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SOUTH SUDAN - AVOID ALL TRAVEL
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) advises against all travel to the Republic of South Sudan, including the border areas and the city of Juba, due to the present high level of armed conflict, inter-ethnic violence and violent crime. Military activity, including clashes, took place in and around Juba in mid-December 2013, and the situation is increasingly unstable outside of Juba.
DFATD has authorized the return of essential staff to Juba. You are urged to leave now by commercial means, as it may become increasingly difficult to do so if the situation deteriorates further. The Juba airport is open, as well as the road linking Juba to Uganda and the Nimule border crossing.
If you choose to remain in the country despite this advisory, restrict your movements, ensure that your travel documents are up to date, and keep abreast of the latest developments. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) service and carefully follow messages issued through this service. Be aware that the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance in South Sudan is extremely limited. Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi at +254-20-366-3000 or +254-73-442-0366, or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-613-996-8885.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
Security incidents occurred in Juba on March 5, 2014, and may be ongoing. Roadblocks have been set up and the road to the airport is closed. If you are in the area, remain indoors and avoid movements throughout the city.
A curfew is in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. in many locations, including in Juba.
Direct military confrontations between South Sudan and Sudan occur periodically and have greatly decreased security in regions bordering Sudan.
Inter-tribal clashes occur without warning throughout the country, and there is frequent fighting between the army and armed militia groups. The risk of domestic terrorism is high.
The situation is extremely volatile in Jonglei State (more specifically in Bor and in Akobo), where sustained fighting and inter-ethnic violence has been reported since mid-December 2013.
Northern Regions: Unity, Upper Nile, Northern Warrap, Northern Jonglei and Northern Bahr el-Ghazal States
Tensions between South Sudan and Sudan have led to increased military activity in regions bordering Sudan, and both states have threatened to escalate their activities. Aerial bombardments have been reported in Unity State (including the town of Bentiu), Upper Nile State, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal State. Fighting in the border regions in recent months has displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border, according to the United Nations.
Be aware of security threats in the oil development region (including Unity state, Northern Bahr-al-Ghazal state, Northern Warrap state, and Northwestern Jonglei state). Oil installations and the surrounding areas are potential targets for military and rebel attacks.
The Abyei region, which borders Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, and Unity states, is a disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan. Since 2011, the Abyei region has been the site of frequent fighting and mass displacement. In April 2012, South Sudan announced plans to escalate its military activities in the Abyei region.
There is a heightened risk of attacks and kidnappings in the region. Armed groups have carried out successful attacks on foreign workers, including oil-field workers.
Western Regions: Western Bahr El Ghazal, Western Equatoria, and Central Equatoria
The presence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) within DRC and CAR has been a source of cross-border attacks into South Sudan. In March 2012, the African Union launched a joint military offensive against the LRA. A previous joint offensive led to violent LRA retaliations against the civilian population in villages located in western border areas. Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands more have fled the region. There is a heightened risk of attacks and kidnappings in the region.
Regional terror groups, including those associated with al Qaeda and al-Shabaab, continue to threaten Western interests and other potential targets in South Sudan. The September 21, 2013 attack on an upscale Nairobi mall illustrates the threat of attacks on civilians in East Africa. Further attacks cannot be ruled out. Be vigilant in crowded places and monitor local media.
There is widespread violent crime, including kidnappings, armed robbery and burglary, throughout South Sudan. The security risk is especially high in Juba, which has seen regular outbreaks of violence and lawlessness as well as an increase in crimes involving guns.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Road conditions in South Sudan are poor. Many roads are sand tracks. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required except in some urban areas such as Juba and Malakal. Only experienced and fully equipped travellers should undertake desert travel; basic equipment should include a shovel, metal ramps for heavy sand, a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, spare fuel and water supplies. Roadblocks are common. You should have your identity and vehicle documents readily available. Unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and roaming animals pose risks.
Taxis are available in urban centres but are generally old and uncomfortable. Public transportation is limited outside of major urban areas.
An irregular train service operates between Wau and Khartoum. Trains are dilapidated. Only top-of-the-line buses should be used; most other buses are irregularly scheduled, poorly maintained and very badly driven. Fatal accidents involving buses are routine.
Sudan Airways runs air services between Khartoum and Juba, Wau and Malakal.There have been several crashes involving Sudan Airways and other carriers operating within Sudan and South Sudan, resulting in significant loss of life. A number of air-transport options are now available for internal travel. With the secession of South Sudan, the normal points of entry into the new country are now generally Nairobi, Kenya; Entebbe and Kampala, Uganda; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Flying from Khartoum into Juba is possible, but the airlines operate old planes. Note that additional documents may be required for entry when flying from Khartoum. Consult our Transportation FAQ in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
You should arrive at Juba's international airport at least two - and preferably three - hours before departure. Departure formalities are complicated and non-computerized. There is no sign board to indicate departure and arrival times and you should expect delays. Be advised that flights between Juba and Khartoum, Sudan, stopped operating in April 2012.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. As a newly formed country, the Republic of South Sudan is in the process of establishing entry and exit requirements for travellers and opening embassies around the world. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the South Sudanese authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) Embassy in Washington DC for up-to-date information:
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Passport and visas
All Canadians travelling to the Republic of South Sudan must hold a visa and a valid Canadian passport. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the expected date of return.
Canadians wishing to travel to South Sudan are advised to obtain a visa prior to departure.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Transit visa: Required
Visas are not granted automatically to prospective travellers. Canadians should contact the GoSS Embassy in Washington DC to obtain a visa in advance of travelling. Alternatively, you may apply for a visa in person on route to South Sudan at the GoSS Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia or the GoSS Liaison Office in Nairobi, Kenya.
Canadian citizens of South Sudanese origin are strongly advised to use only their Canadian passport when travelling in and out of South Sudan.
It is not yet known whether the GOSS legally recognizes dual nationality, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.
Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
This country is in the African Meningitis Belt, an area where there are many cases of meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease (meningitis) is a serious and sometimes fatal infection of the tissue around the brain and the spinal cord. Travellers who may be at high risk should consider getting vaccinated. High-risk travellers include those living or working with the local population (e.g., health care workers), those travelling to crowded areas or taking part in large gatherings, or those travelling for a longer period of time.
There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.
Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Central Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Central Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Central Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis, Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. Tsetse fly bites are painful and if the disease is left untreated it is eventually fatal. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from bites especially in game parks and rural areas during the day. Avoid wearing bright or dark-coloured clothing as these colours attract tsetse flies. There is no vaccine available for this disease.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.
Visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) affects the bone marrow and internal organs. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly. It can also be transmitted by blood transfusion or sharing contaminated needles. If left untreated it can cause death. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine available for leishmaniasis.
Onchocerciasis (river blindness) is an eye and skin disease caused by a parasite spread through the bite of an infected female blackfly. Onchocerciasis often leads to blindness if left untreated. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from blackfly bites, which are most common during the daytime and close to running water. There is no vaccine available for onchocerciasis although drug treatments exist.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in Central Africa, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.
Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and detention page for more information.
A permit for photography is required. Permits can be obtained at the Ministry of Information. Even with a photography permit, taking pictures of or near military installations is strictly prohibited.
Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are frowned upon; overtly homosexual behaviour will render an individual liable to immediate arrest, and possibly imprisonment.
By Western standards, the Republic of South Sudan is a traditional, conservative society. Women should dress conservatively (no short skirts, bare arms or low necklines); men and women should not wear shorts in public and should be extremely discreet when swimming.
The currency is the South Sudan pound (SSP). The Sudan pound is not recognized as legal tender. Only change money at banks and other established institutions, as money changers who operate on the street often scam travellers with counterfeit notes. You should carry sufficient funds in U.S. dollars to cover your expenses for the duration of your stay and assume that you will have to pay for all international flights booked in South Sudan in U.S. dollars. Transferring U.S. or Canadian dollars to the country is impossible. Most currency exchange houses and merchants do not accept U.S. currency dated before 2006.
Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are not accepted in South Sudan. There are automated banking machines (ABMs), but they are not reliable. Larger expenses, such as hotel bills, must be paid in cash.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
The rainy season in South Sudan lasts six months, from May to October. Some roads may become impassable during this period due to flooding. You should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the High Commission of Canada in Nairobi or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 1-613-996-8885.