Juba is the capital of The Republic of South Sudan as well as the capital of the state of Central Equatoria. Up to June 2011 South Sudan was a part of Sudan but the South is now an independent country with its own Capital, Government, President and Interim constitution which will be the foundation for their laws.
A ‘C.P.A.’, Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005 in Naivasha and Machakos in Kenya. Peaceful national elections for all of Sudan were successfully held in April 2010. Southern Sudan held a Referendum in January 2011 and unanimously decided to separate from the North and be an independent country.
Juba is currently being transformed to a modern city with wide tarmac highways under construction, numerous hotels with all comforts, big multi storey banks, many National and State and ministries and commissions, a busy financial center (“Juba town”) and a bigger commercial center (Malakia/Konyo Konyo). The City is growing rapidly and there is construction of roads and buildings everywhere. The Nile River passes through the City as well as a tributary of the Nile. The river Nile is one of the main features of the town as well as Jebel Kujur, the rocky hill just outside of town. Juba has an elevation of: 457meters (1,499 feet) and time is GMT +3. Population is growing exponentially, 1973- 56,737, 1983- 83,787 1993- 114,980, 2005- 163,442, 2009 – 1,118,233. these are not official figures, just a rough guide.
Change of Country Telephone Code
The Telephone Country code for South Sudan is +211.
Viva Cell changes to +211 955 xxxxxx or +211 957 xxxxxx
Zain changes to +211 910 xxxxxx or +211 911 xxxxxx
MTN changes to +211 920 xxxxxx or +211 922 xxxxxx
Gemtel changes to +211 977 xxxxxx
The new International Airport is under construction, the old airport is still being used, which has limited facilities. There is shop with snacks and refreshments at departures. On arrival, go across the street to the new business center complex. There is a new Airport cafeteria seating 100 people with ice cream, juice, coffee, soft drinks, and snacks. They are renovating their new kitchen to offer meals and beer for waiting passengers. A VIP lounge is being developed. Outside the Airport there are many taxis which will take you to your hotel. Since there is no forex I recommend you change money on arrival at your hotel.
Hot and humid all year round. Carry light clothing and sandals. It rains at least twice a week, even though the rain season is from April to September. No need for an umbrella, the rain is normally a welcome change in the heat.
The main languages are English and ‘Juba Arabic’. There is a move towards more English and away from Arabic. Juba Arabic is a mix of Arabic and the local language; Bari; and is the street language. Shopkeepers from the South speak English, those from the north speak Arabic while traders and hawkers are mostly from Uganda and speak English. Government offices speak both languages. There are many indigenous local languages like Bari (the language of the people of Juba and all of Eastern Equatoria), Dinka, Nuer and Luo (as you know, Barrack Obama is a Luo).
The currency is now the South Sudan Pound. from October 2011 the old Sudan Pound can not be used. Currently it exchanges for between 3.3 and 3.5 to the dollar and is quite stable. Money should be changed in foreign exchange bureaus or banks. There are a lot of black market traders in the street and in the market who should be avoided due to many risks. When you arrive make sure you have new 100 dollar bills of 2006 and after. Any small bills or old notes will be changed at a lower rate, while defaced bills will not be accepted. Money can be received or sent using Western union or the money transfer companies like Dahabshiil. For those from Kenya money can be sent home by any unregistered MPesa agent or trasferrred via Equity Bank. For more details see the page on Banks.
Visas and Inoculation
A Travel Pass for South Sudan is still being used to enter South Sudan. The pass was 3 month multiple entry for US$ 50 or a six month at $ 100. The Travel Pass was obtained at the South Sudan Embassy in Bishops House, Valley Road, Nairobi; Kenya, Kampala; Uganda or Addis Ababa; Ethiopia, which are the main gateways by air into Juba. From 2011 visas will be introduced to replace the travel permit. Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is a Must. The travel permit or visa takes three days to process, so make sure you apply well before setting off.
A visa for Sudan is no longer valid for this country, but as many still have them and are already here there will be a phase out over the next six months.
There are people of various faiths, Christianity is the main religion, Islam is very common and all other religions are accepted. – for more details see page on Churches.
Most people wine and dine in the evenings at the numerous restaurants, bars and hotels. Many bars have big TV’s for English Premier League football. Occasionally there are bands from neighboring countries performing live in the few night spots. On weekends you can also take a boat trip on the Nile (from Oasis Camp) or go fishing. For joggers and beer drinkers there’s a very active Hash House Harriers in Juba. – For more details see pages on restaurants, clubs, etc.
As in any other tropical country there is a high incidence of Malaria.You can buy mosquito repellant lotion and anti malaria medicine in the pharmacy or Supermarkets here. There are other normal tropical water bourne diseases so it is advisable to drink bottled water and eat in reputable restaurants and hotels like the ones listed in this guide.- For more details see the pages on Health.
The Sudan Tribune web site has the best internet news. There are two daily English local newspapers and also Arabic newspapers. Many vendors sell Kenyan and Ugandan newspapers as well. There are local FM stations in English; Liberty and Miraya; (tune to 88.2 for BBC World Service, 89.0 Capital FM, 91.0 Bakhita Radio, 100 Miraya FM) which are a source of local news as well as the local TV station; SSTV. Hotel TV’s are often tuned to BBC, SKY, Aljazeera, CNN or Kenyan news stations depending on the owner of the Hotels, to get news from international news agents.
A ‘2011’ edition of the Easyinfo Business Directory is available online at http://www.easyinfo-ss.com. It has the contact addresses for all the businesses in Juba.
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.