National Parks of South Sudan: Unparalleled Natural Experience

National Parks of South Sudan, in the world’s youngest country, safeguard some of the greatest pristine wildernesses despite its small size and arid landscape. Until the civil conflict in 1983, South Sudan was one of northern Africa’s best-preserved wilderness areas and still is. These national parks are home to several endangered species as well as wildlife and dry-weather flora. This country of cultural diversity is positioned just above the equator, which influences the type of vegetation, animals, and lifestyle of its people.

The National Parks of South Sudan play a crucial role in safeguarding the country’s top animal habitats, which encompass the Nile Delta, marshes, high plateau areas, wide savannah grasslands, and escarpments. These vital habitats are protected by South Sudan’s six major national parks, some of which boast the second-greatest animal population in the world. 

Among the best National Parks of South Sudan are Boma National Park, Bandingilo National Park, and Southern National Park. Additionally, others such as Nimule, Lantoto, and Radom National Parks contribute significantly to the conservation efforts of the country’s diverse wildlife and ecosystems.

National Parks of South Sudan, Boma National Park

Best National Parks of South Sudan

South Sudan, despite its relatively young status as an independent nation, boasts several national parks and protected areas, offering opportunities to explore its diverse wildlife and natural landscapes. Here are some of the best National Parks in  South Sudan check out;

Boma National Park of South Sudan

Boma National Park, located in Jonglei State near the Ethiopian border is believed to be South Sudan’s largest national park and one of the world’s largest protected areas. Established in 1977, the park spans 22,800 km2 (8,800 square miles) of grasslands and floodplains. Boma National Park lies in the Somali-Maasai and Sudano-Guinean biomes and further features large short meadows and acacia scrub. Wetlands, both seasonal and permanent can also be discovered with the largest being the Juom Swamp to the north.

Boma National Park is popular for the world’s second-largest yearly animal migration that occurs when various antelope species, including Bohor reedbuck, white-eared kob, and tiang, migrate between the park, Bandingilo, and Ethiopia’s Gambella National Park from January to June. And the trend is reversed from November to January. Furthermore, Boma National Park boasts incredible wildlife including three of the African Big Five (African leopard, elephant, and buffalo), tiang, white-eared Kob, Mongalla gazelle, common eland, Nubian giraffe, Grant’s gazelle, oryx, Lelwel hartebeest, Northeast African cheetah, maneless zebra, waterbuck, lesser kudu, bongo, and giant eland. It is also a significant bird habitat, with species such as Ruppell’s vulture and black-chested snake eagle.

Boma National Park is best visited during the dry seasons from June to September which is the best time for wildlife viewing. However, the period of March through June is the best time to explore the animal migration in the park.

Bandingilo National Park of South Sudan

Bandingilo National Park, sometimes known as Badingilo, is located in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria area. Established in 1992, as one of the National Parks of South Sudan, it covers more than 10,000 square kilometers and features vast marshlands that extend into Jonglei state, as well as the Sudd. 

Bandingilo National Park is also home to the world’s second-largest annual animal migration, which includes multiple species of antelope such as reedbuck, tiang, and white-eared kob. During the rainy season (April, May, June, July, August, September, and October), the herds migrate into the park from Boma National Park, making it an ideal time to witness wildlife in South Sudan. Elephants, lions, giraffes, hippos, and zebras, among others, all call the park home. Bandingilo National Park is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 400 different bird species making this park home.

Bandingilo National Park of South Sudan is best visited during the dry season, which normally lasts from December to March. During this period, the grasslands are less thick, making it simpler to find species. Access to the park may be limited during the rainy season, which runs from April to November since the marshes and meadows get inundated, making it impossible to move throughout the park. Thus, is it better to plan before traveling.

Nimule National Park of South Sudan

Situated along South Sudan’s border with Uganda, Nimule National Park is one of the National Parks of South Sudan and is the country’s most accessible national park, located about 190 kilometers (118 miles) from Juba. Nimule National Park covers a total surface area of 410 square kilometers, also making it South Sudan’s smallest national park. 

Nimule National Park of South Sudan was initially established to preserve the white rhino which is now extinct, nonetheless, the park is home to a plethora of wildlife including vast herds of elephants, Uganda Kobs, Lelwel Hartebeest, Crocodile, Duiker, Hippo, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Oribi, Leopard, Serval, Olive Baboon, Vervet monkey, and Warthog, as well as an impressive bird population. Visitors can explore this park all year and engage in safaris such as boat tours, and safari drives, among others.


Southern National Park of South Sudan

Located in Central Equatoria State, Southern National Park stands as another cornerstone among the National Parks of South Sudan. Founded in 1939, the park covers an area of 23,000 square kilometers of bushveld and gallery forests. It is bordered by the rivers Gel to the East and Sue to the West whereas the Ibba River sits at its center. The park’s wildlife includes giant eland, hartebeest, waterbuck, kob, korrigum, oribi, African buffalo, Kordofan giraffe, reedbuck, lion, colobus monkey, and giant forest hog, to name a few.

Southern National Park of South Sudan also boasts a variety of aquatic life, including aba, tilapia, Nile bichir, lungfish, catfish, and several crocodiles. Visitors may also enjoy its outstanding birdlife with marabou storks and pelicans in views. Southern National Park is sparsely inhabited and receives few tourists, making it a hidden gem worth exploring on South Sudan Tours. The Park is open all year but is best visited during the dry season from June to September.  

Shambe National Park of South Sudan

Located on the western bank of the White Nile, about 300 kilometers north of Juba, Shambe National Park stands as one of the captivating National Parks of South Sudan, covering 620 square kilometers. The Park encompasses diverse habitats ranging from acacia tree-populated Sahelian woods to stunning shallow floodplains dotted with date palm islands. To the east, the park is bordered by the massive Sudd Wetland which accounts for more than 20% of South Sudan’s total landmass during the rainy season. This makes Shambe a popular bird-watching destination in South Sudan with countless migratory species throughout the year.

Other wildlife to look out for in the park include the elusive Shambe leopard, hippos, elephants, foxes, African buffaloes, and various primate species. This hidden gem can be explored any time of the year however, travelers have better opportunities for wildlife viewing during the dry season (June to September). During this season, the weather is good and the wildlife is more active, making it simpler to identify the numerous species that inhabit this area.

All in all, the National Parks of South Sudan and Reserves are quite diverse, offering a variety of opportunities for wildlife viewing, birdwatching, hiking, nature walks, cultural encounters, and other African adventures. However, travelers need to note that infrastructure and tourism facilities in South Sudan are still developing, and visiting these areas may require careful planning and coordination with local authorities or reputable tour operators. Additionally, travelers should stay informed about travel advisories and safety considerations when visiting South Sudan.


Best of South Sudan Tours

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