I’m sure I forgot some good ones and I welcome your suggestions, however, this is a good start for helping to ensure the best trip possible to Southern Sudan:
At Least Two Months Before Traveling to Sudan:
- Apply for your travel permit (visa’s are not being issued at this time 8/5/2011). Contact the ROSS (Republic of South Sudan) office in Washington DC.Contact person: Ms. Sarah Chan
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Contact information subject to change)
- Travel permits are $65.00 expedited (24 hours)
- $51.00 regular delivery (approximately 5 business days)
- *Payment is accepted by Money Order only.
- Permits are good for one month and multiple permits may be purchased if you wish to stay longer.
In order to purchase travel documents, you will need to do the following:
- Fill out an application. You can request the application by contacting the ROSS office (contact info above) and one will be emailed to you.
- A letter from your employer or another individual stating your purpose for travel to The Republic of South Sudan.
- Two Passport size Photos.
- Payment in the form of money order.
- 2. Check with your local Travel clinic or physician regarding necessary inoculations. You may need to begin some inoculations, such as hepatitis B, several months before traveling.*You must have documentation of the Yellow Fever vaccine to enter Kenya.
- 3. Be sure to check with your airline carrier in regards to luggage weights and restrictions. We also recommend purchasing travel Insurance. It’s inexpensive and it can save you thousands of dollars in regards to emergency medical treatment, lost luggage, changed/missed flights, etc.*We flew a direct flight on Ethiopian Air Lines from Washington DC to Juba (with short stops in Rome and Addis Ababa). We were extremely happy with this airline and would recommend it to others. It was also less expensive than some of the other carriers.
- 4. Make sure your Passport is up to date and that you bring your proof of vaccinations with you, especially Yellow Fever. You will not be allowed entrance into Kenya without it! You may want to store important documents in a money belt and/or a plastic Ziploc bag. You will also need a certified letter from an American doctor if you are bringing excess medicines for clinics, hospitals, etc. We recommend using TSA approved locks on your luggage when packing medicines.*Do not pack expensive jewelry, money, computers or other valuables in your suitcase! Pack it in your carry on luggage and keep it with you at all times.
- 5. Make copies of all official documents, Passport, inoculations, etc. and leave them with someone that can fax/email them to you in case yours is lost. *This suggestion is not meant to imply that copies will be accepted.
- 6. There are certain restrictions on foreign currency in Sudan. Make sure that all bills are clean (no marks, tears, etc.) and that bills have as current a print date as possible. At the time of this writing, a print date of 2007 or higher was suggested on all paper currency. Anything else can result in lower exchange rates or denial of acceptance. Money must be free of any markings, tears, etc. We found the best exchange rates at banks in larger cities, such as Juba.
Two Days Before Leaving (or as Prescribed By Your Doctor):
Begin taking anti-malaria medication. (Malerone is often recommended for this area and with the exception of causing nightmares in a few travelers, it worked well for all those on our delegation. Some people do experience stomach discomfort with this medication and it is recommended that you take it with the heaviest meal of the day).
As Soon As You Arrive:
Register with the local police and pay any visitor’s fees/ taxes. Check at the airport for more info. Approximately $30-40.00 per person.
Be careful when using your camera in public places, especially in the larger cities like Juba, etc. Do not take photos of people without their permission. Photos of law enforcement, soldiers, and pertinent government facilities are generally not permitted. If you doubt the seriousness of these violations, speak with some of the people that have had their cameras and film confiscated and never returned. One man had his camera confiscated simply for taking a picture of the Juba Bridge! I also recommend packing your film/disc in separate bags.
If staying in Juba for an extended period of time and requiring transportation to multiple locations we recommend hiring a private air conditioned car service, approximately $150.00 a day at the time of this writing.
It is also a good idea to check with the local UN officials and NGO’s regarding security issues and security “hot spots.”
- Spare batteries for all appliances, cameras, phones (there are no recharging facilities whatsoever in rural areas)
- Electrical converter
- Ziploc/waterproof bags to protect passport and personal items that might leak
- Bug Spray (*December to April is the dry season and insects are not so bad, but better safe than sorry!)
- Small free standing battery operated fan and an inexpensive accordion type hand held fan. (These items were life savers!!!)
- Toilet paper (Remove the inside cardboard cylinder and pack flat). I recommend septic tank safe toilet paper and not the thicker brands. This prevents back up of sensitive sewage lines in Sudan
- Mosquito net -The fully enclosed (tent type) is highly recommended
- Long sleeved/sun guard shirts
- Light weight long trousers (the ones with zip off legs are nice for men)
- Light weight cotton skirts (at least knee length) are recommended for women. Shorts, tight fitting jeans, shirts tha texpose the midriff and spaghetti strap tops are NOT recommended due to cultural traditions
- Solid/waterproof walking boots (Most of our group wore sturdy sandals like Teva’s and were fine). However, if you’re staying/travelling in the bush, I’d recommend boots as you may have to walk in knee deep water or step over poisonous snakes/scorpions. (Be sure to break them in before leaving!)
- Wide brimmed hat/cap
- Vaseline for dry cracked feet. Most effective when applied at night with light weight socks
- Anti-bacterial lotion/baby wipes
- Small packs of Kleenex
- Earplugs (to block out airplane noise and snoring roommates!)
- Small pillow with protective cover (for travel and sleeping in bush). I brought my large pillow also. You will not be staying at the Ritz
- Feminine Hygiene products. This will also increase the use of under garments when washing them isn’t an option
- Alarm clock (with glow in the dark dial)
- Inexpensive rain poncho (for rainy season)
- Money belt/neck pouch
- Small duffle bag (for day trips on small humanitarian planes with rigid weight restrictions). When leaving Juba and traveling to other areas like Bor, Yei, etc., we left the bulk of our luggage in storage at our hotel (for a fee). Check with your hotel to see if similar arrangements are available
When Sleeping in the Bush/Rural Villages:
- Tent with enough strong pegs for the hard ground (mosquito proof & rain proof)
- Light sleeping bag/foam mattress/inflatable pillow
- Small waterproof backpack (for day trips in the rain or trips on small/humanitarian planes with rigid weight restrictions)
- Small blanket (At certain times of the year it can get quite cool at night)
Just because water is in a bottle doesn’t mean it’s safe. Never drink from a bottle without the seal in tact.
Several favorites include:
- Steripen UV sterilizer and water filter (bring a wide mouthed water bottle to use with it). You can also use this with bottled water.
- Swiss made Katadyn-Waterfilter (Pocketfilter type 2010000)
Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan bought several Steripens/filters and offers them to local Sudanese traveling to Sudan for a $100. refundable cash deposit. When they return with the pens (in working order) their money is refunded and they have $100 to help pay their bills!
The better hotels in Juba have plenty of food and drinks available, but you will need extra food in the bush and for your drive from Juba to areas like Yei, Bor, etc.
- Dehydration salts/powdered like Gatorade or PowerAde (This is VERY important!)
- Dried fruit/Nuts-Trail mix (Remember to pack food and water on long road trips. There are not stores a long the way, just occasional roadside stands)
- Dried meat/sausages/canned tuna
- Crisp dry bread
- Granola bars
- Protein bars (Due to the hot weather, I don’t recommend chocolate or other food items that melt.)
- Peanut butter cheese crackers
- Flavored drinks/powdered tea mixes
- Corn starch or baby powder for chaffing/foot blisters
- Small medical kit (bandages, antibiotic ointment, etc.)
- Anti-bacterial wipes/lotion
- Cipro (anti-biotic for diarrhea and infections)
- Antimalarial medication/preventative (Lariam/Fansimef/Chloroquine/malerone)
- Chewable Pepto-Bismol/Rolaids for upset stomach
- Canker sore/fever blister medication
- Chap stick (villagers love this too!)
- Anti-diarrheal medication is not often recommended, as diarrhea can signal a parasite infestation. Anti-diarrheal medication can cause the parasite colonies to multiply inside you. Be sure to first treat with Cipro and hydrate. (Ask the advice of your local physician before traveling.)
- Dehydration salts or powdered Gatorade or PowerAde. Other granule drinks like tea or lemonade are also a good option, but they will not properly hydrate you. *Very important!
- Non-drowsy motion sickness medicine (over the counter Bonine, etc.)
- Anti-biotic eye and ear ointments (I injured my eye on my trip and could not find an eye doctor anywhere in Juba. I finally found a small store that sold antibiotic eye drops, but you will most likely not be so fortunate in the bush!)
Think of the worst case scenario when compiling your medical needs and then leave whatever you don’t use behind with local villagers. You can even buy temporary filling mix for your teeth!
Just for Fun:
- Bubbles: Bring large bubble wands (don’t bother with the small ones. They leak all over your hands and there’s no water to wash them). Show the village kids how to blow bubbles and how to chase them and pop the bubbles. (Be sure to explain not to drink the liquid or get it in their eyes.) It provides hours of fun and it’s a great crowd-pleaser/ice breaker!
- Plastic baseball bat/balls: Most kids have never played baseball. It’s a huge hit!
- Soccer Balls/air pump: Everyone loves soccer in Sudan! Deflate the balls when packing and use the pump to inflate them in the villages. Be sure to leave all your fun things behind when returning home.
- Lollipops: Sure to bring a smile and make instant friends! Be sure to show the children how to remove the wrappers before eating!
- Colored pencils/paper/sharpeners
- Crafts (bead kits, embroidery items, etc.)
Be sure to leave any unused items when returning home!
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** The information contained in this document is based on the personal experiences of Joan Hecht and others traveling to Sudan and may be subject to change. It is not meant to replace the medical advice of your physician or travel adviser. The author accepts no liability or responsibility as the result of recommendations used within this document. *All text on
this site is copyright protected and can NOT be copied or used without
written permission from the Alliance. (Last updated 5-29-2011)
©2009-2010 Joan Hecht
Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan is a registered 501 C-3 Foundation EIN #59-3808251