Sudd wetland is part of the Tentative list of South Sudan in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Sudd wetland is a large tropical wetland with diverse habitats such as permanent and seasonal rivers, lagoons, permanent swamps, seasonal and rain flooded grasslands, and floodplain woodlands. Humans live on some of its small islands and practice traditional fishing and hunting. The Sudd wetland is part of the underrepresented Sudd-Sahelian Flooded Grasslands and Savannas eco-region.
Map of Sudd wetlandLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
Visited Apr 2023. The Sudd wetland is a very important inland freshwater ecosystem on a scale with the already listed Pantanal and Okavango delta. Throughout the year it's size is highly variable, basically doubling from it's lowest point during the dry season to it's maximum during seasonal flooding. As a natural site it supports a wide variety of wildlife, including large, diverse fish populations and is an important stop for many migrating bird species. It's also home to many mammals and supports the largest antelope migration in the world. As a cultural site, the ecosystem supports a local population of up to a million who largely live a traditional lifestyle including fishing, seasonal farming and semi-nomadic cattle herding. All told it absolutely deserves inscription and protection, the sooner the better.
My visit was inspired by the previous review and followed a similar pattern although backwards as I went to Minkaman first to visit a cattle camp and then took a boat through the wetlands to Bor. April is the end of the dry season so water levels were low and there were more temporary islands in the waterways. The skies were also smoky at times from local slash and burn practices as they clear more land for short term farming. From Bor we visited more of the waterways and stopped at a small fishing village. It is a simple life but the kids seemed happy to have visitors.
From a wildlife perspective, there was not much to see other than birds. As a visitor I have no doubt that if it is described I will have gotten nowhere near the core zone. Perhaps in the future with more stability, tours will run further into the wetlands but for now the cultural attractions on the edge are the main attraction.
Sudd Wetland is the largest wetland area in Africa and one of the largest in the world. The gigantic wetlands of the White Nile begin just outside Juba, the capital of South Sudan, and extend all the way to the Sudanese border, some 1,000 kilometers away. I crossed the Sudd twice, sailing from Bor to Minkamman, and returning the next day after an amazing visit to the Dinka tribe (mentioned in the nomination file, although in the village we were in, the connection to the wetlands was hard to see). The boat ride to Minkamman took us over an hour. Along the way, we passed hundreds of canals, lakes and islands, most of which are floating.
Part of the trip was a boat trip to the fishermen's camp. Here I learned about the process of dressing, salting and smoking fish, which are then usually sold to DR Congo. It was as exotic as Dinka's - a multi-generational family living in a tiny space, dealing only with fishing and fish processing. More than 50% of the population were young children.
The visit to Sudd Wetland and Dinka was definitely the most interesting part of the trip to South Sudan. The place is unique and super exotic, definitely worth inscribing on the list. Sudd is not only wild nature, but also people who largely live as they did centuries ago.
2017 Added to Tentative List
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