South Sudan, is a relatively young country in northeastern Africa. After several Sudanese civil wars, South Sudan, officially the Republic of South Sudan, gained its independence from Sudan in 2011. The country is covered in tropical forests, grasslands and contains one of the world’s largest wetlands, the Sudd, which is in the flood plains of the White Nile. South Sudan is a landlocked country bordered by the Central African Republic to the west, the Republic of the Sudan on the north, Ethiopia to the east, Kenya in the southeast, Uganda to the south, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest.
South Sudan has very poor infrastructure to support its economy and is one of the world’s most underdeveloped countries, with most people still depending heavily on agriculture to make a living. However, South Sudan is rich in natural resources, including oil, which eventually could significantly improve its economy. South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Sudan is the most oil dependent country in the world, with oil accounting for nearly all of its exports, and for more than three quarters of its gross domestic product. South Sudan also has other mineral resources, such as iron, copper, chromium, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver, gold, diamonds, and limestone. Unfortunately, South Sudan is still a war-torn country with an ongoing conflict between government forces and opposition rebels that begin in 2013.
South Sudan has a climate, characterized by a heavy rainy season followed by a drier season, with the heaviest rainfall occurring between May and October. South Sudan has high humidity and warm temperatures much of the year, similar to an Equatorial or tropical climate. March is the warmest month with temperatures reaching up towards 100 °F. July is the coolest month with temperatures usually in the 60’s to 80’s.
South Sudan’s forest provided habitat for bongo, giant forest hog, red river hog, African elephant, chimpanzee, and many species of monkeys. South Sudan’s grasslands and savannas provided homes for African elephant, giraffe, common eland, giant eland, oryx, lion, African wild dog, and African cape buffalo. South Sudan’s Bandingilo National Park and Boma National Park host one of the largest wildlife migration in the world, featuring white-eared kob and Nile Lechwe. The Southern National Park, near the Democratic Republic of the Congo border, also has populations of African cape buffalo, African elephant, giraffe, and lion. South Sudan has nearly 100 species of mammals living within its border.
Some of the bird species found in South Sudan’s wetlands include the Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina), Pink-backed Pelican (Pelecanus rufescens), Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis) and Saddle-billed Stork (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis). Over 400 species of birds are found in South Sudan.
There are also about 100 species of fishes found in South Sudan.
South Sudan is host to spectacular wildlife migrations which provides an important economic opportunity for the country. If this resource is managed properly, South Sudan could create a thriving tourism industry. Tourism in neighboring Kenya and Tanzania, the two countries benefiting from the Serengeti migrations, contributes more than a billion dollars a year to each country’s national economy. That is nearly a quarter of South Sudan’s national budget in 2013.
South Sudan National Parks
Bandingilo National Park
Boma National Park
Lontoto National Park
Lontoto National Park is nearly 300 square miles and lies just against the border from Garamba National Park (in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Lontoto National Park is a composite of woodlands, forests and open grasslands. Wildlife within the national park include African elephant, Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), African cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), Kob, Roan antelope and Giraffe. Garamba National park was also the location of the last known population of Northern White Rhino (which just recently went extinct).