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A Day with the Ik People of Uganda, an endangered African Tribe

ik-people-kidepo-ugandaThe Ik tribe comprises of very few members and it is ranked as one of the endangered tribes on the African continent. A visit to these amazing and unique people is not an everyday occurrence considering the remoteness of where they stay up in the isolated morungole mountains. These people who live up in the mountains can be visited during our exciting Uganda Cultural Safaris and it will require a full day’s tour for the most pleasurable and exciting experience.

How many Ik People are in the world today?

These people live up in the mountains within the Kidepo Region found in northeastern Uganda along its border with Kenya.The Ik are a small tribe estimated to include 10,000 – 11,000 members and are thought to have migrated all the way from Ethiopia and initially settled within Kenya before finally settling in Kidepo Valley Park found in Uganda.

Initially the Ik people were also cattle keepers in addition to being gathers, however, because of cattle raids from nearby tribes including the Turkana as well as the Pokot from Kenya, the Tuposa from South Sudan as well as the Karamajong from Uganda they quit cattle keeping and resorted for subsistence farming, honey production as well as goat keeping.

Also in the 1960’s the government interfered with the lifestyle of these hunters and gatherers when it turned their area of habitat into a Wildlife Reserve.  But because these people preferred to live a quiet and peaceful life, they decided to migrate upwards to the Morungole Mountains were they stay in isolation. During our Uganda Cultural Safaris, you can visit the IK people within this area.

The work ‘Ik’ in the local language means ‘ head of migration’, and historical facts reveal that the Ik were the very first people to actually migrate into Northeastern Uganda.

During your visit to the Ik People up in Morungole Mountain, you will enjoy one of Uganda’s most breathtaking scenery and well as a great cultural experience. You will learn about their cultural practices including how they pay a bride-price of five to ten beehives, money rather than cows, chickens and goats; and how polygamy is the order of the day and an acceptable practice up in the Ik land.

These people no longer rear cattle due to fear of external raids by other nearby so what you will commonly see here is beekeeping and goat rearing.

The Ik Tribe is among the most endangered tribes on the African continent and accessing their home located up in Morungole Mountains is rather challenging, although through the help of the US Forest service, an easier trail has been marked out. There is a shortcut that will take just a couple of hours by vehicle. However to best enjoy the IK Cultural experience, we recommend a full day adventure.

For those climbing up the trail, it requires so level of physical fitness since the highest peak on Mount Murongole stands at 2,749m above sea level. It is an 8 kilometer long trail up hill and offers a challenging ascent. You will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery as you climb with views of the eastern rift valley below.

As you approach the village settlements you will be warmly welcomed by very friendly local people singing and dancing the normally in Ik finery.  These local people have positively welcomed the different tourism activities among them since it is a source of additional income to them.

As you take a guided walk through the village, please feel free to ask any questions about their lifestyle, the way they raise their children is rather different, they are a polygamous people and they have an informal education system. They are a very intresting people whose culture is worth learning about.

For those of you interested in visiting the Ik people we recommend that you you notify us earlier to  enable us make proper preparations for you so that you have a satisfactory and fun filled cultural visit considering that they are a people located in one of Uganda’s most remote areas.

This visit can be combined to a wildlife safari in Kidepo Valley National Park, or Murchison Falls National Park.

For more information about the People and Cultures in Uganda, visit ugandasafariguide.com