Expat Cost of Living in South Sudan part 2 – Part one is here.
8 Places to Live in South Sudan as an Expat
As South Sudan emerges as one of the newest countries in the world, thousands flock to this area every year. Many are relocating here for career opportunities, while others seek new adventures or simply wish to live somewhere. Here are 10 cities that any expat would want to make their new home.
1. Juba, South Sudan
Juba is the largest city in South Sudan and hosts those who have been unable to settle elsewhere due to the nation’s civil war. It features a developed infrastructure as well as an international airport that can be used as a transit point for those wishing to move on from South Sudan.
The cost of living, while extremely high, is still lower than what one might find in neighbouring East African countries. Juba’s housing market has been growing rapidly since 2011 after the country became independent.
Expats looking for homes often aim for higher-end properties located on large lots of land. However, prices are lower than expected given its status as a capital city and it is possible for expats to consider more affordable homes. Expats not wanting to live in Juba can also choose alternative cities such as Yei, Rumbek, Terekeka and Torit. However, given the widespread violence in South Sudan these areas carry their own risks.
2. Khartoum, Sudan
While Khartoum is a part of a nation that has been at war with South Sudan, it does not pose the same risks to expats. It is an extremely busy and congested city but also features modern amenities for those who may have been accustomed to them back in their home country.
Housing is expensive in Khartoum when compared to other African countries. Expats should prepare to pay upwards of $1,200 per month for a one-bedroom apartment or home. Those looking for lower expenses could consider living in the city’s outskirts where rents are significantly lower and transportation costs would be minimal as well.
One of the oldest cities in South Sudan, Yei became popular with missionaries and international aid workers after its airstrip was built during World War II. It is also an important centre for business and trade because it has the only railway line linking different regions of the country.
Yei has most of the services that one would need, with malls, schools and universities, hospitals and banks. It is also close to South Sudan’s most popular nature reserve, with many species of animals roaming freely. There are also plenty of places for recreation like water sports at Lokichokio or kitesurfing at Nimule.
This remote province in Eastern Equatorial regularly enjoys some of the best weather in South Sudan. This is due to its high altitude, which allows for pleasant temperatures most of the year round. It also comes with Lake Alabote, which is perfect for fishing and water sports during summer time when other parts of the country are sweltering.
Maoziang is less developed than other regions in South Sudan, but this makes it a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Villages here are also quite diverse when compared with other parts of the country because people speak different languages and have unique traditions.
One of the largest cities in South Sudan, Malakal is also an important hub for trade and business. It has decent infrastructure to cater to its large population, but because it is still developing there are bound to be problems. Apart from the traffic jams, the city suffers from sporadic power cuts while water shortages are common during the dry seasons.
Despite this, Malakal is still one of the best places to live in South Sudan because it offers a good balance between work and play. Yei River State Nature Reserve is just 12 miles away, while several shopping malls are great for last minute shopping during festive seasons. There are also many places of historic interest in the city like the old presidential palace and river boat market.
This is another capital of a South Sudan state, but it has more important things to boast about than most other cities in South Sudan. It has one of the largest markets for cattle in East Africa, which attracts drovers from all over the country every week. It is also the location of the only bus service that connects some parts of South Sudan with Kenya and Ethiopia.
Rumbek has some great views, as it sits on the western bank of the Bahr el Ghazal River. There are also ample opportunities to engage in water a sport here, which makes it a perfect summer destination for South Sudanese expats.
Nimule is best known for being the gateway to Uganda, but it also has another claim to fame as the home town of South Sudan’s most popular musical group. The Prisons Band was formed in Nimule Prison, where they spent time after being arrested for fighting against the North during the civil war.
Nimule is now a popular tourist destination, as it has plenty of hotels to cater for North Sudanese visitors after the border crossing was reopened in 2011. The town also has an international-standard airstrip, which makes it less isolated than other parts of South Sudan. This is especially crucial during times of crisis because it is easier for aid workers to fly in emergency supplies if they have a good airstrip.
A modern-day white elephant, Malualkon Airport was built during the short reign of Dr Riek Machar as South Sudan’s first president. This means that it has some of the best facilities in an otherwise poor country, but it is still unused because of its remote location. Malualkon has a sizeable population that mainly relies on fishing and farming to survive.
Malualkon is located in the middle of nowhere without any major industry or infrastructure, so it would be difficult to live here as an expat. This does not mean that it is not worth visiting, as the town has some stunning views of the surrounding mountains and grasslands. This is a common safari destination for those looking to escape from their busy lives in the city.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cost of Living
Are luxury items available?
The answer may seem surprising – but yes, luxury items are available in South Sudan. Luxury items such as gold and diamond jewellery and designer clothing and handbags can be found in the capital city, Juba. However, like most luxury items around the world, they must be purchased abroad or through a person who has travelled to another country.
How do you make international calls?
In South Sudan, only the most affluent people have international calling plans with their local telecommunication providers. Most people use one of several community-based platforms to make calls overseas. These platforms charge a fee but allow users to call the world at a much lower cost than they would by using their standard mobile phone plans.
How do you pay for utilities?
Utilities such as electric and water can be paid for or done at a community level. For example, an entire neighbourhood may pay one neighbour to fill up water tanks so everyone can use them throughout the year without having to go far from home. Similarly, an entire village might share the cost of hiring a single generator that is shared by a group of families.
How do you get around the city without a car?
Most people in South Sudan use motorbikes or bicycles to get around the cities. These are much more affordable than cars, which must be imported through Sudan where they are resold at significantly higher prices. However, if you are less mobile, the city has a number of cheap taxis.
How do you get food?
Much like many other countries in Africa, South Sudan’s middle class buys most of their groceries from open-air markets where they are available every day. However, for those who have very little money or are not physically able to hold a job, they may be eligible for rations from the government. When this is not an option, people barter goods, grow their own vegetables and hunt for their food.
How do you have international travel documents?
In South Sudan, one must pay a foreign embassy to receive a passport. The cost of this varies depending on which embassy you are located near but generally ranges from US$100-200 per passport.
How do you replace goods that have broken or worn out?
The average South Sudanese has great difficulty buying replacement parts for any of their belongings. Often, people turn to the secondary market where they can find used items which are sold at a higher price. Other times, people must simply do without and replace the broken or worn-out item with a completely new one.
Are products from abroad available?
Although they are not as commonplace, foreign-produced items can be found throughout South Sudan. In Juba, people will even get on a plane to go to Khartoum just for the weekend in order to enjoy more of these imported goods. Imported products include foodstuffs such as cheese, bread, spices and many other items.
Living in South Sudan as an expat could be challenging at first. However, if you understand the process and the cost of living, living here would be the best decision. That’s why we always recommend you to check this platform for more update regarding moving to a new country as an expat.