Tips and Tricks for South Sudan (coming from Uganda)
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Feb 1, 2013 12:51 PM Last Post By: Birgitt
Dec 8, 2012 5:58 AM
Tips and Tricks for South Sudan (coming from Uganda)I just came back from a few days in the southern part of South Sudan and got a few experiences which might be useful to others:
Required by most. Might be possible at the border, but as a rule not. If you are passing through Kampala, the SS Embassy (correct address in the LP East Africa, close to Fairway Hotel and the golf course) is quite helpful. $100 + one passport-size photo, and 24 hours later you pick it up.
Doesn't exist which is actually quite charming. You have to find out for yourself.
Going north from Kampala:
No fuzz, despite the fact that Lords resistance Army held the region for decades. Gulu is an ok town midway and a great place to break the trip in two.
The border town and very cosmopolitila with hordes of Ugandans and Kenyans to mix with the Sudanese. Most likely, this a major reason why Nimule appears to be quite open-minded. In Torit, people were generally more suspicious towards a freaky white guy outside the floods of UN 4WD's. They are definitely not used to seing white foreigners, but at the town appears quite safe to me. No reason to worry about that.
Hotels in Nimule:
Lots of them, all right beside the main road. Horizon Guest House has gone upmarked and charge 200 SSP for a self-contained room. Paradise Hotel next door is owned by the same guys and charge 60 SSP with common bath. Good enough for me.
Easy at the border, but the better rates are to be found at the Ugandan side. For $100 notes, I got 4.34 SSP/$. Approx. 600 UGX/SSP. The rates are slightly worse north of the border. You can cross the bridge easily without having to stamp out or in.
Not really! There is one place east of the main road, right down at the border, but it's quite expensive. 20 SSP/hour.
SS is not a culinary destination, but you get full. Chicken and chips is found everywhere, and more advanced cooking you find at the Indian-owned Galaxy, the favourite haunt of the ex-pats and high-profile locals.
In the old Sudan, photo permits are required but not so any more. Still, lots of people away from Nimule behave as if you need it, but that's just bullshit. The majority of government people (inc. police) seem to be stupid ex-military guys who never really learnt the civilian art of a dialogue. They treat anyone with a camera as a potential spy, and even down to the civilian level I found a certain resentment. Normal people are very far from being unfriendly, just a bit more suspicious. They are as friendly as anywhere else in Africa and just want to know where you are from, why you are snapping photos, and why you are not sitting inside a UN car.
To me, shooting photos in South Sudan "just" requires a bit of patience and a major effort to show the photos to them. On the market in Nimule, I even had a small piece of charcoal thrown at me - from a woman who felt insulted that I did not snap her photo :o) Then I did and she looked very happy. No problems, just take your time and do things slowly.
Nimule National Park:
The big highlight, but not impressive from an East African point of view. Don't expect any Serengeti, but it's a nice place to wander around. At $70 it's an expensive place and really not worth the detour if you come from Juba.
Nimule to Juba:
The only tarred road in the country, a sad sign that the khartoum government never tried to develop the south. Not a great trip, but easily done by minibus. If you are going east to Torit, get off at the "taxi lot" 5-6-7 kms south of Juba.
Transport is fairly expensive in SS: 50 SSP from Nimule to Juba is quite steep, and the 60 SSP from Juba to Torit even more so. However, the road is really bad and probably wears out the cars rather quickly.
The capital town of Eastern Equatoria State and a slightly cooler (= less hot) place than Nimule. Generally a friendly place, although I had lots of hassle with ex-military idiots who wanted to "investigate" the only tourist in the country. Even more here than in Nimule, photo is kind of difficult.
As above, no permits are needed, but you definitely have to ask before you do. Just ask anyone and everybody are happy - and after a few days, people begin to feel offended if you don't snap their photo! I had a great time in Torit and got lots of shots all over. Check www.cqj.dk (Photo, Africa, Uganda/South Sudan) for lots of great ones :o)
Money in Torit:
Never found any money changers, but there are a few banks. Due to the heavy presence of the UN, Red cross, MSF etc., I guess that money are easily changed if you need it. Ask your hotel guy.
There is a kind of cluster close to the governors office where you'll find a few hotels, most of them catering. I stayed at the great Eastern Equatoria Guest House (50 SSP = worth it). The manager David is a great guy who knows everything about the region and he'll happily help you. Give my regards to him.
Either EE GH or the Ethiopian bar/restaurant 100 meters away make ok food. The bar is a great place for meeting local people - especially Friday and Saturday evening.
For breakfast, try the Torit Meeting Point, 50 meters from the guest house. Ugandan food made.
For photos and more info: check www.cqj.dk - at least in a few days when I have uploaded a fresh bunch of photos.
Dec 8, 2012 6:22 AM
Dec 8, 2012 7:12 AM
2And now the photos have been uploaded:
www.cqj.dk and click English, Photos and Africa.
Dec 15, 2012 12:46 PM
Feb 1, 2013 12:51 PM
4We did this trip in february 2012 vice versa -
here is some of our information, gps-coordinates, road conditions (german language) and a lot of pictures:
Whole trip from Ethiopia via Kenya, Southsudan to Uganda incl. map:
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