Dinka boy and his cattle © Levison Wood
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in security in South Sudan since these pages were compiled, and some of the practical information here will now be out of date.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.
Giving something back
The concept of responsible tourism has really taken off in recent years. As well as travelling for personal gratification, people increasingly realise that they are travelling through other people’s homes. In a country like South Sudan, that has been wracked by civil war and is only now starting to open to foreign visitors, it is incumbent on tourists to travel in as responsible a manner as possible and to set a positive example that both the locals, and future visitors, can follow. The adage of responsible tourism says ‘take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints’. While it is certainly necessary to highlight the potentially negative impact of tourism, this doesn’t take into account the positive effects your visit can have. Try to ensure that as much of the money you spend goes directly into the local economy, spreading the benefits of your relative wealth. Don’t waste resources. Food and clean water are in short supply across South Sudan and there is also a lack of electricity. Turn off lights and air conditioning when you leave your hotel room. Disposing of waste is always a tricky one in the developing world. You’ll see plenty of people casually throwing litter out of the window of buses or on to the street, and on the outskirts of some towns you could swear that the locals have specially sown fields of plastic bags there are so many flapping in the wind. That being said, there’s no need to add to this yourself, so throw away your rubbish with care. It’s also worth bearing in mind that just drinking bottled water carries a high environmental cost in plastic waste, so you might consider also using water treatment tablets in a reusable bottle.