Entering the Town
Assuming you have arrived at the Airport, which is North East of town, you are only one Kilometer from the city: When you leave the airport, the road goes straight to “Juba Town” roundabout, passing the ‘Thong Ping’ junction on the right. From that roundabout (known either as “Juba Town” roundabout, “Muduria” or “Hai Jerusalem” roundabout) you can either go left into ‘Juba town’, or turn right to the ‘ministries’ road or go straight on to ‘Hai Malakia’.
Below is a sketch in Excel as a guide. It is not current, some of the places are no longer there. There is a large detailed updated map which I made and was on sale at JIT supermarket. If you need the PDF for a workshop please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will sell you the soft copy for a fee for you to print and distribute.
Layout of the Town :
The financial city center known as ‘Juba Town’. Most of the banks, travel agents and forex bureaus are located in ‘Juba town’. In addition there is the Police headquarters, central jail and the small original port on a tributary of the Nile.
Malakia / Konyo Konyo
The busy commercial area is Malakia (Hai malakia), with numerous shops. Behind Malakia towards the river is the sprawling “Konyo Konyo” market. Before getting to Malakia you pass Hai Malakal where a lot of NGO’s and Consulates started, attracting several restaurants to the area, while after passing Malakia you find Atlabara, a dense commercial and residential area and at the end of the road is Juba University.
Wizara is Arabic for Government Ministry. If passing this road from the Airport, first you pass UNDP and UNICEF and UNHCR. The road passes just off the State House, Government Ministers houses which are on side streets to your North. Along the road are several Government Ministries and state commissions, ending with the Office of the President, the National Parliament and the Mausoleum of the late leader and founder of the nation Dr John Garang de Mabior.
Behind the ‘Ministries’ road in parallel is Thong Ping avenue, which stretches from the Airport to the back of ‘ministries’. Thong Ping is a residential area with many medium size hotels and borders UNIMIS on the lower end to the North, the large compound of the United Nations Mission in Sudan. On the upper end to the East are the large compounds for U.N.O.C.H.A. and U.S.A.I.D.
The Nile River banks have numerous Hotels from the ‘Juba Bridge’ or ‘Nile Bridge’ to the Nile river tributary branch.
Outside of the main town to the West after ‘Customs’ bus park (that formerly was Customs market) is the rocky hill, ‘Jebel Kujur’ which means mount Kujur. The largest market, Jebel, and a large army camp are located on one side while hotels are perched on the other end.
Most of the good hotels are grouped in four areas, Juba town, Thong Ping, along the Nile river, and at or beyond Jebel Kujur hill.
The Great Thong Ping debate
What does Thong Ping mean? The original group who settled by the river Nile, including “Jubek” who Juba is named after were from the Bari group. Later Dinka people came and grazed their cattle here. For various reasons the Dinka were forcefully moved from ‘Juba’ to the lower swampy area. Some hated it but others said the land is the same as the one they were moved from. “Same Land” is “Thong Ping” in Dinka. So they called the place Thong Ping. In Bari langage Thong Ping means peanuts or groundnuts. The Bari thought the Dinka called the place ‘peanut farm’.
Tong means Spear or war or aggression. Ping is land. So if you mis-spell it as Tong Ping it means “war over land”. Given that the place got its name when one group was pushed out of the land by the other, some people are insistent that the name should never be mis-spelt! So it is “Thong Ping” and no other name, not even Tong piny. Now others have told me the real name of the area is Juba na Bari, meaning ‘Juba belongs to the Bari tribe’!
Heading out of town
You can head North towards Bor via Mangalia, or West towards Western Equatoria and Democratic Republic of Congo via Rokon, South west goes to Uganda via Lanya, South goes to Uganda via Kajo Keji, South East has two branches, one south to Nimule then Uganda, the other goes east through Liria towards Torit, and finally to Kenya.
Map of Juba and surrounding areas:
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.