White Rhino still existing, but failed to find evidence that it still existed.

See: http://www.fauna-flora.org/explore/south-sudan/

The park is enourmous being roughly 7,800 square miles (4,992,000 acres) or 20,194 square kilometers (2,019,400 hectares). The park was created in 1939 when the area was part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. The River Sue creates the western boundary of the park, which eventually turns into into the Bahr el Ghazel as it passes through Wau. The River Ibba flows through the center of the park and the River Gel flows through the eastern part of the park.

 In 1949 a report about the park listed the following wildlife-

(to read this interesting report on the park link to 1949)

  • Nile Buffalo (the dominant mammal in 1949)
  • Giraffe (a 1981 aerial census located 2,095 Giraffe in the park and near the park - in 2007 an aerial census could not locate any Giraffe)
  • Elephant
  • Giant Eland
  • Waterbuck
  • Oribi
  • Kob
  • Hartebeeste
  • Colobus Monkey
  • Giant Forest Hog
  • Lions
  • Baboon
  • Bush-baby
  • Crocodile
  • Warthog
  • White Rhino (believed extinct, but a search is under way)
  • Tilapia
  • Cat-fish (1 meter long)
  • Lung Fish (Polypterus bichir)
  • Eel Fish (Gymnarchus niloticus)
  • Marabou stork
  • Pelican

In 1949 most of the park was covered by tall grass, often 15 feet high, in the wet season. There are also two types of islands of tropical forests within the grassland called:

Anogeissus forest, where the bush-baby are located.

- Granite koppie with gallery forest, where colobus and Giant Forest Hog are located.

Recently Wild Dog have been reported along the north edge of the park.

 

 Colobus Monkey

On the road to wau, after tonj, during the wet season. Near the northern entrance to the park. Ernest Mukabi photo.

Chameleon found in the park.

 
Rumbek, South Sudan

Juba City

Archaeological evidence shows that a culture based upon cattle raising has been present in the area since 3000 BC.

The area of present day Juba had various names in the past and the actual army post or trading post shifted locations many times. In 1862 the army post Faloro, located some where south of present day Nimule, was the southern limits of the Eqyptian army control. Faloro was supplied and controlled from the Garrison at Gondokoro, near present day Juba. In 1863 Gondokoro was on the east bank of the Nile and on the island of Gondokoro, whereas today Juba is on the west bank of the Nile.

The Nile River, with Juba on the right bank. Gondokoro Island in mid river. looking south.

In 1874 the newly appointed Governor of Equatoria, Charles Gordon, moved the army garrison to Lado, due to local tribes taking the Gondokoro Garrison's cattle and the soldier's bouts of Malaria, however the river port was called Rejaf, which is just south of present day Juba. In 1922 a group of Greek traders actually settled the location of modern Juba.

In the 1930s and 40s Juba was a base for the great flying boats that came down from Europe to Cairo and onward to South Africa. The aircraft would land in the Nile River to re-fuel.

Imperial Airways flying boat in the Nile River at Khartoum about 1930. Today Kenya Airways, Fly Dubai, Ethiopian Airlines,Rwanda Air all fly into the Juba International Airport with daily flights from Nairobi, Dubai, Entebbe, Kigale and Addis.

After the peace accords were signed between Northern Sudan and Southern Sudan in 2005, the town  started to explode with people coming from all over the world. Merchants from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, England, France, Greece, USA, China, Korea, U.A.E. all came to Juba to build a new nation and seek their fortunes. Hotels, restaurants, shops sprung up, often over night. Pre-fabricated buildings were shipped north. Water purification plants built. The country was given the international country code for phoning of 211.  Airlines added Juba to their routes. Daily tanker trucks come north from Mombasa (a 3000 kilometer trip roundtrip) bringing gasoline and diesel for vehicles and jet fuel for aircraft, to this oil rich nation, without a refinerary. A new airport terminal is under construction.The road to Nimule and the Ugandan border, has been rebuilt and paved.

North of Juba is the great Sudd swamp. A swamp the size of Great Britian, considered the largest in the world. Here a river barge passes through the swamp in the Nile River channel.

Juba, South Sudan

Kidepo Valley Game Reserve

In Uganda there is the world famous Kidepo Valley National Park. Directly across the International border in South Sudan exists the Kidepo Valley Game Reserve. There is no fense between the two parks, just an imaginary line of the international border. The Kidepo River originates in South Sudan's Kidepo Valley Game Reserve and flows into Uganda's Kidepo Valley National Park.

The Ugandan park is a virtual Eden, where the animals have learned not to fear humans. Elephants, zebras, Defassa waterbucks come right up to the hotel in the park. Additionally in the park are Lions, Nile Buffalo, Cheetah, Ostrich, jackson's Hartebeeste, Jackel, Wild Dog, Warthog, Dik Dik and Giraffe.

The Boya people live within the South Sudan Kidepo Game Reserve and they will be visited during any safari to the reserve.

Kidepo Game Reserve in South Sudan is 1442 square kilometers in size (557 square miles). It is rugged savannah dominated by 2750 meters (9020 feet) high Mount Morungole and transected by Kidepo and Narus Rivers. Along the Kidepo River there are groves of Palm trees that bear nuts in February, March and April that attract elephants.

Nile Buffalo herd on the Ugandan side of the border between the two parks . The mounains are in South Sudan

Boya Tribal warriors demonstrating prowess to elders in 1979. The Boya live within the Kidepo Game Reserve of South Sudan - Patti Langton Photo

 

Kapoeta, South Sudan

Bandingalo National Park

Giraffe in Bandigalo National Park. It is uncertain which sub-species of Giraffe exists in South Sudan. There is debate it could be the Rothchild's, Nubian or Kordofan sub-species. South Sudan is the intersection of these three sub-species. All three sub-species are low in total population numbers: Kordofan- 2500, Rothchild's- 670 and Nubian- 250. More reserach is required. See: http://www.giraffeconservation.org/giraffe_facts.php?pgid=6

In the start of the the wet season April, May, the herds are migrating into Bandigalo National Park from Boma National Park, stay in the park June, July August and then start to migrate out in September and October. See our home page of this web site for an animated map of the migration movement. The major animals that migrate in and out of the park, are white-eared kob antelope, Tiang antelope, Mongalla gazelle and Elephant. The animals congregate in this park during the European Summer vacation time, making it an excellent time to see wildlife in South Sudan.

Bandigalo (also known as Bandingilo or Badingilo) National Park has changed size and absorbed Mongalla Game Reserve with changing requirements to preserve a larger area and protect the animals present and the migration. Roughly the park is now 8000 square kilometers (800,000 hectares or 1,976,000 acres) in size.

 

White-eared Kob. The darker individuals are males, the tan individuals are females. It is estimated that there are 800,000 to 1 million of these animals in the migration between Boma and Bandingalo. They are present in the park in the wet season.

There are additionally Giraffe, Nile Buffalo, Hippo, Zebra, Hyaena, Olive Baboon, Wild Dog, Caracal, Eland, lelwel Hartebeest, Cheetah and considerable bird life all year.

If you come into the park with us during the wet or rainy season there are days of rain and days of no rain. Road conditions will be muddy, but there will be a lot animals to view.

Bandigalo National Park headquarters funded by WCS

Juba, South Sudan

Nimule National Park

On the border with Uganda is Nimule National Park. The Nile River cuts along the eastern border of the park for 48 kilometers. The road from Uganda to Juba cuts along the eastern border of the park next to the Nile. The park has 41,000 hectares or 101,270 acres and was originally created to protect the White Rhino, which is now extinct. The park is the most accessable of South Sudan's parks. A three hour drive from Juba (190 kilometers/118 miles)), on a newly reconstructed paved road (the only paved road in South Sudan), makes visiting the park, all year, possible. 

A herd of elephant have made the park their home, realizing they are safe in the park. Most often they are found on an island in the Nile called Opekoloe. This herd of about 70 animals wanders back and forth across the border with Uganda.

Ocassionally the Uganda Wildlife rangers must chase the elephants back into South Sudan, when the elephants raid the farms of Ugandan villages. See this link about the south sudan elephant herd being returned from Uganda - UWA story

 

Elephants in the Nile River at Nimule National Park

WILDLIFE:

Elephant, Uganda Kob, Lelwel Hartbeeste, Crocodile, Duiker, Hippo, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Oribi, Leopard, Serval, Olive Baboon, Vervet monkey, Warthog, perhaps Chimpanzee in the wet season and incredible bird life exist in the park.

Hippos in the Nile River at Nimule National Park

Uganda Kob in Nimule Park

Nimule, South Sudan

Boma National Park

As water sources dry up after the seasonal rains, and then again when the seasonal rains return, enormous herds of animals migrate in Boma National Park, South Sudan. It is estimated that the migration is far greater than the famous migration of the Serengeti, where nearly 2,000,000 animals search for grazing. See the map on the home page of this web site to locate Boma National Park and an animated movement of the migration.

See following link to an excellent video about collaring of elephants, Kob and Tiang in Boma National Park, by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the South Sudan Wildlife Service-

Every year the movement takes place at different times depending on the rains.

Elephant herd from the air in Boma National Park. Some of the elephants have been radio collared so that they can be tracked. See the November 2010 issue of National Georgraphic about elephants being radio collared in Boma.

Boma National Park is the largest park or reserve in all of Africa. Many people say Kruger or Ruaha or Virunga are the largest, but no it is Boma at 22,800 square kilometers. Boma National Park is 2,280,000 hectareas (5,631,600 acres) in size. This vast park has virtually no roads or park ranger outposts. Mostly flat it is crossed by many small streams and swamps.

White-eared Kob and Zebra in Boma National Park before the civil war began. Today there are few zebra, but 800,000 to 1 million Kob are estimated in the park.

In South Sudan, as in the Serengeti, the migration takes place all year, it is a slow movement dependant on the grass and the rains. In March/April/May/June the animals are moving from North to South and West to East, from the Sudd flood plains and Bandigalo National Park, back into Boma National Park and Gambela Park in Ethiopia, because the rains will have started. In November/December/January the animals are moving from South to North and East to West as the dry season is well under way and the animals are searching for grass. In November/December/January the white-eared kob will be calving as they migrate north into the Sudd flood plain and west into Bandigalo National Park. The major migrating species involved are: white-eared Kob antelope, Tiang Antelope,and Mongalla Gazelle. Prior to the the war with the north there were huge herds of Zebra, these animals were considerable reduced in number. A 2008 survey estimated that there were 6,850 Elephants in the park and surrounding area adjacent to the park. The Elephants and Zebra also migrate with the water and grass.

In 1982 it was estimated there were about 6000 Giraffe in the Boma Park area, by 2007 it was estimated there were only 404 Giraffe remaining. The armies used the animal to feed their soldiers during the 25 years of war with Khartoum.

Woman of the Suri Tribe living in Boma National Park

The tribal people in the area are the Murle, Anyuah, Suri/KachipoJie and Toposa. There will be many opportunities to visit them and view how they have retained their traditional dress, housing, adornment, tools, religious beliefs.

MAJOR SPECIES OF WILDLIFE IN BOMA NATIONAL PARK

 In 22,800 square kilometer (2,280,000 Hectareas or 5,631,600 acres) Boma National Park the major species are: Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Nile Crocodile, White-eared Kob, Tiang, Mongalla Gazelle, Lion, Leopard, Caracal, Serval, Cheetah, Wild Dog, Jackal, Hyaena, Nile Buffalo, Zebra, Topi, Ostrich, Grant's Gazelle, Roan, Lesser Kudu, Lelwel Hartebeest, Beisa Oryx, Derby's Eland, Bohor Reedbuck, Warthog, Olive Baboon, Vervet Monkey.

Boma, South Sudan