Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 14 November 2022, 13:54 NZDT
  • Still current at: 21 March 2023

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If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.

Do not travel

Do not travel to South Sudan due to ongoing armed conflict, inter-ethnic violence and violent crime (level 4 of 4).

New Zealanders currently in South Sudan are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so.

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South Sudan

Armed conflict/civil unrest
Pockets of armed conflict between government and various opposition forces remain and the security situation in Juba has the potential to deteriorate with little or no warning. The political and security situation throughout South Sudan remains volatile. 

Inter-ethnic violence and cattle raiding continues to occur throughout the country, with significant loss of life. There is a complete absence of rule of law outside of the capital Juba and even in Juba, the capacity of the authorities to uphold law and order is very limited.

Areas within 40 kilometres of South Sudan’s northern border with Sudan are also particularly dangerous and vulnerable to armed incursions and violence.  Parts of the border remain disputed and military forces are deployed in these areas.

The border areas with South Sudan’s other neighbouring countries, including Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, the Central African Republic, and Uganda are extremely dangerous due to armed conflict, military activity and other violence. There are regular reports of attacks by armed groups on vehicles travelling on the main road connecting Juba to Uganda (Jiba-Niomule road).

We recommend you avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings in South Sudan as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

Violent crime
Violent crime, including kidnapping, murder, armed robbery, home invasions, car-jacking, and sexual assault is a significant problem throughout South Sudan, both in urban and rural areas. Criminals are often armed as weapons are readily accessible. The government has limited capacity to deter crime and maintain law and order throughout South Sudan. Banditry and lawlessness is an issue in rural areas. Humanitarian workers have been the targets of killings and violence in the past. 

New Zealanders in South Sudan should exercise a very high degree of personal security awareness at all times. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence. For security reasons we recommend against travelling alone or to isolated areas.

Petty crime, such as bag snatching and pickpocketing, also occurs and is often accompanied by violence. We advise New Zealanders to be alert to their surroundings at all times and take steps to safeguard and secure their personal belongings. 

There is a risk from landmines, which are reportedly present throughout South Sudan, including in Juba. We advise you not to stray off well-used public roads and paths. 

General travel advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in South Sudan, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited. We offer advice to New Zealanders about contingency planning that travellers to South Sudan should consider.

We advise New Zealanders in South Sudan to be vigilant and take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety. You should have a contingency plan in place for departure, monitor developments closely through the media and other local information sources. As a precautionary measure, we recommend ensuring adequate supplies of food, water, fuel, cash and essential medications are always on hand and travel documents are kept up to date.

New Zealanders travelling or living in South Sudan should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.  You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel to South Sudan – exclusions may well apply. Only very limited medical facilities are available in South Sudan. 

The rainy season is typically from July to November, flooding often occurs. Flooding can affect transport and communications infrastructure as well as lead to shortages of drinking water and food.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious, social and cultural traditions in South Sudan to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion is recommended for both dress and behaviour.

New Zealanders who decide to live or travel in South Sudan against our advice are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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