Juba, the capital city of the Republic of South Sudan, is one of Africa's fastest growing cities, not least due to the waves of Chinese workers who have moved there to help develop the area's oil industry. It is estimated that today Juba has a metro population of some 440,000 (2022), rising from 200,000 in just six years. The city is located on the Bahr al-Jabal (the Mountain Nile) and was effectively founded in 1922 by Greek traders, although the area had been a trading hub for Turkish traders from the 19th century. After the Second World War, Juba came to prominence when a conference was held there in which representatives of the northern and southern parts of the Sudan agreed to unify against the wishes of the British Government who had planned on what is now South Sudan becoming part of neighbouring Uganda. This unification though was seemingly doomed to failure with Juba becoming the home of southern resistance to northern domination over the following decades. Conflict was ongoing until 1972 then erupted again in 1983 however ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 which granted autonomy to the region of southern Sudan with Juba being named as the semi-autonomous regional capital. When the southern region of Sudan finally seceded in 2011, Juba became the capital of the newly independent country of South Sudan.
Juba is largely comprised of four areas. Firstly the Nile Camps which sit on the River Nile itself. These camps include the Oasis and Mango camps as well as a number of hotels and are the site of the Juba Bridge that stretches across the Nile. Juba itself, originally a small port on a tributary to the Nile, is home to the city's jail, police, banks and bureaus. Wizara Road hosts Juba's parliament and government ministries as well as offices for UNICEF and other organisations whilst Malakia is the commercial and shopping sector of the city. Rubbish is normally piled up on the streets and set fire to whilst the city itself is strewn with makeshift buildings made of bricks with tin roofs. Some have described Juba as one big construction site and locals speak ruefully of the influx of foreigners in recent years that have created a relatively cosmopolitan society with Ugandan and Eritrean restaurants as well as Kenyan food kiosks. European style casual dress is the norm. Nearly everything in Juba is shipped in by road with the construction of a highway from Juba to the Ugandan border facilitating this trade.
There aren't any tourist attractions as such in Juba, however visitors can take in All Saints Cathedral, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, St.Theresa Cathedral, the main Mosque and Juba Stadium. Clearly a visit wouldn't be complete without spending some time on and around the river. Please note, the security situation across South Sudan remains volatile and criminals are active, many armed as weapons are in no short supply following years of turmoil. We also recommend avoiding public transport as many drivers aren't qualified to be on the roads, pop-up illegal checkpoints manned by armed men are common place and women in particular are often physically absused. Road accidents are also common. To put this in context, South Sudan remains one of the most dangerous operating environments for aid workers in the world with regular incidents of violence, intimidation, arbitrary detentions and kidnappings being reported. A holiday destination of choice for the (very) few! The video of Juba (below) gives a good look and feel of the city.
Juba Profile: Volunteer in South Sudan
Juba Profile: Juba City Map
Juba Profile: Sponsor Children in South Sudan
Juba Profile: Country Profile
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