A cultural visit to the Karamojong people on a Uganda Safari to the vast open plains of Karamoja is a remarkable adventure. In this region, beautiful rocky mountains emerge through plains, making it an arid land of amazing scenic beauty. Mount Moroto, that stands at a height of about 3400 meters above sea level, giving a challenging climb to the mountain climbing enthusiasts. This region is a highly traditional area of the pastoralist Karamojong people.
Here you will have an opportunity to visit the Nakipelemoru which is the largest Manyatta or group of rural housing across the East Africa region. A cultural tour to the Karamojong in Uganda takes you closer to the way of life of the traditional Karamojong people. The Karimojong are one of the ethnic group of agro-pastoral herders. And they are Nga Karamojong speakers blessed with a rich heritage.
They are known to have a polygamous marriage system, and in most cases the number of wives being limited solely by a man’s financial strength. Though no boy is allowed to have a wife, not until he has been admitted by the elders to the status of manhood. And when that time comes, a father gives the son a bull, for which the young man kills and shares with his male relatives. Then smears himself with dung from the entrails and gives his mother the ribs, head, hump, neck, hump and stomach.
Also traditionally when their hair grows for the boys, it is usually moulded back into two buns, with one on top of the head and one at the back, and coloured with clay. When a youth attains manhood he may seek a wife. Though it is usual that he will already have at least one lover and, if the father goes ahead to approve, his lover may be taken as the wife.
In this Karimojong tradition a woman giving birth is assisted by her female relatives, and the umblical cord is tied with fibre and cut near to the body, and if it is a baby boy the cord is cut with the arrow used for bleeding cattle though it’s different with the baby girl where a knife is used. And this cord is later buried in the cattle enclosure.
Another fascinating thing about the Karimojong people is the way they bury the dead, with the body wrapped up in a hide and buried in a goat enclosure. And when one dies poor without friends, the body is simply thrown outside the kraal and left to the wild animals.
One can say, the rich cultural experience of the Karimojong people is endless, but worthy the journey. And this region is also the window to the raw Kidepo Valley National Park which is one of the least explored game park in East Africa.