Cultural safaris in Kidepo valley, are a must add to your itinerary while visiting Uganda’s treasure, located in the North Eastern part of the country, tourists can experience real African culture in this region of Uganda by visiting the Karamojong people and the Ik tribes.
Many cultures differ throughout the whole world some tribes can even hardly show case their culture but the Karamojong and Ik tribes are very rich in culture from everything they do.
In fact one Israelite tourist once visited the initiation of young men to elders and saw the whole process and made a comment, “I have found the lost tribe of Israel”.
The Karamojong are nomadic pastoralists who are believed to have migrated from Ethiopia1600 AD, they mainly survive on cow grazing and the secondary activity is farming the Karamojong people move from place to place especially during dry season looking for pasture for their animals.
They migrated in one group but divided into two groups from the Kenya Ethiopia border.The Turkanaremained inKenya, theToposa group to Sudan and the jie settled in karamoja.
The Karamojong we’re mainly jie, before they were named by the itesots the Karamojong. The name was derived from the iteso word “ekar imojong” meaning the old men can’t walk further.
The itesots were young Karamojong who left their elders after they could not walk any further. The itesots later intermarried and formed the Kumam and langi groups.
The Turkana in Kenya intermarried and formed the Masai and the Kalenjin groups. The Turkana, the Toposa, and the Karamojong share one language the other groups have words in common.
The Karamojong man is considered a man after wrestling with a woman for marriage, if he wins he takes the woman and dowery price is negotiated if the man doesn’t win he is considered very weak and must marry from else wherehe’s also a real man by how many cows he owns, having many herds of cattle is prestige in karamoja wealth is measured by cows.
Wealth can be inherited through parents or personally others years ago would acquire through raiding the neighbouring weak tribes.
The Karamojong people have one of the most unique and outstanding cultures in the whole world compared to the Masai and the Turkana of Kenya.
They take blood and milk freshly got from cows. Women do a lot of homework while men’s lives revolves around cattle grazing, they have a very outstanding way of dressing, the Karamojong homesteads are very big and in Kotido district you will find the largest village in central and Eastern Africa.
They live in very large homes protected by a thorned and wood fence but inside of it are many families fenced within you can find over 50 different families in one homestead and the kraals where cattle sleep, are always protected in the middle men can set up fires around the kraal and sleep there as watchmen. In fact tourists can get some souvenirs or take a lot of pictures to take home for remembrance or for their loved ones. Karamoja has a lot to offer if you’re looking for true African traditional experience
The ik people are the smallest ethnicgroup living in the North Eastern part of Ugandaliving in the mount Morungole of Kidepo valley they are numberingabout 10000 people that are believed to have migrated from Ethiopia and first settled in Kenya years ago, they were mainly Hunter gathering but now do subsistence farming and honey production.
The word ik means first people to migrate here; they are believed to have been the first people to migrate in North Eastern Uganda.
The ik people practice polygamy and its part of family life, most of them are very primitive and not educated they pay dowery price using goats, money, bee hives instead of cattle.
They used to keep cattle but feared due to constant raids from the neighboring tribes especially the Karamojong people. There’s a lot to learn about this endangered group of people in Uganda and visiting them is worth complementing your safari to Kidepo valley national park.