Please note There has been a serious deterioration in security in South Sudan since these pages were compiled, and some of the practical information here will now be out of date. In particular, many areas are currently not safe to travel. You are advised to contact your embassy and local agents prior to travelling. 

The closest thing Juba has to a pilgrimage site, the understated grave of South Sudan’s rebel leader and founding father is an essential stop on any tour of Juba.

The grave of John Garang is the closest thing Juba has to a pilgrimage site. It has no specific opening times and is heavily guarded around the clock, although if you approach the soldiers in a friendly manner they’ll permit you to go inside and probably even pose for photos. The grave itself measures 4m by 2m and appears to be covered in cream kitchen tiles, and there are bunches of faded plastic flowers for decoration. It is set within a surprisingly clean grassed area, although it’s not really a place you’d want to linger. Opposite the grave site is the John Garang Statue, erected in 2011.

Dr John Garang's grave by Jane Waite
© Jane Waite

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