South Sudan Trip Report

I've just returned from a short trip to South Sudan: 11th March-15th March 2024.
Brief facts: officially the Republic of South Sudan
Capital and largest city: Juba, located in the Equatoria region and centrally located.
Currency: South Sudanese Pound, although US Dollars is the de facto currency and used almost everywhere.
Location: Eastern Central Africa or East Africa.
Coordinates: 8°N 30°E
A landlocked country, bordered by:
Sudan to the north, the Central African Republic to the west, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest, Uganda to the south, Kenya to the southeast and Ethiopia to the east.
 Official language: English
Recognised national languages:
Dinka, Nuer, Bari, Murle, and many others.
Spoken languages include Juba Arabic
Christianity appears to be the dominant religion at roughly 60%.
Government: Federal transitional presidential republic.
Salva Kiir Mayardit is the first, and current, President.
Independence from Sudan:
Autonomy: 9 July 2005
Declared and recognised: 9 July 2011
Independence Day: 9 July
Population: 12,118,379 (2023 estimate).
South Sudan has more than 60 indigenous ethnicities. The Dinka comprise 40% of the population.
Driving side: right.
Many, if not all, foreign nationals appear to need a visa to enter South Sudan.
As a blind solo traveller, I needed help completing the online form.
The online visa form appears reasonably easy as long as one has the necessary documents:
Copy of passport page, Yellow Fever Certificate, Invitation Letter from a hotel or tour agency/company, passport image of sponsor/hotel manager, proof of Covid 19 Vaccination.
Passport size photo of the applicant, square shaped, 2 inches by 2 inches (5.08 cm by 5.08 cm).
Online payment by credit/debit card of USD$116 for United Kingdom applicants.
Print visa in colour and present on arrival at Juba international airport or border crossing.
I flew to Juba by a convoluted route in an attempt to reduce flight costs!
I first flew from London Gatwick to Milan Malpensa with Wizz Air Malta early on 10th March. On arrival in Milan, with special airport assistance, I changed planes and flew with Air Cairo to Cairo International, landing on the evening of the same day.
After several hours waiting in Cairo Airport, I caught an Egypt Air flight to Juba, arriving mid afternoon on Monday 11th March.
I'd booked a 3 night, 4 day guided tour with BomaHills Tourism and was met by their owner, the charming and helpful, David Jook Nyang. He welcomed me and drove me to my accommodation, afex River camp, a 15-20 minute journey from the airport.
I'd been in contact with several afex River camp staff members and residence, so had some idea of what to expect; a tranquell stay in comfy surroundings beside the banks of the River Nile.
For anyone wishing to contact Afex River Camp:
Rooms comprise individual cottage like structures with single beds or double beds and en-suite bathrooms, towels and hand soap included. The least expensive rooms are as low as USD$70 per night without breakfast, USD$80 per night per person with breakfast. Prices increase for rooms with two people and meals included, etc. The room I had cost USD$120 per night with breakfast. The hotel has an on-site restaurant where lunch and dinner can be purchased for reasonable fees. Average cost for a main dish is approximately USD$16 without drinks.
 I went on a 3 night, 4 day guided excursion with BomaHills Tourism to visit and stay at a cattle camp for a night and also undertake a city tour of Juba. With guide fees, transport, camping equipment, payment to the tribe for entering and camping on their land, meals for me, my guide and two support guides, plus two nights accommodation in Juba, cost me USD$1,400, with the first 20% to be paid by transfer in advance.
Contact BomaHills Tourism:
Extras were all meals when in Juba City, any souvenirs and the visa.
Before my trip, I learned that both Juba and South Sudan in general are potentially quite dangerous. Juba is subject to car jackings, and welthy-looking individuals have been robbed and even attacked. Landmines dot the land all over South Sudan, so travelling around the country could be quite precarious, especially with armed groups near the border areas and sparadic fighting on-going. Kidnappings of foreigners have happened.
However, I found my brief stay in the country to be peaceful, quiet and uneventful. Although totally blind, and therefore, not privy to all activities occurring around me, I felt Juba to be mainly a quiet city with fairly few people on the streets at any one time. This maybe due to the intense heat that occurs during March and other months. I found the people I met quiet, helpful, friendly and hospitable. The roads are extremely rough, bumpy and full of potholes! Travelling across both the  Freedom Bridge and the older, Juba Nile Bridge by vehicle was even bumpier and a tremendous thrill. Every jolt went through my body!The heat was dry and intense, both during the day and at night. Flies and moskitoes were endemic at the cattle camp, though less so in Juba.
Camping on Mundari Trible land at their cattle camp on my second day in the country was fascinating; hot and dry, sandy underfoot and dust in the air, intensely hot with a temperature over 40 degrees celcius on that first afternoon and reaching up to 50 degrees c on my second day at the camp – remarkable.
Not much to do at the camp during the day, just sit in the shade and relax. But in the late afternoon-early evening, when the Mundari cattle are driven into camp, the excitement and fun begins. Over 300 cattle I'm told, many of them mooing loudly, running about swinging their unusual shaped horns this way and that, was a spectical to behold, smell and hear. I was told that the Mundari tribe cut their cows horns in a particular way so they grow at an unusual angle, thus identifying them as Mundari cattle. I heard the cowbells jangling and their bellowing to one another at high volume. I even got to touch a few cows as they sped past. Again, in the following morning at 6 am, I was treated to more mooing as the cows readied for another day's grassing on their grounds, some 10 kilometres (7 miles) distance.
 That experience alone was worth paying the money for the tour.
Other companies that offer guided tours throughout South Sudan include:
Rocky Road Travel
One contact is Shane.
BomaHills Tourism Ltd, based in South Sudan.
Contact/owner, David Jook Nyang