There are many good restaurants, and most hotels have restaurants that cater for the public, so I have only featured those serving international cuisine:
Ebony opened in August 2011. The Kenyan Indian owner partnered with the sons of the late leader of the country, thus the restaurant is named Ebony which was the code name for the leader of the independence struggle. The restaurant is located in the compound belonging to the family of the late leader which also houses the John Garang International School and Athiyei Beauty Salon. The large air conditioned dining hall has around 20 tables, and there is a large verandah with another 10 tables, they seat around 100 customers comfortably with style and elegance. They have soft background music and historical pictures to adorn the walls. Their menu is mainly Indian, with prices ranging from 30 to 40 pounds depending on your choice and combination of meal. The owner previously ran two other restaurants in Juba and wants to cater for the top class of the town. They have high class deli sandwiches for lunch.
Queen of Sheba
There are a lot of Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurants, this is the ‘King’. Large and spacious, with a grass thatched roof, It specializes in spicy Ethiopian fare and has a well stocked bar. They also have continental dishes. Their live Ethiopian dancing and acrobatic shows makes the place very popular. Make sure you sit near the front where they invite guests to join the very beautiful ladies in the dance.
Location – Hai Malakal. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.queenofshebajuba.com +256477260191, +249128187173
Spice ‘n Herbs
Spice have a very large variety of Indian foods, as well as continental dishes. It has the reputation of the best Indian Restaurant in town. The entrance at the front is a paved seating area with a lit fountain on the wall, it is a pleasnt place to sit f you want to see and meet people coming in. The place is normally packed, so get there early. The main restaurant is a renovated house, there are four air conditioned indoor rooms, one with a bar and big screen TV for football. Their Indian meals are around 40 pounds, they have fresh juice at around 10 pounds, their menu also has Pizza, steaks, burgers, chicken and chips and a wide selection of drinks. The service is very fast and the Indian owner is always on hand. Its located next to Queen of Sheba also in Hai Malakal.
The Nawab opened mid 2010. Nawab is an Indian restaurant at Heron Hotel. They have a glass walled kitchen with four busy Indian chefs. There is a tall Sudanese lady who welcomes you and takes you to your seat in the grass thatch high roofed open sided restaurant or the tables on the paved car park. The waiters take you through the long indian menu. They have a wide variety of unique Indian food and are part of an international chain of Indian restaurants. I enjoyed the Indian music while sipping my Lassi. There was a good selection of Indian sweets after the spicy food as well as a number of sweet and other mouth fresheners to clear the curry taste.
Notos bar and restaurant is located just opposite Hamza Inn, just behind the town center near the river tributary. Notos have attracted a good crowd of expatriates as well as upper class locals. The owner is a Sudanese of Greek origin but lived in Juba, Europe, USA, and many other places, thus their cocktails and menu are American, while the staff are mostly from neighboring countries. The menu includes calamari, prawns, steaks, and salads as well as bar snacks and burgers. Prices range from 25 to 35 pounds. At the entrance is a very unusual tree with long branches that hang so low the tall locals have to bend low to come in under the branches. Most patrons sit at the front open air enclosure where tables and chairs are placed according to the number in your group. The building is a unique structure made of rough uncut stone. The building was originally a small warehouse belonging to the owner’s father which has been tastefully renovated. Inside is a circular bar filling half the room, which allows patrons and the owners to chat easily. The music is old school, mixed classic and can be changed by customer request. The TV is on low volume, thus the restaurant is designed for customer interaction and socializing. The place is still developing, they have now an Indian menu at the front open kitchen. Please don’t tell the owner I have put this picture of one of his special guests, waiting to be served, he will punch me!
Home and Away Center
The Rotary Club of Juba meet here every Tuesday. The complex has lush gardens, with lots of young modern trees, flowers and bushes.There are fountains and waterfalls behind the bushes. There is a wine bar, Thai restaurant, continental restaurant, snack and coffee shop, salon and boutique scattered around the immaculate gardens. There are garden chairs and tables in front of each restaurant and bar for those who prefer outside. The Wine Cellar serves cocktails and wines, the cafe serves cakes, fresh juices, sandwiches and coffee, the Mai Thai has a menu of meals going for around 30 ponds and the Nile River restaurant has grills for around 40 ponds per meal. A very relaxing atmosphere, looks like a hotel but they have no rooms. Oven fresh Donuts, Croissants Traditional French Baguette and a variety of Cakes& Muffins are now available from the Deli counter. They also have crispy salads with a variety of selected fresh ingredients and dressings, cracking sandwiches for a quick and light lunch. Ample terraces and air conditioned lounges ensure you will feel “at Home” even though away in the lush Thai gardens. Located between ministries and Tong Piny roads.
De-havana’s is one of the most fashionable meeting place in town. The joint is immediately next to Logali. There are five distinct areas in the restaurant. At the entrance is an open area with a counter and bar stools where people sit while waiting for others to arrive. To the left is an open but covered TV area where football fans can watch English or European foot ball on a huge screen while longing on low sofas with huge poof pillows and coffee tables. At the center is a small and cozy open sided bar where around five patrons can sit at the counter and chat with the lively barman. Then to the right is the restaurant with wooden dining tables and chairs, covered with colorful table cloths. The building is constructed with very unique materials, rough stone, polished wood poles, large marble tiles, making a pleasurable place to relax. There are three menus, the Pizza menu at around 30 pounds per plate, American with fried fish and chips, chicken wings, steaks, salads, etc at around 40 pounds for a meal, and a well liked ‘Nyama Choma’ roast goat meat and fries that you can not finish for only 25 pounds. Food is prepared on order, making the fare fresh and interesting.
Believe it or not, Salsa is gaining ground here! There is a very popular class every Thursday at De Havana’s restaurant. Even if you can’t dance, come and meet a group of fun loving ladies and gents, and as long as you do not step on your lady partner’s foot too many times, you will have a lot of fun! They have now introduced a barbeque with pork, chicken and beef cuts served till 3 am. Call them on Vivacell 0957 321218 and Gemtel 0477 321218.
De Havana’s now host 1 NAMBA LOTTO, a fun gambling game like Bingo. As you sip your drinks you can chose a lottery number. If you win you get 20 times your bet. The bets are done on computer and the results are projected on the big screen. Lots of shouting when someone hits the Jackpot.
The large sign and the beautiful bright orange painted perimeter wall with metal grill are clearly visible from the ministries road, in front of the towering South Sudan Hotel. They have a huge paved garden with many tables and chairs and a very big restaurant. The style is modern, and there is a stall for coffee, fresh juice, ice cream, sandwiches and snacks at the entrance serving the garden. The restaurant serves grills and Pizza with a meal going for around 30 pounds. They also have a conference hall. They have a small congolese band playing nice music but as they have not advertised it few people go to watch.
Bedouin Bar and Restaurant (Palm Business Park)
The simple black and white sign at the entrance and dusty bamboo hedge and fence make you think twice about entering the place, but you will be surprised. The entrance was by walking over a romantic narrow wooden bridge swinging over a river, and now the bridge has been strengthened with a strong frame. After the bridge and river is a beautiful garden with planted trees, bushes, shrubs and flowers leading to a classic safari restaurant and bar. The Safari style restaurant has a sand floor and wooden chairs of different safari designs including log and rope chairs with huge multi colored cushions. There is a long curved well stocked bar with a wooden counter, soft music and a hewn wood bookshelf with antique books. The menu is unique and includes French dishes and specials invented by the imaginative chef. Meals average 35 pounds. The bushes around the large restaurant make you feel like you are in the jungle, you can not see the nearby road. They also have rooms, see pages on hotels.
It is located near the bridge along the road along the river.
They have a cosy grass thatched enclosed area as well as the street view paved and walled outer seating area as well as a cyber café. Bascilicos serve Ethiopian food, Italian food and Pizzas at around 20 pounds. A good place for a quick meal or a snack. You cant finish the food and the prices are low and the service very fast. They also offer very nice apartments if you are here on a long stay. Order your meal then pop into the cyber as they prepare it! At the entrance to the Ministries.
Yunice Corner Cafeteria
This is the best budget cafeteria in the city center. It is in Sacred Heart Sisters Kindergarten on the main street into town so its referred to as “Sisters”. The menu is simple, fresh and very wide. There is beef, chicken, fish and goat, either roasted, fried, smoked or boiled. They have many green vegetables, and many accompaniments including chips, rice, bread, chapatti, sweet potato, maize or sorghum meal. They also have fruits and alcoholic beverages. The food is fresh and fast and the service is efficient, making it a favorite for the many locals and foreigners who need a quick healthy lunch every day. Their extended hours from 7.30 am to 10pm allow them to serve breakfast, lunch and supper, with meals from as low as six pounds to a full mixed meal of under 15 pounds. There is now a cyber at Sisters but as the food service is very fast I have not actually had time to surf there.
Central Pub and Restaurant
As the name suggests, it is the most centrally located meeting beer garden in town, next to the Muduria roundabout. The new owners took over the restaurant in January 2010 has renovated and revamped the place, there are three new grass thatched banda’s in the garden, a brightly lit fountain, well trimmed grass lawns with dining tables in the acres wide compound. The new owners are constantly improving the menus, the service, and is a great place to meet people in Juba. The new owner has a great sense of humor, they was claiming that the bar is half way between Cairo, Egypt and Cape town, South Africa as well as where David Livingstone stopped to rest when looking for the source of the Nile. Very imaginative, but not geographically accurate and I am not a historian. The menu now boasts shawarma’s, triple washed salads and many other items are being added every day, Hummous, Pitta bread, Onion Rings, their Samosas are Weird, you have to see them to believe them, Shawarma boats, a Crescent-Shaped Pie filled with meat and caramelised onions, and something called “The Amazing PitaChiz”… … The cyber café is one of the best and there is a small travel agency on the compound.
The Kenyan style barbeque opened in January 2011. There is a big grass thatched open sided banda in the center which is the bar, then around it are seating areas in the garden. The goat meat and chicken are marinated then roasted on a charcoal fire in the garden, portions are around 25 pounds with potato fries and salad. They have a menu where other food can be ordered from the kitchen, but most patrons go there to relax with a beer and soft background music. Opposite is the Vice president’s residence so the music is very soft and the parking is strictly controlled.
A new place has opened near the Airport, on the Tong Ping Road in the 3 storey building opposite the Bros petrol station. The new snack shop has 10 great flavors of home made Italian ice cream, including Strawberry, Mango, Pineapple, Bubblegum, Pistachio, Chocolate, Almond, And Tutti Fruttti., at 6 pounds. They have intense cakes, tarts, éclairs, cigar cake their chocolate cake tastes like a candy bar, stuffed full of chocolate. They have three flavors of fresh juice, Orange, carrot and Apple, a big change. They also serve Italian coffee, 12 types of cookies, Meat pies, Lebanese sweets and Pizza. The staff are three young Lebanese gents, who are very helpful. The official opening is Saturday 12 March, 2011 so make sure you are there.
Markos have opened in July 2010, on the main Malakia road. They have a bright modern interior with a big screen TV. They serve five flavors of ice cream, complete with four different toppings from only 2 pounds per scoop. There are ten flavors of fresh juice made as you wait including banana, strawberry, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple, mango and others from five pounds. They have a wide variety of colorful and very sweet cakes from Egyptian recipes see pictures below.
Wonderful Chinese Restaurant.
Wonderful opened in Januar 2011 on the main Tong Ping road. They are next to the Wonderful Furniture showroom.They have a wide chinese menu, steamed dumplings at 3 pounds per piece, Pizza at around 20 pounds, Sichuan pork at 28 pounds, Won ton Soup at 8 pounds, bean curd at 25 pounds, noodles, squid, prawns ad many others. They bake snacks, bread and cakes which are on display for sale:
Nyakuron Cultural center
This is a must see. It is a very expansive Government owned cultural center and shops which hosts live bands, beauty competitions and many other open air events. Nyakuron has wide and beautiful gardens and compound. It is located between customs bus park and Juba University. When there are functions there are banners all over town, so you will be aware beforehand. I attended Miss Juba beauty pageant, Juba band of the Year competition, and the Kenyan independence celebration drew a large crowd.
There is a cinema hall that will soon show modern movies. A Casino is now in operation, and Panache Hotel are serving drinks and food.
There are many large sculptures in the grounds:
These are pictures inside the Casino, the computerised roulette and slot machines: I gambled 30 pounds and came out with 47 pounds! So see you there.
From Wednesday to Saturday Bro’s camp have a Ugandan band singing in Luganda. There was a large crowd when I went there last time, since most places are not ‘kicking’ on a Wednesday. There were lots of ladies and even more guys. Bro’s is lively on mid week days evenings.
If you have not been to Mango, you have not been to Juba. Period. This was a riverside hotel but every weekend it changes into the noisiest and busiest place in town. The small dance floor coupled with the large number of patrons, some in very short skirts, and not much else, makes it an interesting, exciting and eventful place. If you book one of the ‘hut’ designed cottages which are cheap and negotiable prices you can have ‘extended’ fun. This is where to go to ‘let it all hang out’. Make sure you get there full, they normally serve inebriated patrons so the food is basic roast goat meat and fries, but edible. They sell drinks so fast by one a.m. the cold beer is over from their many big fridges but don’t worry, switch to warm. Location – Everyone knows. Just tell the taxi to take you to “Mango”.
This is the original Disco on the river bank. The entrance has a very big car park. After the car park is a wide sandy garden with huge speakers and a band stand. There is a small bar for those sitting on the plastic chairs dotted around in the garden. Further on is the large enclosed bar with a long counter, TV and two pool tables. By the river is a paved area with simple grass thatch umbrellas over plastic chairs and a good river view. There is disco music in the hall and in the two gardens, with Karaoke on the bandstand from Wednesday to Sunday, followed by disco. There is a simple kitchen for snacks like chicken and chips at around 20 pounds or Kenyan style roasted meat (Nyama Choma) for the many foreign and local beer drinkers. It is located immediately next to the barge port on the river.
Cabaret Show at New York Hotel
The best show in town, It is a very tasteful show with lovely Eritrian beauties doing what could be a New York show. It is exclusive, only respectable patrons are allowed in and good behavior is encouraged. There is a barbeque with marinated chicken and goat meat, well spiced.
Live Band at Nile Comfort Hotel
“Comfort” have a live band playing Congolese music from Wednesday to Sunday. Its relaxing and classy. There is one of the lady dancers who is amazing, looks like 100 kilos but shapely, pretty, very agile, and has a great voice. She is accompanied by five other dancers. “Comfort” have divided their enormous compound into two, the right side is a very large beer garden with a huge bandstand. No taxis park outside here, every client has their Hummer or Land Cruiser ‘VX”. The patrons are the ‘who’s who’ of Juba, some come with around ten bodyguards and chase cars. “Comfort” is on the river behind the football stadium. They have very good barbeque roast chicken and roast goat meat.
Smart Camp is one of the older night entertainment spots, it used to be well known and rowdy, however it has now changed to an orderly restaurant and bar mainly for Kenyans serving Kenyan food. There is a dark, enclosed bar where there is a Kenyan buffet more or less all day, and a tree shaded open seating area at the back lined with canvas animal paintings. The chairs and tables are plastic, the floor is sandy and there is loud music in the afternoon and evening, making it simple but relaxing and a good place to meet friends and hang out if you speak Kiswahili. The Kenya Association in Southern Sudan meet here every first Sunday of the month. There are large screens for news and football. There is a continental menu, buffet or ‘nyama choma’ at around 25 pounds per meal. Four nights a week there is a Kenyan dance and comedy act with around six youths called the ‘Kariukis’ Located along the main Tong Ping road.
There is also a barber and hair salon, two travel agents and other offices in a double story wooden log office block at the entrance.
Juba Safari Resort
Their Kenyan style roast, fried or boiled meat on order draws people across town. It has a round open sided dance floor and a DJ belts out disco music after 10 p.m. It was really kicking last year, but the crowd has reduced now. There are now several tables placed in the dance floor. Around the dance hall is an open tree shaded area with plastic chairs and tables where beer drinkers relax and enjoy the music, awaiting the action which starts around midnight when more patrons come from the neighboring bars. Located behind Tong Pi ng road next to the airport.
Royal Garden Hotel
There is a disco every Friday and Saturday and once a month there is a live band from Kenya performing. There are several islands just in front of the bar. A very large snake lives in one, it can be seen crossing from Island to Island in the water in the evening and morning. Beyond is a larger island where all the Egrets in Juba sleep. In the evening large flocks of the large white birds swoop in over the Nile, with a sunset behind. They come in to the island in waves, until you can not see the bushes or trees, the Island becomes a spectacular white. I go there just to see the snakes and birds. The Ny ama choma (roast goat meat) is also good.
Green Rokon (ROCK-ON!!!)
Green Rokon Has a long perimeter wall painted bright yellow and is on the Main Malakal/Malakia road, you can’t miss it. I went there first in 2005 when it was an Indian restaurant. Then the large beer garden and huge disco hall opened later. It is normally very loud and packed due to the prime location. They have just completed the one year long renovation. There are lots of statues, fountains, new disco lights and equipment.
Immediately next is the small Green Rokon hotel is for budget accommodation, which will is handy if you meet a friend in the club and feel sleepy, or have had too much to drink.
The owner was constructing a hotel on the UNMIS Road. He started by constructing the dining, restaurant and bar. He also constructed the verandah, car park and renovated the garden. He furnished the kitchen, dining, bar and verandah. To test the equipment and the arrangement, he invited a well known Congolese band and hired some temporary staff and a DJ. The DJ put his lighting and sound equipment and the Congolese band put on a great show for several weeks. So the place became the latest place to hang out in Juba! After the musician left, the bar continued operating on weekends only from Friday to Sunday as the construction of the hotel rooms continued at the back. The owner has said he will not name the place until the rooms are complete. So everybody goes there but they say “Let’s meet at the place with no name”, otherwise known as “Nameless”! When I visited in October 2010, the kitchen staff had all gone back to their normal places so there was no food. But there was a lively crowd in the four sitting areas, the bar, the lounge, the restaurant and the verandah. The DJ was belting out great disco music and people were dancing in the garden.
24 Hour Bar
There is only one, Sahara Hotel bar. It has a very classy open sided bar with two rock fountains, large screen satellite TV, wide selection of wines, spirits, American and European beer in addition to local and East African beer. The barman has the number for several 24 hour taxis. He does not serve cocktails, but tells good stories at 2 to 4 am. There are rooms available if you feel you can not stagger back to your Hotel in the wee hours.
24 Hour Taxis
Call any of the following numbers for more inquiries and reservations: (+211) 977-114235, 977-109079, 977-110882, 955-028720, 955-155534; 927-314177.
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.