12 DAYS (11nights) tour of the Mundari cattle camps (Terekeka) and Topossa, Jie and Laarim tribes (Eastern Equatoria) of South Sudan 17-28 February 2022

Another life
Mundari girl herder

Our photo tours focus on taking you to places, which have a unique appeal to photographers. We seek the beauty of landscape and seascape, the heritage of cultural diversity and the bustle of street and marketplaces. Effectively, photography through geography. Our tours will seek the best moments, light and opportunities to compose shots, which reflect upon those inimitable moments. We feel it is of value to immerse ourselves in local culture through, not only people and landscapes, but also, where feasible, through culinary experience and accommodation, which is culturally sympathetic. Interaction and understanding and, where feasible, spending time with people, makes moments and images more meaningful.

Another life

We pride ourselves on a ‘hands on’ approach, which enables clients to avail of sessions in which there are photo critiques and a chance to reflect on images captured whilst on tour. It is recommended that all participants bring laptops or tablets so that we can benefit from interaction and discussion, and ways of editing our images to get a result reflecting your own unique style. 

‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see’. Henry David Thoreau

Morning by the fire in Kali

South Sudan ITINERARY 2022

The Itinerary may change chronologically depending on road conditions and the locations of the cattle camps which are ephemeral.

Proposed itinerary

Day 1, 17th February 2022: Arrival in Juba

You will provide us with your flight details so that we can take note of your arrival and departure dates and times.
You will arrive at Juba International Airport, in the capital of the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan. One or more guides will meet you at the Airport and transfer you to Royal Palace Hotel where you will spend the night. Depending on your arrival time, we can take a short drive to South Sudan’s biggest market, Konyo Konyo. While in the market, you will have an overview of South Sudan’s diverse communities portrayed in their style of dressing and facial or body scarifications. This venture is best without cameras as special permits are needed. Dinner at Da Vinci Lodge of Afex Lodge where you will have a view of the White Nile. Accommodation at Royal Palace Hotel. All food and drinks at hotels and restaurants in Juba are not included. No cameras to be used, smartphones could be used with utmost caution.

Days 2 and 3, 18th/19th February 2022: Flight from Juba to Kapoeta

Breakfast at Royal Palace Hotel. After breakfast we will fly to Kapoeta and drive onwards to the Jiye villages at LOPET (5-6 hours). The Jiye are an ethnic group living in the Kathangor  in Eastern Equatoria state. They speak a dialect of the Toposa language. On the 19th we will spend mornings and evenings with the Jie. Camping

Day 4, 20th February 2022

Drive to Toposa villages at Mogos. Camping

Day 5, 21st February 2022

Full day with the Toposa. The Topossa are welcoming and have wonderful villages with beautifully constructed houses, stilted granaries and like the Laarim their compounds are clean. Watching them grind sorghum and cook over fires highlights the degree to which we are privileged in life. The woman are adorned with beaded skirts and collars of beads around their necks. Their faces are frequently scarified with small keloidal bumps. We contribute salt, tobacco and spices as a gesture of goodwill (please remember to bring extra cash to help contribute to ‘gifts’) which is much more sustainable than paying individuals for images. Overnight at the very simple/basic Kuleu resort hotel in Kapoeta to recharge batteries etc. 

Day 6, 22nd February 2022.

Drive from Kapoeta to the Laarim (Boya) villages at Kimatong (3 hours). Camping

Day 7, 23rd February 2022

Morning and evening photo shoots with the Laarim. We camp at the foot of the Kimotong hills. These granite exfoliation domes are remnants of ancient intrusive igneous activity. The Boya or Laarim tribe are found in beautiful villages clustered at the foot of these hills. It transpires that the name Boya is incorrect and is a derogatory name given to the tribe by the Topossa, with whom they have conflict. So it’s truly Laarim. We go to their villages (Kerenge) at dawn and the people are wonderful. Friendly and willing to have their photographs taken. The girls are quite extensively scarified (keloidal scarring). They cut themselves with razor blades and then use plant resin. This is common amongst many of the tribes in the Ilemi triangle (Omo valley, Ethiopia, Turkana, Kenya and Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan). They are also adorned with wonderful beading, nose and ear piercings. The girls are bare breasted but often with a sheet covering one breast. We watch them grinding sorghum into flour using granite stones in hollows hewn by hand over time. Their huts are beautiful with layered thatch, a small doorway and a roof which has a distinctive pinnacle which may not always point directly skywards. You almost expect little gnomes or hobbits to emerge from within. Here they live with age old traditions apart from a few western clothes. We contribute salt, tobacco and spices as a gesture of goodwill (please remember to bring extra cash to help contribute to ‘gifts’) which is much more sustainable than paying individuals for images.

Days 8,9 and 10, 24th-26th (3 nights) February 2022 

Drive to Juba and onwards to the Mundari cattle camps at Terekeka. We may stop overnight in Juba, depending on where the Mundari cattle camps are located which would mean two nights with the Mundari. 

Dawn and dusk photoshoots and walks around the cattle camp to how the Mundari wake up with their Ankole Watusi cattle.

‘The cattle camp, seldom visited by outsiders, is quite simply incredible. I saw Sebastiao Salgado’s photo of these camps years ago and there is no change that I could see. The Mundari are friendly and enjoy being photographed. The dust and smoke intermingle to create and inimitable atmosphere. We arrived in the late afternoon when the light was soft and warm with long shadows. The tribe have all their wealth in their cattle and there are thousands of them. When young men of the tribe get married the dowry may be as much as 40 cattle. They cover themselves in the ash from their fires to protect against insects. 

At night they sleep with their cattle to protect them and they carry Kalashnikovs to do so. Cattle rustling is commonplace and is a cause of conflict. The Ankole Watusi cattle have the largest horns (perhaps a metre long in some cases) I have ever seen and the biggest of the cattle may be worth $500. During the day the cattle disperse from the banks of the Nile into the long grasses of the alluvial floodplain. They return at dusk instinctively. Shooting at dawn and dusk is perfect as all the cattle are in place. The more you see, the more you realise that there is an inextricable bond between the tribe and their cattle. The way they lead them, rub ash into their skins, attend to their needs, use their milk, dung and urine. It is a symbiotic relationship where there is an understanding of the cattle which goes beyond normal animal husbandry. They take pride in their animals and the whole community of man and beast is interconnected. I have never seen anything like it. On the previous evening the air was filled with smoke from the dung and kindle wood fires to keep insects at bay. The dust is used to help dry the dung which is laboriously collected and piled in the mornings. It is then dried as fuel. As the sun sets in African style the light, smoke and dust create an ethereal atmosphere which makes it appear that the Mundari and their cattle fade into a mist. An ancient mist, trapped in time, where tribal traits and traditions are perpetuated in the twenty first century. 

Accommodation: tents close to the Nile and cattle camp 

Day 11, 27th February 2022: Final moments with the Mundari, Departure for Juba

Breakfast.  Morning photoshoot at dawn and then Leaving for Juba. Lunch en route Check-in at Royal Palace Hotel. Dinner at Royal Palace Hotel or Da Vinci’s on the Nile. (All food drinks at the hotels/restaurants are not included). PCR test if still needed (8 hours for result). 

Day 12 28th February 2021: Returning home 

Breakfast. Morning sightseeing tour of Juba (depending on your flight times):- Presidential Palace, Dr. John Garang Mausoleum, Jubek tomb, craft market. (Cameras prohibited,  smartphones to be used smartly). Lunch at Da Vinci Lodge. Transfer to the airport. Bidding each other goodbye.

End of photo tour

Services included

  • Meals – breakfast, some lunches and dinners are not included (those at hotels and restaurants in Juba)
  • Transfer to and from Juba International Airport at the start of the tour at the end of the tour. 
  • Internal flight to Kapoeta
  • Photo tour leader
  • All transport using 4×4 vehicles
  • The cost of the tour is $5500pp (price the same as 2021). To confirm the booking a deposit of $1000 is required. 

Services not included/additional costs
– Alcohol and occasional stops for coffee/tea/snacks
– Meals in Juba at hotel and restaurants
– Tips for guides and drivers ([email protected]$20 per guide/driver per day – divided amongst the group)
We have to make a contribution to the villages and camps for medicines – please bring about $200/$300 per person for this.
– The e- visa (you apply for your visa in advance with a copy of your passport and a proper digital passport photo, together with letter of invitation etc). Details of what is needed are issued well in advance.
– You will need your yellow fever certificate and PCR certificate (Current status)
– It is essential to have a Covid test within 72 hours of arrival (or the vaccine – certified). We will also need a Covid test prior to departure for our onward journeys.