The Ik people of Kidepo Valley National park

The Ik people were the first people to stay or settle in the Karamoja region

Who are the Ik people of Kidepo Valley National park

The Ik people are the indigenous community living in the northeastern parts of Uganda in the Karamoja region and are unique in such a way that they have attracted several visitors local and internationally to visit their homesteads and learn more about their ways of life and how they do things differently from other tribes.

The Ik people currently reside in Kaabong District which was referred to as being part of Kotido District in Dodoth County, Kamion Sub County). Their families and home stretch from mount Lopokók and Timu forest in the south of mount Morungole and south of Kidepo valley national park. It is believed that the Ik people or tribe occupy a squeezed 50 kilometers wide strip of ground along the edge of Uganda and the Republic of Kenya.

Most of the Ik people occupy the new sit-in in South Sudan and others around 200 can be found scattered in the northwestern part of Kenya majorly in urban centers. Still, a few scattered Ik people can be traced in the southwestern part of Uganda in Masindi but recently their presence in Uganda is growing and one would be right to say that in the past, the Ik people occupied the or could traverse freely the countries of Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The word Ik is loosely translated in the local language as the first one to migrate here. It is believed that they migrated from Ethiopia to Kenya and settled finally in Karamoja in Uganda. It is important to note that when the Ik people are not living in urban areas of Kaabong in Uganda or Kenya’s Kakuma, they live in ‘manyattas call them villages that are surrounded by fences made of poles and sticks. Usually, their homestead is not as big as those of Karamajong and you find a homestead with one family or the majority being like 10 related or unrelated families.

In need following the meaning of their name, the Ik people were the first people to stay or settle in the Karamoja region and the reason for their migration is believed to be the tribe conflicts against their harsh neighbors. These people were so people as compared to their neighbors like Toposa and Jie in Kenya and semi-arid east African region and probably because they had little health so they were not granted to speak. They kept few cattle, chicken, goats, and sheep however, they had special skills in hunting, gathering fruits and have since cultivated some crops in Karamoja plains.

After settling in the Karamoja region, the Ik people found when their neighbors were many and weather as compared to them. Still, their neighbors known as the Karamajong were cattle keepers and for them, they believe that the god Ajuk whom they believe in granted them the right to possess all the cattle in their region if not in the whole world. As the result, they forcefully took advantage of the weak Ik people and took their animals forcefully.

As the result the these people decided to quit livestock and resorted to hunting, cultivating crops, and gathering edible fruits from the plains of Karamoja. As the urge for government by then the British colonial protectorate to conserve and protect wildlife in Kidepo national park increased, the misery of Ik people increased as they were vacated from their land to give way for the game reserve. And they dint not receive any form of compensation and they decided to relocate to the peak of mountain Morungole in Kidepo where they can be found now.

Visitors heading to Kidepo valley national park to explore the Ik people will get the best of Uganda safaris. Visitors will need to trek to about 2,750m high mount Morungole to immerse into the culture of these unique people with unique cultural practices. As you go to the Ik people, you will get magnificent views of the valleys within the park coupled with unique wildlife species. This is one of the amazing cultural trails as you meet, experience the culture of these people through sharing the memories of their history as you learn more from them.

The presence of Ik people adjacent to Kidepo Valley National park has raised their awareness about their world as it is hard for visitors to visit Kidepo valley national park without taking a glance at the Ik people in Morungole Mountain.

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