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Lack of operating permits will come to haunt briefcase safari operators

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent  Jun 24, 2016

An attempted smear campaign against the presently one and only fully licenced safari operator in South Sudan - Bahr el Jebel Safaris, will have less than desired outcomes by the perpetrators.

Local sources were swift to point out that violators of rules and regulations are known and will be subject to arrest, should they try to once again cross into South Sudan with safari clients or, as has been alleged in one case, cross the border illegally from Uganda's Kidepo National Park into the adjoining game park in South Sudan.

Bahr el Jebel Safaris was swift to avail a website link where all their current operating permits and licences are shown, when alerted to allegations they were not licenced and the owners more than willing to also send scanned copies to this correspondent for closer inspection.

The company has of late launched a series of close up visits to several of the local South Sudanese tribes to see their customs and cultural practices while at the same time also offering itineraries reaching well into 2017 for visitors from abroad to pre-book in good time, as spaces are limited due to aircraft sizes and available vehicles and tents in camps.

South Sudan is still considered a high risk destination, given the recent history of civil strife. Empty government coffers, and lack of payment of salaries to civil servants, police, security organs and the army, is further considered a high risk element though local sources point out that once tourists reach the national parks, those are largely considered safe due to their remote location and distance from population centers.

Home to one of the greatest migrations on earth, from Boma National Park and the Sudd to the Bandingilo National Park on the River Nile, some two million animals, comprising white eared kobs, tiang antelopes, mongalla gazelles and other plains game congregate in Bandingilo every year in July and August before returning to their home ranges in Boma and the Sudd.

Lack of operating permits will come to haunt briefcase safari operators

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