Cultural tours in Kidepo valley national park
Cultural tours in Kidepo valley national park: Cultural safaris in Kidepo are one of the unique safari activities that tourists can take part in while in Kidepo valley national park. The national park is one of the protected areas surrounded by the local people. The Karamajong and IK people are the two tribes found in Kidepo valley national park and these live around the park boundaries.
Kidepo valley national park is a savannah protected area in the northeastern part of Uganda in Kaabong district. Even though Kidepo valley national park is a hidden area so many km away from Kampala, it’s one of the best safari destinations to visit for cultural tours in Kidepo. The Karamajong and IK are the tribes that can be visited while in Kidepo valley national park. The Karamajong belong to the Nilotic ethnic group while the IK are an ethnic group of people less than 1000 believed to have come from Egypt or Ethiopia.
When you talk about Ugandan culture, it’s the Karamajong that comes first. The Karamajong are nomadic pastoralists living in the northeastern part of Uganda. Their main activity is cattle keeping and it’s done by the men who move from one place to another looking for greener pastures. The wives stay home taking care of the children and the house.
The Karamojong people come from Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally settled in northeastern Uganda with their cattle. They used to do cattle raring inside Kidepo valley national park but were forced out when the government was gazetting the park in 1962. They now live around the park boundaries where they move from place to place looking for vegetation.
The Karamajong have failed to adopt the way of living of other people in Uganda because they want to preserve their culture. Their way of dressing is different and unique, the young men wrap a sheet around their waist and pair it with a vest while the old men tie the sheet across their and over their shoulders.
Then women wear skirts from hides which are first sundried for some weeks. The skirts are paired with vets to cover their front bodies and do wear beads around their arms and neck to look beautiful. A visit to the homes of Karamajong will not only make you see the way they dress but also the foods they eat, what they do for a living, stories of long ago and get entertained by local dancers.
The IK people
The IK people are a small group of people less than ten thousand in the Karamoja region in the northeastern part of Uganda. The IK are part of the cultural safaris in Kidepo valley national park as they live on the park boundaries. The IK first live in Ethiopia, then moved to Kenya and later to Uganda where they settled permanently. They were cattle keepers but when they met with the Karamajong cattle raiding happened and they lost what they had come with.
The IK decided to settle on the slopes of Mount Morungule where they were chased by the government when it was gazetting the park. The IK decided to settle in the nearby areas where they now practice subsistence farming. The IK people farm plants like cassava, sweet potatoes, rare goats, and do bee keeping for survival.
A tourist on a Cultural safaris in Kidepo Uganda needs to visit the IK people because they give another impression of the African culture. The IK people are visited in their small communities on the flat areas around Mountain Morungole. Their homes are faced so that intruders and wild animals don’t come to their homes. These people are selfish because they have their own language and want no one else to learn it.
In the homes of the IK people, you get to meet different people because a community can be having up to 100 small houses. They have a large area where they keep food, an area where they wash utensils, a kraal for sheep and goats and they have pit latrines used by the whole community.
On your visit to the IK area, you will get to know that a single man can marry as many wives as she wants as long as he can afford to pay dowry. The dowry in the community of IK is in the form of goats, sheep, hens, and beehives. The IK people are good storytellers, on your visit, you can connect with the elders to tell you stories of long ago. By visiting the IK you are prompting a true image of Africa to the outside world.
Other things that can be done in on your Cultural tours in Kidepo valley national park
Game drives are the most done activities in Kidepo valley national park because of the abundant wildlife that lives in the park. The national park is home to over 76 mammals some of which are not seen anywhere else in the country. Game drive activities are done in the morning, evening, and night hours in areas such as the Narus valley and Kidepo Valley.
During your game drive safaris in Kidepo valley national park, you will be able to see animals such as cheetahs, lions, cape buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, patas monkeys, reedbucks, olive baboons, warthogs, aardvark, dik-diks, side stripped jackals, roan antelopes, African wild dogs, hartebeests, leopards, spotted hyenas, deffasa waterbucks, Uganda kobs, elands, crocodiles, oryx, lesser kudu, and klipspringers among others.
Apart from cultural tours in Kidepo, tourists can have birding safaris in Kidepo valley national park. This is because the area is home to over 476 bird species among which include about 20 that are endemic to the region. Bird watching in Kidepo valley national park is carried out in different areas of the park which have thick vegetation cover and enough food for the birds.
The birds of Kidepo valley national park include ostriches, kori bustard, yellow-necked spurfowl, black-breasted barbet, scarlet-chested sunbird, Karamoja apalis, slate-colored boubou, red and yellow barbet, golden pipit, black-breasted barbet, eastern pale chanting goshawk, superb starling, isabelline wheatear, pygmy falcon, fox kestrel, African swallow-tailed kite, violet tipped plover, bruce’s ringed parakeet, Abyssinian roller, white-bellied tit, Jackson’s hornbill, white-faced scoops owl, red pate cisticola, yellow-billed shrike and singing bush lark.