Is a land locked country in the northeast Africa, bordering with Sudan the mother, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic.
South Sudan Holidays and Tours
Our South Sudan holidays and tours take you just about as far off the beaten track as it is possible to go, visiting tribal groups that haven't changed their lifestyles much in centuries. For those of you who have seen everything, the chances are that you've not been to South Sudan. The world's newest nation has only officially existed since 2011 and tourism here is a word that is met with rather blank stares.
South Sudan's 'wild east' is home to the Toposa, one of the most traditional ethnic groups in all of Africa, and travelling this far feels rather like getting to the end of the earth.
Although virtually devoid of traditional 'sights' the country's highlights are its myriad peoples, from the wrestling Cattle keeper of Mundari to the Boya in their picturesque villages, most of whom will rarely have encountered outsiders before.
Our South Sudan holidays are exploration at another level from anything you may have experienced before.
10 Days Exploring The Best South Sudan
There are few places left in Africa that compare to South Sudan, a wild and untamed world that is home to some of the continent’s most traditional ethnic groups, living in the same way as their ancient forefathers. Based on our own personal experience of the world’s newest country, this South Sudan tour takes you deep into the tribal heart of a truly fascinating part of the continent. From the boom South Sudan capital of Juba we head east to the land of the Toposa people, an intensely traditional group related to both the Turkana of Kenya and the Surma of Ethiopia, who decorate their faces and bodies with elaborate scarifications that almost defy belief. We spend time exploring their villages and meeting tribal elders before returning westwards, visiting other ethnic groups such as the Boya and Lotuko along the way, learning about the challenges of life here and seeing a side of Africa that few people will ever be privileged enough to witness. Finally, we travel to the homelands of the Mundari people, known for their distinctive tribal scarring and the regular wrestling contests that take place between their villages – we should be able to witness one of these incredible spectacles! This is not always an easy journey – infrastructure is often lacking, and visitors virtually unknown – but without a doubt is one of the most exciting you are likely to make.
Itinerary In Summary:
Day 1 – Juba
Arrive in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Day 2 – Transfer To Torit
Head east through East Equatoria State, to the town of Torit.
Days 3- and 4 – Exploring Toposa Villages
Using Kapoeta as a base we explore the villages of the Toposa people, one of the country’s most traditional ethnic groups.
Day 5 – Boya Villages – Lotuko Village – Torit
Visit the villages of the Boya people, located amongst rocky hills. We then continue to the territory of the Lotuko people, before continuing to Torit for the night.
Day 6 – Transfer To Mundari Villages
A long day’s drive to Terakeka, a centre of the Mundari people. From here we drive into the countryside to meet the Mundari, a traditional ethnic group known for their facial scarring and traditional rituals.
Day 7 – Exploring Mundari villages
A full day spent with the Mundari, exploring their fascinating culture and customs.
Day 8 – Transfer To Juba
After a final morning with the Mundari, return to Juba for relaxation and overnight.
Day 9 – Juba City Tour
Today you go for juba city, visiting interesting in the city.
Day 10 – Departure.
Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day 1 – Arrival in Juba city.
Arrive in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The rest of the day is at leisure to settle for your tour next day or simply relax after your flight. Overnight at your booked hotel.
Day 2 Transfer To Torit
Head east through East Equatoria State, to the town of Torit. The road can be difficult at times, and we may pass evidence of the civil war in the form of tanks, half hidden in the bush. Overnight Hotel Torit or similar. (BLD)
Days 3 and 4 – Exploring Toposa VillagesUsing Kapoeta as a base we explore the villages of the Toposa people, one of the country’s most traditional ethnic groups.We stop in villages and head to the nearby river where local people mine for gold, digging deep holes in the river banks to extract small grains of the precious metal. The Toposa are a fascinating group, related to the Turkana in Kenya, who live well outside of mainstream society and follow lifestyles that have barely changed for centuries, if not millennia. We return to Kapoeta each night. Overnight Mango Camp or similar. (BLD)
The Toposa are the principal ethnic group living around Kapoeta and are perhaps the most interesting in the whole country. Closely related to the Turkana of Kenya and the Karamojong of northern Uganda, they are herders with an economy based largely around livestock. They are also prolific cattle raiders, which has led to conflict with other groups in the past, although with the independence of the country and greater stability this is now less of a problem.
The Toposa live in villages made of mud and sticks, with thatched roofs often adorned with the skulls of cattle. The most striking feature of the Toposa is their practice of scarification. Many of the men and women are decorated with elaborate raised patterns caused by careful incision, covering their upper arms, torsos, backs and in some instances their faces. Although modernity is starting to erode their customs, many of the older Toposa still adhere to traditional dress – for women this is usually animal skins worn around the waist, while men often go naked. No self-respecting Toposa male will leave his compound without the obligatory AK47 slung over his shoulder – while this does not pose a problem to visitors we do ask that you heed your tour leader’s advice when in the Toposa villages, as central authority is weak here. The Toposa are likely to be as curious about you as you are about them though – tourism is virtually non-existent and the concept is not well understood, so expect yourself to be the focus of attention somewhat.
To the south of Kapoeta the Toposa pan and dig for gold by the banks of a river – although the quantities are not large the presence of this resource has created something of a mini gold rush, and it is fascinating to watch the traditional methods used here.
Day 5 – Exploring Boya Villages – Lotuko Village – Torit
Return west in the direction of Juba. At the roadside settlement of Camp 15 we veer off into the bush to explore the villages of the Boya people, located amongst rocky hills. After spending time here, we continue to the territory of the Lotuko people, visiting one of their villages before continuing to Torit for the night. Overnight Hotel Torit or similar. (BLD)
The Boya people live east of the town of Torit, centered around a small and rather ramshackle settlement with the unpoetic name of Camp 15. Living in pretty villages in the shadow of mountains and gigantic boulders, the Boya paint their houses in attractive patterns and adorn themselves with intricate beadwork. Although scarification is practiced here, interestingly it is more prevalent among the younger women rather than the older ones, and the local explanation is that they are copying a ‘trend’ from the Toposa, one of their near neighbors. Traditional mourning dress for Boya women involves wearing animal skins around the waist and binding the legs and arms with thin leaves to make a striped pattern – when a husband dies a Boya woman becomes the property and responsibility of his closest male relative.The Boya are also hunters and it is not uncommon to see groups of children practicing their skills with a bow and arrow on the outskirts of villages.
The Lotuko are the main ethnic group living around Torit, the capital of Eastern Equatoria State. Although less traditional than some other groups, many of the Lotuko live in villages nestled in the hills and hidden among the rocks, which they moved to in order to escape the predations of the civil war. Many of the houses are perched upon raised terraces made of stones, and the general construction and location of the villages makes them difficult to see from afar.
In days gone by the Lotuko were led by a ‘rain-maker’ who was the spiritual head of a number of different villages, and it was his job to intercede with the spirits in order to guarantee rain and ensure a profitable harvest. In some villages it is still possible to find the traditional stone enclosures that served as a meeting point for the men, where problems and issues relating to communal life would be discussed. Around 100,000 in number, the Lotuko have in many ways embraced modernity to a greater extent than other groups, but the attraction of visiting is to wander around their picturesque settlements, different from the villages of the Boya or Toposa and showing a different perspective of life here in South Sudan.
Day 6 - Transfer To Mundari Villages
A long day’s drive to Terakeka, a centre of the Mundari people. From here we drive into the countryside to meet the Mundari, a traditional ethnic group known for their facial scarring and traditional rituals. We hope to be able to see one of the regular wrestling ceremonies that take place between the different villages. Overnight camping. (BLD)
The Mundari live to the north of Juba, centered around the small settlement of Terekeka. Deriving a living from herding and agriculture they live in small villages and follow a largely traditional lifestyle. Custom dictates that young men and women are marked with a series of parallel V-shaped scars on their forehead – this tradition is now officially discouraged by the government and is starting to die out but most over the age of around 25 will sport these markings.
The Mundari are locally famed wrestlers, and on certain days of the week young men from neighboring villages will gather to compete against each other in traditional shows of strength. These are quite a spectacle as the men daub themselves with mud and etch patterns into their bodies, each trying to throw and hold the other to the ground. Watching the surrounding crowd is just as interesting as they cheer and sing songs for their respective teams. This is a chance to see a side of Africa that may not exist for much longer.
Day 7 – Exploring Mundari villages
A full day spent with the Mundari, exploring their fascinating culture and customs. Overnight camping. (BLD)
Day 8 - Transfer To Juba
After a final morning with the Mundari,you will be transfered back to your hotel in Juba for relaxation and finally an Overnight at Hotel Royal Palace or similar. (BL)
Day 9 – Juba City Tour
South Sudan’s capital seems a bit like the Wild West. Having been neglected for so long under rule from Khartoum, independence in 2011 has seen an explosion of infrastructure and building projects, and the city is changing rapidly to become a modern African capital. It wasn’t always so. Juba has its origins in the trading post of Gondokoro, the southernmost outpost of the Egyptian authorities in the 19th century, and then fell under joint Anglo-Egyptian. Used by explorers such as Samuel Baker as a jump off point for expeditions to find the source of the Nile, it was seen as the last semblance of civilization before one headed off into the unknown beyond.
There are few sights in Juba to speak of, but one thing you won’t miss is the steel bridge spanning the Nile, which is the only connection Juba has to Uganda, from where most of its imports arrive.
There is also Dr John Garang museum, the former leader of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army, who was tragically killed in a plane crash before he could see his dreams of an independent South Sudan realized. Juba’s population is a reflection of its boom town status, and as well as South Sudanese you will find a multitude of other nationalities here including Kenyans, Ugandans, Ethiopians, Chinese, Egyptian and European.
New bars and restaurants are springing up quickly to cater for this influx, the nicest of which are on the banks of the river – the best place to have a drink as the sun goes down.
Day 10 - Departure
Transfer to the airport for your flight home hence end of South Sudan experience. (B)
This is a pioneering trip travelling to remote regions which rarely, if ever, see tourists. Infrastructure for much of the trip will be non-existent and a great degree of flexibility is needed to deal with any local conditions which may present themselves.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SOUTH SUDAN /TRAVEL ADVISE
BOOKING TERMS AND CONDITIONS.
Short South Sudan Tour
4 Days Mundari Tour –South Sudan