Here are almost too many great reasons to sell Karamoja as a holiday destination. It’s a region that offers something for everyone – with its diverse range of landscapes, wildlife and rich cultural history, you can create a holiday full of adventure and cultural satisfaction.
Lonely Planet – East Africa: “The far less travelled route up to Kidepo Valley National Park heads through the wilds of Karamojaland in the eastern reaches of Uganda, a two-or-three-day journey that takes you though some of the most stunning scenery in the country. You’ll pass by timeless plains peppered with tall jagged peaks and fields ablaze with sunflowers. You’ll also encounter the Karimojong people – the highlight of the journey for most – pastoral herders recognisable by their traditional dress (similar to the Maasai). Males often sport dapper Dr Seuss-style top hats with feather stuck in it, and brandish a cattle stick and a mini wooden stool (used as a seat headrest)”
1. Variety of landscape
Set on a large plateau, much of Karamoja is more than 1,000 metres above sea level, and four main mountains overlook the region’s savannah, highlands and river valleys: Mount Morungole in the north, Mount Moroto in the east, Mount Kadam in the south and Mount Napak in the west. This makes it a destination suited for the active traveler, outdoor adventurist and nature-savvy.
Karamoja has two national parks: ‘Pian Upe’ lies in the south and is home to numerous rare species (Roan Antilope, Topis, Gazelles, Heartbeest and Eland). In the North lies the remote beauty of ‘Kidepo Valley’ that’s known for it’s spectacular scenery, rich variety of animals and listed by CNN as third best safari park in Uganda.
3. Cultural Heritage
The Karimojong people lived together in Ethiopia as one ethnic group and migrated around 1600 A.D. to settle in present-day Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Today seven related pastoral tribes (Dodoth, Jie, Lebtur, Bokora, Matheniko, Pian, Pokoth) live on the planes and the mountains are home to former inhabitants (Ik, Tepeth).
The precipitation that does fall usually comes sporadically between June and October with the desert winds and the hot dry season taking over the land from November to March. In recent years, drought has become more frequent and severe.
Early stage rain season: April – May
Rain season: June – October
Dry season: November – March
5. Accessibility for international travellers
Uganda has a comprehensive network of international and domestic airports. While Entebbe Airport serves the largest number of international arrivals and departures, 3 other airports also receive flights from other countries.
Domestic airports make every part of the country accessible, from Entebbe Airport in the far north to Kidepo Valley National Park. Airport facilities vary according to the size of the local population.
For many countries it’s easy to get a visa to visit, and citizens from bordering countries may not even need a visa under the popular East Africa visa waiver policy. Check the Immigration website for details.
The Ugandan government is investing highly in improving the roads network in the Karamoja region. In 2013 a 100Km road was completed connecting Moroto to Nakapiripirit and other roads are regularly been maintained and graded with marram. In any occasion we recommend contacting the local community about the road conditions ahead before conducting your journey.
7. Safety & Security
From 2011 the insecurity issue due cattle raids in the northeast region of Uganda officially ended. The Ugandan People Defence Force successfully disarmed the region whereafter peace has been restored. Up until today the people of Karamoja are celebrating peace and security and there have not been any related incidents recorded. Read more about Karamoja International Travel Advisory here.