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South Sudan

South Sudan is a country in Central Africa.

One of the world's youngest countries, it was once a part of Sudan until it became an independent country on 9 July 2011.



  • 1 Juba – the capital
  • 2 Aweil
  • 3 Bentiu
  • 4 Malakal
  • 5 Nimule
  • 6 Rumbek
  • 7 Wau
  • 8 Yambio
  • 9 Yei

Other destinations

  • Bandinglio National Park
  • Boma National Park
  • Southern National Park
  • 1 Nimule National Park – a national park along the White Nile



South Sudan was once part of Sudan, but gained its independence in 2011, following a long war in which over 1 million people were killed, and a historic referendum. Although South Sudan was granted independence by Sudan after an overwhelming vote for independence in the referendum, relations between the two Sudans remain tense. Sudan depends on hard currency obtained from transshipping oil from South Sudan through Port Sudan on the Red Sea, while the landlocked South Sudan depends on access to that port, and the two countries have argued about terms for transshipment. There has also been some armed conflict over the oil-rich Abyei District which is ruled by Sudan but borders on South Sudan, and the Sudan People's Liberation Army - North, which fought alongside the Sudan People's Liberation Army that now rules South Sudan, continues to fight in the Sudanese provinces of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, with the sympathy and, allegedly, military aid of the South Sudanese government.


South Sudan has more than 60 indigenous ethnicities. The Dinka comprise 40% of the population.


South Sudan's climate is similar to an equatorial or tropical climate, and has a rainy season of high humidity and large amounts of rainfall followed by a drier season.


  • 9 January: Peace Agreement Day
  • 16 May: SPLA Day
  • 9 July: Independence Day
  • 30 July: Martyrs' Day
  • 25 December: Christmas Day


  • They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan, by Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng, and Benjamin Ajak. Not exactly something to advertise South Sudan as an appealing destination, but it's a vivid and moving account of the war that preceded the country's independence.
  • Warchild by Emmanuel Jal
  • What is the What by Valentino Achak Deng and Dave Eggers

Get in

Visa requirements

Visas are issued for US$100 at all border crossings and Juba International Airport. The length of the visas issued seems to vary randomly between 1 and 6 months. An invitation letter may be required depending on which official is at the desk on your day of arrival. The process can take 3 hours. If you do not have a local contact with official connections, it would be safer to get a visa before arriving in the country. Visas are now available from the embassy in London for UK?50 cash and typically take 5 working days to process. The embassy in Nairobi is also a popular place to get a visa.

Once in South Sudan, foreign visitors must register their presence in the country within 72 hours of arrival. Procedures have changed sometime before February 2019. Visitors must now do this in person.

By plane

Until June 2022, there are no direct commercial flights from outside Africa, with the exception of service from Dubai on flydubai. Turkish Airlines expect to operate 3 flights per week from June 2022. Changing planes is necessary; most airlines flying into Juba depart from Cairo (Egypt), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Entebbe (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya) and Khartoum (Sudan) from where you should be able to manage flights to and from Europe, Asia or the Americas.

By car

Overland crossing from Sudan to South Sudan was closed from the latter's secession in 2011; Sudanese leaders have announced plans to re-open the border in 2016.[1]

By bus

By train

There is one railway line in South Sudan that enters from Sudan in the north and terminates at Wau. Before independence there were services between Wau and Babanosa, which had rail connections to Khartoum. As of 2014, however, there are no scheduled passenger services; indeed, the entire Sudanese rail network has come to a halt. Sporadic and non-scheduled trains may, however, still run, so you can try contacting the Sudan Railways Corporation for more information.

Get around

By bus

By plane

By train

By car

Roads are unpaved, and during the rainy season from July to October and November, they often become impassable. Infrastructure is non-existent,


English and Arabic (Juba Arabic) are the official languages of South Sudan, although Dinka is the most widely spoken language. Jur Modo, Nuer, Chollo/Shilluk, and Zande languages are also spoken there.


  • East African wildlife in Nimule National Park.
  • Rumbec Freedom Square in Rumbek.


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.

If you're feeling charitable, visit the Angels of East Africa orphanage (as featured in the film Machine Gun Preacher), also located in Nimule.



The currency of the country is the South Sudanese pound (ISO currency code: SSP). It is divided into 100 piasters. The official rate or "bank exchange rate" (above) is what you would see on sites like Oanda and mataf.net. However, the black market exchange for US dollars is twice than this.

Coins in South Sudan come in denominations of 10-, 20 and 50 piasters, 1 and 2 South Sudanese pounds. Banknotes in South Sudan come in denominations of 5-, 10 and 25 piasters, 1-, 5-, 10-, 20-, 25-, 50-, 100-, 500 and 1,000 South Sudanese pounds.

You can withdraw money with a Visa card or Mastercard in any of the Ecobank or Equity bank ATMs in South Sudan.


South Sudanese cuisine is mostly based on grains such as maize, sorghum.

The national dish of South Sudan is Kisra, sorghum pancake.

It is heavily influenced by Arab cuisine.


In the towns of South Sudan such as Rumbek and Juba, Kenyan and Ugandan beers are starting to appear in bars at inflated cross-border prices. In Renk, you can even buy Red Horse, a Filipino beer!

Fresh fruit juices are available throughout South Sudan. One of the local juices is "aradeab"(tamarind).

The cloves-flavoured tea (chai) is very good. Outside the capital, you'll pay usually 10 SSP for one cup. Also the ginger-flavoured coffee is to be tried. In Renk, one cup of this is 100SSP. Both are very sweet, so if you don't want sugar or you want it separately, mention this when you order.


Stay safe

Although the level of violence has subsided since the establishment of the country and the end of the civil war, South Sudan remains dangerous for travel as ceasefire violations and boundary disputes have continued. Guns are freely and readily available to the populace, and it is not uncommon to hear gunshots being fired in broad daylight. Travel near the Sudan or Central African Republic borders is extremely dangerous. Western governments continue to advise against all travel to South Sudan and the adjacent regions in Sudan. Violent crime remains problematic; unexploded ordnance from years of civil war also poses hazards to civilians.


South Sudan has very strict photography laws. For any kind of photography, you are required to obtain a photography permit from the Ministry of Interior.

Be very mindful of what you take pictures of, and do not take photos randomly; foreign tourists have been arrested and physically assaulted by South Sudanese law enforcement for simply taking photographs.

To err on the side of safety, keep the following in mind:

  • Never take a photograph of a South Sudanese person without their explicit permission.
  • Never take photographs of government buildings, vehicles, military personnel, or law enforcement personnel.
  • Never take photographs of airports, bridges, or gas stations.


South Sudan is one of the most unstable, lawless, and corrupt countries in the world. Many scholars regard South Sudan as a kleptocracy.

Do not expect the South Sudanese police to help you or solve your problems in the event you run into any kind of difficulties during your stay; the South Sudanese police are extremely corrupt and are written off as hapless, abusive, and ineffective.

Low salaries are the main reason why there's a high level of corruption among the police force. As a foreigner, you may attract unwanted attention from corrupt officials.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and keep your emotions under control; getting into a fight with corrupt, abusive officials or the wrong person in a country far away from home is not something you (or anyone) would want to do.

Journalists and bloggers

As tempting as it may be to write about South Sudan, it is illegal to report on the country without permission from the South Sudanese Media Authority.

Stay healthy

It's a malarial area, so before arriving, visit a tropical vaccination center to get prophylactic treatment and the necessary vaccines, including yellow fever, polio and hepatitis A and B. Be sure to sleep under a mosquito net and use mosquito repellent. Most of the South Sudanese drink water from the rivers, which exposes them to diarrhoea and cholera. If bottled water is not available, boil/chlorinate the river water before drinking it.



Telephone country code for South Sudan is +211, previous to 2011 it used the Sudan country code +249 so some numbers printed may need to be corrected. Local numbers are a 7 digit number preceded by a 2 digit provider code, those starting with a 1 are fixed line those with 9 mobile.

Roaming with foreign phones/SIM cards does not usually work in South Sudan. For mobile communications, you will need to purchase a SIM card from one of the local networks (Zain or MTN). Bring an unlocked phone.


The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Military activity, including clashes, took place in and around Juba in mid-December 2013. The situation in Juba has largely stabilized, although it has significantly deteriorated elsewhere in the country. A curfew is in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in many locations, including in Juba.

Direct military confrontations between South Sudan and Sudan occur periodically and have greatly decreased security in regions bordering Sudan.

Inter-tribal clashes occur without warning throughout the country, and there is frequent fighting between the army and armed militia groups. The risk of domestic terrorism is high.

Jonglei State

The situation is extremely volatile in Jonglei State (more specifically in Bor and in Akobo), where sustained fighting and inter-ethnic violence has been reported since mid-December 2013. 

Northern Regions: Unity, Upper Nile, Northern Warrap, Northern Jonglei and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal States

Tensions between South Sudan and Sudan have led to increased military activity in regions bordering Sudan, and both states have threatened to escalate their activities. Aerial bombardments have been reported in Unity State (including the town of Bentiu), Upper Nile State, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. Fighting in the border regions in recent months has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border, according to the United Nations.

Be aware of security threats in the oil development region (including Unity state, Northern Bahr-al-Ghazal state, Northern Warrap state, and Northwestern Jonglei state). Oil installations and the surrounding areas are potential targets for military and rebel attacks.

The Abyei region, which borders Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Unity states, is a disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan. Since 2011, the Abyei region has been the site of frequent fighting and mass displacement. In April 2012, South Sudan announced plans to escalate its military activities in the Abyei region.

There is a heightened risk of attacks and kidnappings in the region. Armed groups have carried out successful attacks on foreign workers, including oil-field workers.

Western Regions: Western Bahr El Ghazal, Western Equatoria, and Central Equatoria

The presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) within DRC and CAR has been a source of cross-border attacks into South Sudan. In March 2012, the African Union launched a joint military offensive against the LRA. A previous joint offensive led to violent LRA retaliations against the civilian population in villages located in western border areas. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more have fled the region. There is a heightened risk of attacks and kidnappings in the region.


Regional terror groups, including those associated with al Qaeda and al-Shabaab, continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in South Sudan. The September 21, 2013 attack on an upscale Nairobi mall illustrates the threat of attacks on civilians in East Africa.  Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Be vigilant in crowded places and monitor local media.


There is widespread violent crime, including kidnappings, armed robbery and burglary, throughout South Sudan. The security risk is especially high in Juba, which has seen regular outbreaks of violence and lawlessness as well as an increase in crimes involving guns.


Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.


Road travel

Road conditions in South Sudan are poor. Many roads are sand tracks. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required except in some urban areas such as Juba and Malakal. Only experienced and fully equipped travellers should undertake desert travel; basic equipment should include a shovel, metal ramps for heavy sand, a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, spare fuel and water supplies. Roadblocks are common. You should have your identity and vehicle documents readily available. Unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and roaming animals pose risks.

Public transportation

Taxis are available in urban centres but are generally old and uncomfortable. Public transportation is limited outside of major urban areas.

An irregular train service operates between Wau and Khartoum. Trains are dilapidated. Only top-of-the-line buses should be used; most other buses are irregularly scheduled, poorly maintained and very badly driven. Fatal accidents involving buses are routine.

Sudan Airways runs air services between Khartoum and Juba, Wau and Malakal.There have been several crashes involving Sudan Airways and other carriers operating within Sudan and South Sudan, resulting in significant loss of life. A number of air-transport options are now available for internal travel. With the secession of South Sudan, the normal points of entry into the new country are now generally Nairobi, Kenya; Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Flying from Khartoum into Juba is possible, but the airlines operate old planes. Note that additional documents may be required for entry when flying from Khartoum. Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

You should arrive at Juba's international airport at least two - and preferably three - hours before departure. Departure formalities are complicated and non-computerized. There is no sign board to indicate departure and arrival times and you should expect delays. Be advised that flights between Juba and Khartoum, Sudan, stopped operating in April 2012.


Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.


Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.


Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.


This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.


There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.


Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).


Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!


Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.


Insects and Illness

In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley feverWest Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

African trypanosomiasis

African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse fly bites are painful and if the disease is left untreated it is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas during the day. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.
Leishmaniasis, viceral

Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine available for leishmaniasis.


Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly.  Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common during the daytime and close to running water. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.



  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.


Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.


Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are well below Western standards (e.g. it is not advisable to have surgery). Emergency medical evacuation can also be difficult; air ambulances are usually not available on short notice. You should ensure your health plan coverage includes the Republic of South Sudan; many policies do not.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

A permit for photography is required. Permits can be obtained at the Ministry of Information. Even with a photography permit, taking pictures of or near military installations is strictly prohibited.

Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are frowned upon; overtly homosexual behaviour will render an individual liable to immediate arrest, and possibly imprisonment.


By Western standards, the Republic of South Sudan is a traditional, conservative society. Women should dress conservatively (no short skirts, bare arms or low necklines); men and women should not wear shorts in public and should be extremely discreet when swimming.


The currency is the South Sudan pound (SSP). The Sudan pound is not recognized as legal tender. Only change money at banks and other established institutions, as money changers who operate on the street often scam travellers with counterfeit notes. You should carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay and assume that you will have to pay for all international flights booked in South Sudan in U.S. dollars. Transferring U.S. or Canadian dollars to the country is impossible. Most currency exchange houses and merchants do not accept U.S. currency dated before 2006.

Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are not accepted in South Sudan. There are automated banking machines (ABMs), but they are not reliable. Larger expenses, such as hotel bills, must be paid in cash.


The rainy season in South Sudan lasts six months, from May to October. Some roads may become impassable during this period due to flooding. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

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