Game and Wildlife
There are 5 National Parks and 14 Game Reserves in Southern Sudan. Southern Sudan’s protected areas support some of the most spectacular and important wildlife populations in Africa, and hosted the second largest wildlife migration in the world. Surveys in the preceding years revealed that Boma National Park, west of the Ethiopian border, as well as the Sudd wetland and Southern National Park near the border with Congo, provided habitat for large populations of kob and topis (two types of antelope), buffalo, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests (another antelope), and lions.
Southern Sudan’s forest reserves also provided habitat for bongo (also an antelope), giant forest hogs, red river hogs, forest elephants, chimpanzees, and forest monkeys. Recent surveys begun in 2005 by WCS in partnership with the semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan revealed that significant populations exist, and the huge migration of 1.3 million antelopes in the southeast is intact. Associated wildlife species include the endemic white-eared kob and Nile lechwe, as well as elephants, giraffes, common eland, giant eland, oryx, lions, wild dogs, buffalo, and topi (locally called tiang).
Little is currently known about the white-eared kob and tiang, whose magnificent migrations were legendary. The Boma-Jonglei Landscape region encompasses Boma National Park, broad pasturelands and floodplains, Bandingilo National Park, and the Sudd, a vast area of swamp and seasonally flooded grasslands that includes the Zeraf Wildlife Reserve.
The Safari Company of the River Nile are pìoneers in Tourism in Southern Sudan, doing their small part to help this new nation. Swamp Airboats take you to Nimule National Park, just over the Uganda/Southern Sudan border. They plan to expand our safaris into other areas of Southern Sudan in the near future.
There is a new school to teach forest rangers and the rebuilding of lodges in National Parks have started. Boma and Badingilo National Parks, the vast swamps of the Sudd, including the Zeraf Game Reserve and the proposed Loelle protected area in Jonglei is East Africa’s largest savannah ecosystem
Here in Juba you will not be so lucky. The first time I came there were Crocodiles in the river Nile watching you as you ate lunch, with monkeys in the mango trees above just waiting for you to blink and they would dive down for your lunch. We used to carry sticks and flash lights when walking in the night for killing snakes. Since the massive influx into the town and rapid development, the crocodiles have moved up stream, and I have only seen two monkeys in town. I have not seen a single snake in the city, except if you count the giant river snake that never comes out of the river, so you will have only lots of birds to watch while in Juba as well as giant frogs which can be up to one foot long head to toe.
I get around with English. If you want to speak Juba Arabic, there is a book on sale with basic words like Salaam alaikum – Good morning. Alaikum salaam -(reply) good morning. Kayf – How are you?. Tamam -Good. Ana kwais -I’m well. Ita kwais?- Are you well?. Aiwa -Ok/yes. La -No. Be kam? -How much? Shukran -Thank you. Skukran jazeelan -Thank you very much. Kawaja – You. (White man) Bari is the language of all the tribes around like Bari and Mundari and nearby peoples like Kuku and Kakwa.If you happen to know Luo, as its spoken in several countries, you can speak that to some people like the Acholi and the Lang’o. Other luo spakers are Schuluk, Anyuak and Lafon. Dinka and Nuer and are other languages spoken. There are also other languages like Murulle, Zande and various others spoken, So I just stick to English.
The ethnic groups you may meet include: Acholi, Adio, Aja, Anyuak [Anyuaa], Atuot [Reel], Avukaya, Azande, Bai, Baka, Balanda-Boor, Balanda-Bviri, Banda, Bari, Binga, Bongo, Larim [Boya], Didinga, Dinka[Jieng], Dongotona, Feroghe, Gollo, Ifoto, Imatong, Indri, Jiye, Jurbiel [beli], Jurchol [Luo], Kakwa, Kara, Keliku, Kuku, Lango, Lotuka [Otuho], Logir, Lokoya, Lulubo, Lopit, Lugbwara, Maban, Madi, Mananger, Mangayat, Moro, Moro Kodo, Mundari, Mundu, Murle, Ndogo, Ngulngule, Nuer [Naath], Nyangatom, Nyangwara, Pari, Pojullo, Sere, Shatt, Shilluk [chollo], Suri [kachipo], Tenet, Tid, Toposa, Uduk, Woro, Yulu. (And Anglo Saxons)
Food & Recipes
The local staples here are Kisra, Kudra, and Bamia. Kisra is a very wide bread made from slightly fermented sorghum flour. I am told you apply cow brain to the pan instead of cooking fat for the authentic flavor. Kudra is a green vegetable which grows near the river. Bamia is Okra or ladies fingers. It is boiled with beef and served in a stew. Often the meat and vegetables are ‘pasted’, served in a thick peanut sauce. There are very many other local foods, but do not worry, local food is not served at any of the intenational hotels, so you will end up eating European and American food most of the time.
There are numerous small canteens selling local food. There are also many Eritrean restaurants, several Ugandan and one or two Kenyan food kiosks. Food is served on a wide one meter diameter aluminum tray, the wide flat ‘kisra’ bread is spread over the tray then the meats, vegetables, pulses, sauces and bread buns are placed on the ‘kisra’. Spices are not popular, food is mostly unspiced, even though a lot of spices are in the market.
The staple foods are ‘Kisra’ which is a wide flat pancake, made from slightly fermented sorghum flour, Posho/Ugali made from maize flour, Brown posho made from millet and bread buns made from imported wheat flour.
Common tubers include potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and plantain bananas. Coconut roots are fried and taste like cassava.
Green Vegetables include ‘Kudra’, ‘dodo’, ‘gwedegwede’, peas leaves and Okra/ladies fingers/’bamia’
Pulses include peanuts; which are used to make a paste and sauce for meat and green vegetables, ‘fool’ (Egyptian beans), dal, and peas.
European vegetables are common but imported, onions, tomatoes, capsicum, carrots, cabbage and kales.
Meat is mostly boiled and stewed, but can also be pasted. Dried or smoked beef is served pasted in a groundnut sauce. Beef, goat, sheep and chicken are available while imported fish and pork are available.
Sugarcane is chewed and sweet sorghum stems are chewed as sugarcanes.
There are millions of mangoes in every tree during the mango season. Other local fruits are pineapple, bananas, pawpaw, avocado, guava, and there are imported apples, oranges and other fruit in the market.
Black weak tea and coffee are enjoyed all day and evening, often on stools sitting under the many neem trees, while kerekede (red hibiscus) and awath (a brown drink from seeds) are the common refreshing drinks sold cold at the bus park
Beer is sold in bars and shops, East African breweries drinks are common, imported Tusker Lager, Tusker malt, Pilsner and Guinness. South Africa Breweries controlled Southern Sudan Breweries Ltd produces White Bull, Club Pilsener and Nile special at their factory at Jebel in Juba. They also import Castle Lager and Milk Stout. Another company imports European and American beer especially Heineken. The local gin, siko, is common in the lower class areas. The highest selling soft drinks are locally manufactured sodas called Club minerals. Imported Coca Cola products, imported Pepsi products, plus other imported sodas are common. Imported red bull is popular. There are more than three factories for bottled water with brands like Aqua’na and Jit. Imported water like Ruwenzori, and others prevail.
Monuments, Sights and Attractions
Make sure you see the Nile, Nile bridge, John Garang Mausoleum, and Jebel Kujur hill. Be careful with photography, I wanted to put some photos in this site but I was almost arrested for taking photos in the City Center! There were restrictions on taking photos during the war and many people are not aware that the restrictions were lifted.
There are a lot of local dances, each ethnic group has their own style.Dancing is a way of life for every Sudanese tribe and reflects traditional life including farming, rain, hunting, heroism, chivalry and religion. Typical examples include the kambala of the Nuba Mountains, the “leap dance” of the Dinka, nuggurah of the Miseiryah, the sword dance of the Beja, barabrah of the Halfa and the eponymous Shaiqiyah of its tribe. I prefer the modern dance styles at the hot night spots listed on the ‘Night Clubs’ page.
Its no “Bull”
The Bull is very special here. There is a cattle market near the city center and herds of cows with up to six foot long horns cross town going to the market. are A lot of people are named after a Bull: The founder of the nation was called Mabior; White Bull. The White Bull is the most prized, they are sacrificed for celebration of victory and peace after a struggle. In June there was one sacrificed outside each ministry to celebrate the new cabinet. There was meat and blood andoffals at the entrance of each office, and everyone was happy as the meat was packed in bags and all staff went home with a few kilograms of meat. Machar means Black Bull and is the second most important, sacrificed to give magical protection for war. The Vice president is named ‘Machar’. Other common names are Mabok, grey bull; Madin; speckled bull, Malek; brown bull, Magot; very long horned bull, Majok; black with white bull, Maker; white with black bull and Makoi; red bull. You should try the White Bull which is a popular beer, the first locally brewed lager, or Red Bull the popular imported energy drink.
In town everyone dresses in European style clothes. Southerners are very fashion consious:
Men wear bright shirts, gaudy ties, three piece suits (when it is 40 degrees centigrade), long pointed shoes, which exagerate their feet as they are very tall. Each tribe has different identifying ethnic scars on their face, a row of around six parallel lines all around the forehead and back of head, others the scars are a ‘v’ shape, others the scars are hundreds of bumps around the mouth, others the scars are on the cheeks.
Women are equally tall with very stylish dresses, weaves are in fashion, and all their toe nails are delicately and intricately painted with patterns in different colors or dyed in brown henna. Get used to six foot tall ladies!
When you go out of town you may find people in local dress styles, or ocassionally naked as it is too hot for clothes.
A group of local sculptors are now operating in Buluk next to JCC. They carve as you watch. None speaks English. This is the best place to get aa authintic gift to take back to your country. They have a closed store with very many sculptures. They can open it for you if you want to buy.
I attended a local dress show. There was a full body length bead decoration for ladies on display. Really colorful. The visitors asked the exibitor to put it o and she obliged. It covered her long beautifully shaped figure from shoulders to the knee. The visitor commented that the colors of the beads were clashing with the colors on the fashionable lady’s clothes. The exhibitor retorted that when wearing the colorful beads you are not supposed to be wearing clothes! We asked, jokingly, if she could”demonstrate” and she laughed.
The Roots Project
This is a local NGO assisting women by training them, they are now exhibiting local crafts, beads, pipes made of bullet casings, vases, belts, purses, sandals, all made locally. They are immediately behind the basketball stadium in Nimra Talata.
Editor, South Sudan NEWS PORTAL
Guide to Juba City, From Juba Travel Guide Archives, first published in July 2011 on the eve of South Sudan’s Independence.
South Sudan NEWS PORTAL is a Juba based hyper local media firm.