The Karamojong are an ethnic group of people living in North Eastern Uganda. They speak the Karamojong language, tourists can visit the Karamojong people when touring kidepo valley national park.
The area is set on a valley and rugged hills the spectacular landscapes characterized by thorny plants and Savannah vegetation and through out your whole journey to Karamoja, it’s like a journey to paradise with striking landscapes and outstanding rising and setting of the sun.
The Karamojong name is derived from an itesot word “ekarimojong” meaning old men can’t walk any further it is believed that the itesots were the Karamojong children who left their fathers behind when they got tired and couldn’t walk any further when they migrated looking for pasture for their animals.
Karamoja region is made up of districts of Kaabong, kotido, amudat,napak, Napak, Moroto, Abim and Nakapiripirit. The Karamojong people are agro pastoralists who migrated from Ethiopia 1600 AD theywere two main branches one group settled in Uganda and the other moved to Kenya and formed Ed the Kalenjin and Masai cluster
The present day Karamojong peopleare known as the “Teso cluster or Karamojong cluster” In Uganda, they formed the karamojong,itesots and Kumam people some intermarried and formed langi tribes.
The Karamojong cluster in Sudan forms the Jie and the Toposa of Sudan. Those who migrated to Kenya are now the Turkana with intermarriages forming the Karamojong cousins the Masai and Kalenjin. All this present tribes share a language or have words in common and many cultural values.
The Karamojong people were known as Jie before they split with present day itesots. Karamoja region boasts with the largest village in central and Eastern Africa located in kotido district.
Activities of the Karamojong
The Karamojong are pastoralists and mainly survive on herding livestock. Farming is a secondary activity due to the semi arid climate that doesn’t favor any other economic activity. During very dry season, they move from place to place looking for pasture for their animals.
The Karamojong are always on conflicts with their neighbors due to cattle raiding with tribes in Sudan and Kenyan and within themselves, they used to import guns from their brothers the Turkana of Kenya and Toposa of Sudan but due their misuse of guns the government disarmed the Karamojong hostile warriors.
The Karamojong live mainly revolves around cattle, they drink milk and blood freshly got from the cows, a kid as young as the age of 6 years is capable of grazing over 20 cows and brings them back home at sunset very safe.
The Karamojong women and young kids would also handle and shoot using guns before disarming.
During your tour to kidepo, never miss to visit the Karamojong people who have a very unique culture that you can rarely see elsewhere in the world, a Karamojong’s wealth is measured by how many cows a man owns.
If a Karamojong man desires a woman he will have to wrestle with her and if he wins negotiations are made and bride price is paid if he loses he is considered very weak and will be required to marry a non Karamojong though when marrying from another tribe ceremonies must take place.
The Karamojong ways of dressing are also very outstanding compared to the Masai and Turkana, the Karamojong women are very hard working as they can build houses and all garden work while a man’s life mainly revolves in cows a woman does all the other work left behind at home.
The Karamojong traditional dances can be done by local dancing groups on request.