Train travelling across savanna near Wau South Sudan is the world’s newest country. It was formed in 2011 when people living in the southern part of Sudan voted for independence. Since it was created, South Sudan has been one of the world’s poorest countries. Decades of civil war in the region have left its economy in ruins and its people scattered all over the country, living as refugees. Lying close to the Equator, South Sudan has a tropical climate with a rainy season between May and October. For the rest of the year, its climate is hot and humid. The landscape is a patchwork of rainforest, grassy savanna and wetland. The White Nile river and its tributaries wind across a vast area of swampy wetland called the Sudd. This region is a haven for wildlife: pelicans and storks make their homes amid the reeds.
There are five main ethnic groups in South Sudan, along with many smaller ones. Most people speak the language of their group, although many also speak English. The most numerous are the Dinka, nomadic herders who graze their cattle in the western grasslands. Most of the rest of the Sudanese population keep cattle and grow millet and cassava for their families.
The Dinka men of South Sudan have often been described the tallest in the world, with men in some communities having average heights of 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in). However, recent scientific studies put the average height of Dinka men as 1.76 m (5 ft 9 inches), which is somewhat less than people from other parts of the world.
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