In South Sudan, a country located north of the Equator and born in 2011 from the division of Sudan, the climate is tropical, hot all year round, with a hot and dry winter (which may in fact be considered as the summer), and a summer a bit less hot, but humid and rainy.
The country is covered by a plateau, which has an altitude between 400 and 700 metres (1,300 and 2,300 feet) in the centre-north, and between 700 and 1,000 metres (2,300 and 3,300 feet) in the south.
The predominant vegetation is the savannah, more or less arid depending on area, while in the south-west there are also forests, and in some areas crossed by rivers there are wetlands, including the Sudd, the largest swamp in the world, situated in the north along the White Nile and its tributaries, which are lost in a myriad of lakes, canals, lagoons, covered with aquatic plants and inhabited by a large number of species of land animals and birds. The summer rains increase the surface of the flooded areas.

Sudd, a vast marshy area

Other biodiversity-rich areas are the Bandingilo National Park, the Boma National Park and the Southern National Park.
In much of the country, precipitation hovers around 800/1,100 millimetres (31/40 inches) per year, with a minimum in winter, when it almost never rains, and a maximum in summer, usually in August.
The driest areas are the extreme south-east, on the border with Kenya (where the Ilemi triangle, the disputed area with Kenya, is found), and the far north-east, on the border with Sudan; in both areas, rainfall drops below 700 mm (27.5 in) per year.
On the contrary, in the far south-west, near the border with Congo, there's a rainier area, in which precipitation reaches 1,500 mm (60 in) per year.
In addition to some isolated mountains in the far east on the border with Ethiopia, which reach 1,700/2,000 metres (5,600/6,500 feet), the only mountain range of some importance are the Imatong Mountains, culminating with Mount Kinyeti, 3,187 metres (10,456 feet) in the south, near the border with Uganda. This is the rainiest area in the country, and is covered with mountain forests. With increasing altitude, the temperature drops, and on the top it's pretty cold all year round.

During winter, a wind full of dust can blow in the country, especially in the north. Sometimes during the day it can be very hot, with peaks of 40 °C (104 °F), especially at lower altitudes, while in other circumstances it can get quite cold at night, with peaks of 8/10 °C (46/50 °F).
Between February and April, there is an increase in temperature, before the summer rains; during this period the temperature can easily reach 40 °C (104 °F), with peaks of 45 °C (113 °F). In the south, where the rains arrive earlier, and especially in the south-west, where the altitude is also higher, this heating is less pronounced.

The capital Juba is located in the south, at about 500 metres (1,600 feet) above sea level. Here are the average temperatures.
Juba - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)202224232322212121212120
Max (°C)373838353432313233343536
Min (°F)687275737372707070707068
Max (°F)99100100959390889091939597

Rainfall in Juba amounts to 955 millimetres (38 inches) per year. Between December and February it almost never rains; it rains more than 100 mm (4 in) per month from Avril to October, and the rainiest month is July with 145 mm (5.7 in).
Here is the average precipitation.
Juba - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)510351101301201451301051144510955
Prec.(in)0.20.41.44.35.14.75.75.14.14.51.80.437.6
Days12712121013129106296

In Juba the sun shines regularly in the dry season, while in the rainy season the sunshine hours decrease a little.
Juba - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours987777678888

As mentioned, in the far south-west the temperatures are more uniform throughout the year, in particular the heat is less intense in the period from February to April, also because the rains arrive earlier.
Here are the average temperatures of Yambio, located at 650 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level, in the state of Western Equatoria, a short distance from the border with Congo.
Yambio - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)161719191919181818181817
Max (°C)333433313130282830303132
Min (°F)616366666666646464646463
Max (°F)919391888886828286868890

In this area the rains are abundant, around 1,400 mm (55 in) per year; the rainy season is long, and precipitation exceeds 150 mm (6 in) per month from April to October.
Here is the average precipitation.
Yambio - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)5308515518517516521019018065151455
Prec.(in)0.21.23.36.17.36.96.58.37.57.12.60.657.3
Days1481415161518171672133

When to go



It's hard to find the best time to visit South Sudan, since hot winter in winter is followed by a rainy summer. However, given the risk of flooding in large areas in the period of the summer rains, you can choose the winter, and in particular the months of December and January. The weather is sunny, but it is hot during the day, while at night it can sometimes be a bit cold. Between February and April the heat increases even more, and becomes really intense, except in the south-west and in the mountains.

What to pack



In winter: light clothes for the day, loose fitting and of natural fabric (cotton or linen), a turban for the wind from the desert, a jacket and a sweater for the evening, comfortable boots.

In summer: light clothes, an umbrella or a light raincoat for the rain showers, light sweater. For the highest areas of the plateau, around a thousand metres (3,300 feet), you can add a light jacket.
For women, it is best to avoid shorts and miniskirts.