Dancers with painted bodies and traditional costumes perform in a brightly lit indoor space before an audience.

Juba After Dark: A Guide to a Night Out in South Sudan

Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, is a place where history, culture, and development converge. As the largest city in the country, Juba serves as a bustling hub of activity, showcasing both the challenges and opportunities that emerge in a post-independence nation. With its unique blend of diverse communities and a rapidly growing urban landscape, Juba offers visitors a glimpse into the dynamic spirit of South Sudan.

One of the noteworthy aspects of Juba is its status as the newest city in the world. Since gaining independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011, South Sudan has emerged as the youngest nation globally. Juba, as its capital, symbolizes the aspirations and dreams of a nation that is continuously striving for progress and development.

Located on the banks of the White Nile, Juba enjoys a strategic position that has historically attracted traders and explorers from various parts of East Africa. Today, the city serves as a vital commercial center, with a growing number of businesses, markets, and industries contributing to its economic vitality. From bustling street markets to modern shopping malls, Juba offers a diverse range of shopping experiences that cater to both locals and tourists.

Exploring the streets of Juba, one can witness the fusion of different cultures and traditions. The city is home to a vibrant mix of ethnic groups, including the Dinka, Bari, and Nuer, among others. This diversity is reflected in the city’s cuisine, music, and art, with local markets and restaurants offering a rich culinary experience that highlights the flavors of South Sudan.

Despite its challenges, Juba has witnessed significant improvements in infrastructure and amenities in recent years. The Juba International Airport, one of the largest airports in the country, connects the city to the rest of the world. Hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues have also emerged, catering to the growing number of visitors and residents seeking leisure and recreation opportunities.

Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, has long been known for its vibrant nightlife scene, offering a wide range of entertainment options for locals and visitors alike. However, recent developments have brought about significant changes in the city’s nightlife landscape.

Entertainment Districts

From bustling nightclubs to cozy bars and delicious eateries, Juba offers a range of options for visitors and locals to enjoy their evenings. Here are some of the top entertainment districts in Juba:

  1. City Center:

At the heart of Juba lies the bustling city center, where you can find a variety of entertainment options. This area is home to several bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, making it the perfect place to experience the vibrant nightlife of Juba. Whether you’re looking for live music, dance floors, or simply a place to relax and enjoy a drink, the city center has it all.

  1. Fashoda District:

Fashoda is known for its historical sites, but it is also a hub for entertainment in Juba. This district offers a mix of traditional and modern venues, where you can find everything from cultural performances to contemporary music events. Fashoda is a great place to immerse yourself in the local music and dance scene while exploring the rich history of South Sudan.

  1. Imatong Mountains:

For those seeking adventure and natural beauty, a visit to the Imatong Mountains is a must. This scenic area not only offers breathtaking views but also provides opportunities for outdoor entertainment. Hiking through the mountains, you can spot wildlife like elephants and leopards while enjoying the serenity of nature. Imatong Mountains is a popular destination for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.

  1. Suburbs of Juba:

Beyond the city center, Juba’s suburbs have their own entertainment districts that are worth exploring. These areas offer a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, with charming bars and restaurants where you can unwind and socialize. These suburbs provide a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center, allowing you to enjoy a more intimate and cozy entertainment experience.

Nightclubs and Bars

The Jubek state government has recently imposed a ban on all nightclubs, bars, and night music shows in Juba city. This decision comes as a response to alleged “immoral acts” taking place in these establishments. The ban aims to promote moral values and maintain a sense of order within the city.

The closure of nightclubs and the limitation of bar hours may come as a disappointment to those seeking a glamorous night out in Juba. Visitors from Turkey, who are accustomed to a diverse and lively nightlife scene, might find these restrictions to be a stark contrast to their expectations.

However, despite these changes, there are still alternative options available for those looking to enjoy their evenings in Juba. The city offers a diverse array of restaurants, where visitors can indulge in delicious South Sudanese cuisine at affordable prices. Exploring these local eateries outside the city center can provide a unique culinary experience and an opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture.

Hotel Bars and Lounge Bars

One popular hotel bar in South Sudan is the Radisson Blu Hotel in Juba. This upscale hotel features a stylish and well-stocked bar where guests can indulge in a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. With its modern décor and comfortable seating, the hotel bar at Radisson Blu Hotel provides the perfect ambiance for a night out with friends or a romantic evening.

Another notable hotel bar in South Sudan is the Crown Hotel Juba. This luxurious 5-star hotel offers an array of amenities, including a terrace bar where guests can enjoy refreshing cocktails and stunning views of the city. The outdoor swimming pool and fitness center at Crown Hotel Juba provide additional opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

For those looking for a more intimate and cozy atmosphere, the Lamerinn Hotel Juba is an excellent choice. This recently opened 3-star hotel features a terrace bar where guests can relax with a drink and soak in the peaceful surroundings. The hotel’s restaurant also offers a variety of African dishes, providing a unique culinary experience.

Aron International Hotel in Juba is another newly opened hotel that boasts a terrace bar. Guests can enjoy their favorite drinks while taking in the views of the city. The hotel’s convenient location near popular attractions such as the John Garang Memorial and Juba Game Reserve makes it an ideal choice for travelers looking to explore the city during the day and unwind at the hotel bar in the evening.

These hotel bars and lounge bars offer a wide selection of beverages, including local and international favorites. Guests can expect excellent service from the friendly and professional staff, who are well-versed in different languages, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all.

Air Club, Rock City Bar, Nile Secret Lounge

Air Club: A Haven for Music Lovers

Located in the heart of South Sudan’s vibrant nightlife scene, Air Club is a popular destination for music lovers. This trendy nightclub offers a unique and unforgettable experience for party-goers, with its energetic atmosphere and top-notch music selection.

But Air Club is not just about the music. The club also offers a wide variety of drinks, from signature cocktails to premium spirits, ensuring that your night is filled with delicious libations. The bartenders are skilled and friendly, always ready to mix up your favorite drink or recommend something new to try.

Rock City Bar: Where Rock and Roll Lives On

For those who prefer a more alternative scene, Rock City Bar is the ultimate destination. This iconic establishment pays homage to the spirit of rock and roll, offering a haven for fans of the genre to come together and enjoy live music in a lively and electrifying atmosphere.

Situated in the heart of South Sudan’s nightlife district, Rock City Bar is known for its live performances by local and international rock bands. From high-energy cover bands to original acts, the stage at Rock City Bar is always alive with the sound of guitars and pounding drums. Whether you’re a die-hard rock fan or simply looking for a unique and exciting night out, this bar is guaranteed to deliver an unforgettable experience.

In addition to the live music, Rock City Bar boasts an impressive selection of drinks to complement the rock and roll vibe. From craft beers to specialty cocktails, the bar offers a wide range of libations to suit all tastes. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to recommend the perfect drink to pair with your favorite rock anthem.

Nile Secret Lounge: A Hidden Gem

Tucked away in a discreet corner of South Sudan’s nightlife scene, Nile Secret Lounge is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This intimate and exclusive lounge offers a more sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a quieter evening in the midst of the bustling nightlife.

The lounge offers an extensive selection of premium spirits, wines, and cocktails, expertly crafted by the skilled bartenders. Sip on a classic martini or try one of their signature concoctions, all made with the finest ingredients. The lounge also offers a menu of small bites and appetizers, perfect for those looking to indulge in some culinary delights.

Dining Experiences

For those seeking an authentic taste of South Sudanese food, venturing outside the city center is highly recommended. The best places to find traditional South Sudanese cuisine at affordable prices can be found beyond the bustling streets of Juba. These hidden gems allow visitors to immerse themselves in the local culture and savor the rich flavors of the region.

One such establishment that comes highly recommended is the Palm Africa Hotel Juba. This hotel not only offers comfortable accommodation but also boasts a restaurant serving African, American, and Ethiopian cuisine. Guests can enjoy a variety of dishes, including vegetarian, dairy-free, and halal options, ensuring that there is something for everyone’s dietary preferences.

For those who prefer a more international dining experience, Juba offers a range of options. Fine dining restaurants in the city cater to diverse tastes, providing a fusion of flavors from around the world. Whether it’s Mediterranean, Asian, or European cuisine, Turkish travelers will find a multitude of choices to satisfy their palate.

Additionally, coffee shops in Juba provide a cozy and relaxed atmosphere for visitors to unwind after a long day of exploring. These establishments offer a variety of beverages, including aromatic coffee, refreshing teas, and delicious pastries. They serve as great meeting points to connect with locals and fellow travelers alike.

It is essential to note that Juba’s dining scene is continuously evolving, with new restaurants and eateries opening regularly. Thus, it is advisable to keep an eye out for the latest recommendations and hidden culinary treasures that may arise during your visit.

Vegetarian and Halal Dining Options

For those looking for vegetarian or halal options, several hotels in the city offer menus that cater to these dietary requirements.

One such hotel is Pyramid Continental Hotel, which provides 5-star accommodation and features a restaurant serving African, American, and Ethiopian cuisine. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and halal options can be requested, ensuring that guests with specific dietary needs can enjoy a satisfying meal.

Another hotel to consider is Royal Palace Hotel, which offers a restaurant serving African, American, and French cuisine. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and halal options are available upon request, allowing guests to have a diverse dining experience.

Palm Africa Hotel Juba is another establishment that provides a restaurant with a menu featuring African, American, and Ethiopian cuisine. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and halal options can be accommodated, ensuring that all guests can find suitable dishes to enjoy.

Radisson Blu Hotel, Juba is a 5-star hotel that offers a restaurant serving Italian, Middle Eastern, and international cuisine. Vegetarian, dairy-free, and halal options are available upon request, allowing guests to have a wide range of choices for their meals.

These hotels not only provide delicious dining options but also prioritize the dietary needs of their guests. Whether you follow a vegetarian or halal diet, you can expect to find suitable dishes that cater to your preferences.

Cultural Events and Local Artists

In the midst of the ongoing conflict and economic turmoil in South Sudan, cultural events and activities have emerged as a powerful means for young South Sudanese in the capital city of Juba to maintain a sense of normalcy and hope. Despite the challenging circumstances they face, these resilient individuals have found solace and unity through various forms of entertainment and artistic expression.

One of the most popular cultural events in Juba is day clubbing, where young people gather during the daytime to dance, socialize, and enjoy music. These day parties provide an escape from the harsh realities of their daily lives and offer a temporary respite from the constant fear and uncertainty of the conflict. By coming together and engaging in joyful activities, they are able to momentarily forget about the challenges they face and experience a sense of freedom and empowerment.

One prominent group that has been instrumental in organizing cultural events is Ana Taban, which translates to “I am tired” in Arabic. Comprised of artists, musicians, and activists, Ana Taban aims to create positive change through various artistic mediums. They believe that by coming together and using their talents, they can challenge the status quo and bring about a more peaceful and united South Sudan. Through their efforts, they have been able to inspire and uplift their fellow South Sudanese, reminding them of their own power and resilience.

However, as the conflict protracts, the morale of the South Sudanese people continues to be tested. Many have been forced to flee the country, leaving fewer people to organize or participate in these cultural events. Despite these challenges, individuals like Joseph and Ladu remain dedicated to their mission of creating a sense of normalcy and hope through day parties. They understand the importance of providing a space where their fellow South Sudanese can momentarily escape the hardships they face and find solace in the company of others.

In conclusion, while recent developments have brought about changes in Juba’s nightlife scene, there are still opportunities to enjoy evenings in the capital city of South Sudan. Exploring the local cuisine, attending cultural events, and adhering to the regulations set by the local government will ensure a memorable and respectful experience in Juba’s nightlife.