News / Africa

    South Sudan, World's Newest Honeymoon Destination

    Many honeymooners head for a sandy beach in the Caribbean, but not Emily and Matthew Albert. They visited South Sudan and took in sights like the Fulla Falls in Nimule National Park.
    Many honeymooners head for a sandy beach in the Caribbean, but not Emily and Matthew Albert. They visited South Sudan and took in sights like the Fulla Falls in Nimule National Park.
    John Tanza
    When newlyweds fly off on their honeymoon, they head for the sandy beaches of the Cayman Islands, Tahiti, the Maldives and -- landlocked South Sudan? 

    That's where Australian couple Matthew and Emily Albert headed on their honeymoon, and they came away with enduring memories and some words of advice for the authorities in the world's newest nation: ease up on visa requirements and improve transportation, and South Sudan could become a hot tourist destination.

    "We were made to feel very welcome from the outset and got to see a country that is pristine in so many ways -- pristine in terms of not being overly done for tourists but also in terms of the environment and magnificent scenery," Matthew Albert told VOA's South Sudan in Focus.

    But just as the couple is likely to face a few bumps and challenges along the (hopefully) long road of marriage, they ran into a few in South Sudan.

    "The biggest challenge was transport, just getting from one place to another," Albert said.

    "We went to Juba to Bor and to Nimule. The road to Nimule is fantastic so that was very easy. Getting to and from Bor from Juba, though, was very difficult. We flew up, and that was very comfortable. But getting back we decided to take a boat down the Nile River. The trip was very long," Albert said with a wry laugh.

    In Nimule, the couple visited the national park, and saw the place where John Garang, the late leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, which fought the government in Khartoum for more than two decades in a civil war that that ended in 2005, hid out during the bitter conflict with the north.

    Garang served briefly as the first vice president in a Sudanese unity government before he was killed in a helicopter crash in July of 2005.

    Another perk that South Sudan has for honeymooners and other tourists is that it is as yet unknown as a tourist destination. In Nimule National Park, Albert said, he and his wife were able to "see the animals in very close proximity with no one else in the park."

    "That is something we'll remember for a very long time. It's an asset that South Sudan has," he said.

    The couple also visited a Dinka cattle camp, which Albert said was one of the highlights of the trip.

    Australian newlyweds Matthew and Emily Albert visited a Dinka cattle camp during their honeymoon in South Sudan.Australian newlyweds Matthew and Emily Albert visited a Dinka cattle camp during their honeymoon in South Sudan.
    x
    Australian newlyweds Matthew and Emily Albert visited a Dinka cattle camp during their honeymoon in South Sudan.
    Australian newlyweds Matthew and Emily Albert visited a Dinka cattle camp during their honeymoon in South Sudan.
    ​"I think the people of South Sudan should be so proud of their country," he said. 

    The government, meanwhile, could do its part to help make the world's newest nation an easier-to-get-to destination for tourists by easing up on visa requirements.

    Albert said that, at present, visitors to South Sudan need to have a "letter of invitation" from someone in the country to get a visa.

    "But to tourists and most people who want to go on honeymoon in South Sudan, they're not going to know somebody," he said.

    "I think it would be fantastic if that little thing could be removed only because it's a barrier to people coming to South Sudan and spending some of their money in South Sudan to help the economy along," Albert said.

    Matthew Albert is a co-founder of Sudanese Australian Integrated Learning (SAIL Program), a non-profit set up in 2001 to provide free language tutoring and community services to the Sudanese community in Australia, many of whom are refugees. Albert ran the SAIL Program until 2008. He traveled previously to what was then southern Sudan in 2004 when he worked for the UNHCR.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Are you serious
    December 13, 2013 10:36 AM
    Sorry - but this is not a very accurate picture of the situation in South Sudan at the moment, and these people are just plain thick. The security situation is deteriorating rapidly, it is impossible to get visas from outside the country unless you know someone, take a photo on the street and you will be threatened with robbery, a beating or worse. Not quite a tourist destination yet...
    In Response

    by: Are you serious
    December 18, 2013 1:10 PM
    wow - and only a few days after my comment there is a coup attempt, 500 people dead and the city on lockdown. As I said before, please stop promoting South Sudan as tourist destination - it is a dangerous and volatile place. First lets look for peace and stability ... and lets not put more naïve people in harms way by suggesting South Sudan is a lovely place to visit.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora