Monday, 18 October 2010

Visit to Nimule National Park

I have wanted to visit Nimule since I first heard of it, soon after I arrived in Juba. I was stimulated to do this by Sabin Muresan who told me interesting stories about it. My first attempt was dismal failure. I put up a sign-up sheet in the WB Office with the question: who wants to come to Nimule Park. In two hours nearly all the secretaries (girls) and one driver had signed. After the first "management" meeting, when they understood this was not a paid vacation but they were supposed to pay for the trip and sleep in a tent, I was left alone. The second attempt was with my group who had joined me in Uganda, in Jinja. They said OK, but when? Timing was not right for anyone. Third attempt, with Bill Kosar and the Egyptian Consul and the Honorable William started promising. I went to the Ministry, got the info, when to pay for the entrance fee, nobody could come: Bill because thre was no armed escort with us and his babysitters wouldn't let him, William was out, the Consul wanted more people, etc, etc. Alone I could not afford 500 dollars for the car…But I tried, and I got a good car for 300 for two days, no driver! In the bargain with the Ministry of Wildlife also came Louis, a public servant there, who joined for the ride, and in the end was more useful than a hindrace and proved a good companion who knew when to be silent, although not in the wild, where he had absolutely not a clue how to move or how to behave.

Nimule is a great place. Not because it has an incredible number of semi-tame animals, ready on display, because it hasn't. Neither does it boast of good accommodation - it has a series of new buildings, "the lodge", which are closed because of lack of management capacity or lack of resources, most probably both - the "Park office " is a chair under a tree, where a ranger was expecting us. Neither does it have many tourists - I was the only one that week. Nor amenities for visiting: you just use your feet, walking and stalking and you have to rent a boat from a private boatman for an astronomic (by Sudanese standards) price. But it has REAL, UNSPOILED NATURE! And the contact between the nature and you as direct as it can ever be! In my stalking of elephants I was stopped only when the ranger got nervous…and the elephants! When looking for the hippos, one just "popped up" near us! And I could have stayed there for days watching them, nobody to tell me we have to go…On one of our trips we crossed the track of "John" a famous very large, and very wild, unpredictable elephant. We tracked him and saw him as he was uprooting trees about two hundred meters away but couldn't approach him because of swamp and vegetation…Not because of insurance issues! And the term "nature trail" has a different meaning: it is the track of a hippopotamus, who makes good tracks between their feeding grounds and the river- that' how we could get across in the western part of the park. And there, in more than 100 skm , wildlife abounds: in one hour of stalking I saw four distinct groups of game! Not alarmed, I could stalk an impala until I was 20 meters away, a warthog stopped and challenged me from 20 – 25 meters away…

I also saw Fula Falls, an incredible show of energy! Nearby I tried to fish, and a monster just walked way with my lure. I felt it maybe ten seconds in my rod who bent like grass, and then everything went loose. The locals then showed me how it's done. See the pictures! A hook no 1, about ten cm long and chain for 50 cm and the bait is a fish of about ½ kg.

Two things threw a shadow over this trip. The fact that my zoom broke down and I could only take pictures with my regular objective, which is why I always wanted to get closer than the safe distance and secondly the guest house where I stayed, who proved to be one of the two places in town where there was television. And in the evening it filled up with young bucks, full of beer and hormones who watched soccer and became aggressive, I was ready to leave and go spend the night in the ranger's tukul, but they left in the end. Anyway it was a fabulous weekend!!


  1. Im planning to go this Christmas break! Enjoyed the read and now im looking forward to get lost with nature at Nimule!
    starting a blog on wordpress, will send you a link once i post a an entry about my trip!
    Great Read!!

  2. I'm very sorry that you didn't got the skilled tourism professionals to host you while accessing the park in our newborn nation but as i'm know replying your post. I'm please to inform you that the South Sudan's tourism industry is rapidly improving each day and night. We've not yet fence the protected sites but we have skilled personels to attend you while visiting those places of interests within our country. It's not only the Nimule National Park that we have that spectacular wildlife viewing but in other parks like Boma National Park, Bandingilo National Park, Southern National Park, Shambe National Park. We also have various game reserves like Juba Game reserve, Chelkou game reserve, Kidepo Game Reserve, Ashana Game Reserve, Ez Zeraf Game Reserve. Etc.
    All the above mentioned sites have their own uniqueness in their own ways.
    I understand that they are not developed to a world class parks or reserves but i'm going to urge you to please give us only 1 year to improve our services and by 2014. You will be surprise to come to South Sudan and enjoy a tour without any obstacle.
    I hope you understand that there's no nation which developed in a single day. South Sudan is under-develop as you know it but we are tremendously trying our level best to ensure that it's fully improved.
    Be blessed.
    Chol Mawuer.

    1. Dear Chol,

      Thank you for comment and I apologise for replying only now but I am not a frequent visitor to my own blog...In a way, your comment is very very sad. As I read it, i also have read that Rick Machar has re-occupied Malakal and refuses the resolutions of the head of states of the region. The whole country is in trouble, there are hundreds of thousands of refugees. I love South Sudan and its people but I am afraid it will lbw a while before the internal tensions will allow you to concentrate on your development. But you do have my warmest wishes for peace and prosperity.