Boma National Park, South Sudan

Photo: Bahr El Jebel Safaris
Photo: Bahr El Jebel Safaris

It’s known as the greatest migration on Earth. More than one million gazelles and antelopes. One of the largest national parks in Africa. Grasslands, floodplains, and green plateaus. Few tourists. Even fewer roads. Yet no one—or at least very people—have heard of it. How is this possible? Because it’s in South Sudan.

South Sudan is one of the newest countries in the world. It’s also one of the poorest and least developed. After decades of violence, a referendum finally split Africa’s largest country (Sudan) in two in 2011. Members of the new government and tribal groups continued to fight. Yet the tropical rainforest, the swamps, and the plains—and therefore the national parks—remained relatively undisturbed.

Boma National Park, in the Greater Upper Nile region, sits along the Ethiopian border. The 8,800-square-mile park was established in 1986. Twice a year, from March to June and November to January, it becomes one of the longest highways in the world, as animals move from north to south and west to east in search of water and food. It rivals the Serengeti in terms of the sheer number of animals crossing between neighboring national parks. And, until recently, it was impossible to see it.

Bahr el Jebel Safaris is the only licensed safari company in South Sudan. Former tribal hunters now lead day trips into Boma. Hundreds, if not thousands, of white-eared kobs (antelopes) are easily found in the clay plains and the wetlands. Male kobs make a whistling-like sound to protect their mating territory. The dark-colored tiang is harder to spot, since it’s one of the fastest antelopes on the continent. While Mongalla gazelles are particularly active in the morning, before it gets too hot.

These may be the most common animals, but they’re far from the only creatures that call Boma home. African leopards prowl the land from sunset to sunrise, while Sudan cheetahs prefer to hunt during the daytime. Masai lions, at least the males, are easily spotted with their extensive manes. Rüppell’s vultures are considered the highest-flying birds in the world. Plus sightings of buffalo, elephants, and giraffes are always a possibility. Go now. Everyone is bound to catch on soon.

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