Electricity in South Sudan will be tricky to track down. This report finds that only three of the south’s 10 states have electric generation systems in place. Luckily, I’ll be based out of Juba, Sudan, the south’s capital, so electricity while I’m there should be an easy obstacle to tackle.
As for traveling and charging my phone, camera and computer, I’ll need to figure out a way to charge my batteries. I’ve budgeted to buy an extra phone battery, along with a portable phone charger for my sat phone when I travel throughout the south. I’ll also purchase a wireless Internet plugin that can be used worldwide along with a portable laptop charger.
Eating in the country is an interesting topic. Sudan obviously isn’t known for its culinary prowess, so I won’t budget for dining out. I’m basically just trying to subside while I’m there.
Water is an important issue that I’ve tried to add into my budget. Although the locals drink the water that is served in restaurants and hotels, it’s been advised that while traveling in the country I avoid the tap water because of the prevalence of acute water diarrhea.
The public holidays throughout the country include: Christmas on Dec. 25, Independence Day on Jan. 1, Coptic Christmas on Jan. 7, Al-Mowlid Al Nabawi (Birth of the Prophet) on Feb. 15, Coptic Easter on April 25, Revolution Day on June 30, Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan) on Aug. 30, Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) on Nov. 6, and Islamic New Year on Nov. 28.
Exchange rates in the country are at $1USD converting to about 274 Sudanese Dinar (SDD).
South Sudan varies greatly in terms of climate compared with the desert in the north and central part of the country. It’s much more temperate there and annual temperatures stay around 80F.
It’s advised to keep a low profile in the country because of the diversity of cultures and the varying laws throughout the land. Homosexuality, for example, is penalized by death throughout the land. Foreigners are often treated the same as nationals, who often receive lashings as punishment rather than time in jail.
Alcohol in the country is banned, as it is in all Islamic-ruled nations.
I’ll likely get in with local NGOs in Juba, South Sudan to learn the ins and outs of that area of the country. There’s only so much research to do on the country before being thrown into the real situation, so I can only be as prepared as my distant research.
Because credit cards aren’t accepted in South Sudan, I’ll budget in a large amount of cash ($5,000) to assure that I have access to food and water when I’m there. I’ll arrange payment ahead of time with the hotel I’m staying in to avoid any problems with lack of funds, so the $5,000 cash will be more than enough to fund my trip, with some left over in case of emergencies. Lodging and airfare account for a vast majority of my trip, and I’m worried I’ve been too conservative on the cost of food and water for a three month trip to South Sudan, so the leftover cash will do me well. (It never hurts to have extra money for inevitable bribes along the way.)
Before going there I’ll have to obtain a single visa to work in the country for up to six months. This will cost $221USD. My passport will allow me to travel into the country because I’ve never been to Israel. Like most Islamic nations, anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport will not be permitted to enter the country. I’m curious to see how the Government of South Sudan deals with this issue after it splits in July 2011.