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

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs