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Karamoja – The Epitome of Northern Uganda

Uganda’s Karamoja Region is one of the unexplored regions of the country with untouched wilderness, the Karamoja Region is situated in the North-Eastern part of Uganda consisting of 7 districts including Audat, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Abim, Kaabong, Napak and Kotido.

The Karamoja region is a semi-arid region well known for the nomadic – pastoralists – The Karamong and their fascinating culture and traditions that has remained the same for centuries.

Let’s take a dive in the 8 top icons to explore in Uganda’s Northern Karamoja on a Uganda Safari.

  1. Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s hidden gem located in the north-east region of Uganda, close by the borders of South Sudan and Kenya. The park is an enthralling place of semi-arid savannah, seasonal rivers and low mountains.

Kidepo Valley National Park’s landscape extends across 1,442 km² at an altitude range  from 914m above sea level on the valley floor to the 2,750 m peak of Mount Morungole which dominates the horizon.

Kidepo Valley National Park is the third largest national park with a great biodiversity, the park is home to 77 mammal species offering great opportunities for game viewing, 20 species of predators including lion, leopard and spotted hyenas.

  • The Karamojong People

The Karamojong are a pastoralist ethnic group of north – eastern Uganda with a reputation of being cattle rustlers and have in the past stolen animals from people in Katine.

The Karamojong are eastern Nilotic pastoral people, the Karimojong are the largest of a cluster of culturally and historically related people including the Jie, Teso, Dodoth and Labwor of Uganda and the Turkana of neighboring Kenya. They speak an Eastern Nilotic language of the Nilo-Saharan language family.

The Karamojong live a communal lifestyle of extended families in very large homesteads, manyattas sharing comound. Thorny fences and wood encircle the manyatta for protection against raids from other cattle rustlers and wild animals. They move from place to place which is an outstanding features used to identify a group.

Visiting the Karamojong People is a great cultural experience giving you a deeper insight into their lifestyle, style and traditions.

  • Mount Morungole

Mount Morungole lies within the Kidepo Valley National Park, north east Uganda, and Africa, in the rugged, semi-arid Karamoja province near the border with the Sudan. The mountain range stands at 2,750m making it the highest point in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Mount Morungole is the source of Kidepo and Narus Rivers, during the rainy seasons different streams in the mountain range feeds into the valleys in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Mount Morungole features exciting and dramatic landscapes, creating an illusion of rocks that are about to topple onto Kaabong at any time. The highlight of hiking Mount Morungole is meeting the IK Community living on the summit of the mountain.

  • The Ik People “The Mountain People of Uganda”

Sometimes the Teuso, the Ik ethnic people are native to northeastern Uganda, near the Kenya border. The word Ik means “head of migration”, traditionally they are believed to have been some of the earliest settlers in the region from Kenya. In 1972, they were the subject of anthropologist Colin Turnbull’s highly contested book “The Mountain People”, which described them as traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers.

The IK people are believed to have been the area’s original inhabitants until the arrival of the larger Karamojong ethnic group, who almost migrated from Ethiopia.

The IK people is a small ethnic group comprising approximately 10,000 to 11,000 individuals, swelling in the mountainous enclave of Mount Morungole, standing at an elevation of 2,700 meters above sea level. This rugged terrain is situated along the border between Kenya and the Kidepo Valley National Park in the Karamoja Region of Northeastern Uganda.

Visiting these people is an authentic African culture adventure that will test your physical test, the Ik have a rich cultural heritage rooted in their traditional hunter – gatherer lifestyle.

  • Aruu Falls

The beautiful Aruu Falls are one of the most interesting waterfalls in Uganda offering unforgettable experience while on a Uganda safari in Northern Uganda, the waterfalls are located in Pader district approximately 386 kilometers from Uganda’s capital Kampala, 43 kilometers from Guli and 57 kilometers from Kampala- Uganda’s capital.

The Arru Falls are made up of several streams that flow with a roaring sound and a strirring scene that is simply stunning and unrivaled. The various streams of the falls flow from seven rocks; Ryanga, Awilo Yaa, Akweyo, Wang Okiye, Lacee, Okello Gem and Lanya Kweyo. The jagged rocks at the falls have a step – like formation that allows the water to flow smoothly downstream from the river Agago.

  • Ajai Wildlife Reserve

The Ajai Wildlife Reserve is another iconic wildlife destination in the Northern – Eastern Uganda (Arua District) situated on the western banks of the Nile. The reserve gained world attention when Theordore Roosevelt, a former American president visited in 1910 on a hunting expedition. Ajai Wildlife Reserve is located in an area with higher elevation but is relatively small (166 sq.km), the reserve is characterized by a prominent island that is surrounded by savannah and swamps.

This seasonal swamp is fed by the river Acha and Ala, during the rainy season the swamp gets completely flooded cutting off the island from the rest of the world.

Ajai was established in 1962 as the White Rhino Sanctuary. Unfortunately the rhinos were hunted down by poachers from South Sudan

Wildlife in Ajai Wildlife Reserve – following the stiff conservation efforts, the reserve is home to various species of wildlife including sitatunga, the Uganda Kob, waterbucks, hippos, black and white colobus monkeys, warthogs and many more.

  • Mountain Moroto

Mount Moroto is an ancient Volcano standing at 3,083 raising put of the semi – arid plains, the volcano is situated adjacent to the town of Moroto in Moroto District, Karamoja, Northern region of Uganda. It is approximately 3 kilometers by road, east of Moroto’s Central business center.

Mount Moroto is one of a chain of volcanoes along the international border of Uganda with Kenya that begins with Mount Kenya in the south and includes Mount Kadam ad Mount Morungole. The region around Mount Moroto is a forest reserve protecting a range of habitats from arid thorn savannah to dry montane forest.

The mountain is home to the So/Tepeth tribe also living in the western and northern mountains in the region, migrated from the plains when the Karamojong settled in the past.

Mount Mroro is hiked on a 3 Days Trek starting from Moroto Town, the trek is a moderate hike with a strenuous climb on the first day, a scenic hike over the rides and through the forests on the second day and a half day descend on the last day.

  • Fort Patiko

Also referred as Baker’s Fort, Fort Patiko is an iconic historic site in the Northern Uganda. This fort was a military fort built by Sir Samuel Baker in Patiko Uganda, its construction was completed on December 25, 1872. After Baker leaving in 1888, the fort was used by Emin Pasha and Charles Gordon while they served as Governor of the Equatorial Province of the British Uganda Protectorate.

A plaque on the remaining wall of a grain storage building in the center of the fort reads “Fatiko 1872 – 88, founded by Sir Samuel Baker, occupied by Emin and Gorden”

Ruins of the Fort remain in Ajulu Parish, Patiko Sub-county, Aswa County, Gulu District. This area is full of culture and would be great blend into your Ugandan safari so reach out to our team of knowledgeable consultants to plan this visit for you.

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