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Mount Kinyeti - A view from our expert author
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in security in South Sudan since these pages were compiled, and some of the practical information here will now be out of date.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.
Part of the little-visited Imatong Mountains, South Sudan’s highest peak offers excellent climbing for those who like a challenge.
East of Nimule lies the Imatong Mountains, which demarcate much of the border between South Sudan and Uganda. The massif rises steeply from the surrounding plains, reaching a pinnacle of 3,187m at the top of Mount Kinyeti, South Sudan’s tallest peak. The British explorer Sir Samuel Baker was the first foreigner to observe the Imatong when he visited the area immediately to the north and west in 1861, and 18 years later Emin Pasha, then governor of Equatoria, trekked along the eastern foothills. The mountains were not properly mapped until the 1920s when the topography was finally surveyed and recorded by the Sudan Government Survey Department. The first botanical report, produced by Thomas Ford Chipp, deputy director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, was published in 1929 after he undertook fieldwork across the range and also made the first known ascent of Mount Kinyeti. The villages of the Imatong are inhabited by various Nilotic tribes, including the Acholi, Lango and Lotuko peoples. Having been ravaged during the Second Civil War and terrorised by the Lord’s Resistance Army who were, for a period, based in mountain hideouts here, the population is slowly recovering and returning to subsistence farming, though gun-related violence remains worryingly high.