Cautious hope for tourism revival in South Sudan under new government

Following the return of the head of the SPLM-IO, Dr. Riek Machar, to the South Sudan capital of Juba earlier in the week and his subsequent immediate swearing in as the country’s First Vice President, a new government was announced yesterday with proportionate representation of the former enemies, the SPLM-IG (in government), the SPLM-IO (in opposition), and representatives of former detainees who, while surviving the genocidal action of the regime on December 15, 2013 did not manage to escape and were incarcerated. They were later freed on intervention of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, participated in the Addis Ababa peace talks, and have now made a return into mainstream government where they were active until that fateful day.

The portfolio for Wildlife Conservation and Tourism went to the SPLM-IG’s Jemma Nunu Kumba giving hope that a gradual revival of tourism into South Sudan can be accomplished over the next year and that the rampant poaching can be brought under control again.

The country is richly endowed with wildlife and in particular the great migration from the Boma National Park, and the Sudd to the Bandigalo National Park along the White Nile is worth seeing as it comprises up to two million gazelles, antelopes, and other game. Other national parks are also said to be interesting to visit but have been cut off when the civil war broke out and a major stock taking is now needed to establish game numbers and accessibility.

The only presently licensed safari operator in Juba has already started to promote expeditions and safaris for late 2016, waiting until then to ensure that key infrastructure like bridges, park gates, and airstrips are all back in operation to allow for smooth safari itineraries.

One tour in particular stands out which will allow participants to search for and collect artifacts which can then be handed over to a new museum in which the rich history, heritage, and traditional cultures of the many South Sudan tribes will be showcased.