When you think about authentic African experience, consider visiting the Ik tribe a must in your travel plan to Uganda. The Ik people stay high in Mount Morungole around the border area with Kenya in Kidepo Valley National Park, northeast Uganda. They are famous as the mountain a few remarkable mountain dwellers in Uganda. The Ik people are also regarded as a few endangered creatures as they count about 10000 to 110000. They originated from Ethiopia and they first settled in Kenya and later moved to Kidepo Valley National Park. They are renowned hunters and gatherers but given cattle rustling from other tribes like the Turkana and Pokot of Kenya, the Karamojong of Uganda and the Tuposa of South Sudan, they surrendered from cattle keeping for subsistence farming, goat rearing and honey production.
Hiking through Mount Morungole rewards visitors with the spectacular scenic views of the surrounding areas. A visit to these unique people’s community offers you opportunity to explore more about the cultural habits of the Ik especially paying the bride wealth with five and ten beehives (a respectable man has about 50 beehives) and the first woman gets the status of the man over the rest of the wives, goats, chicken, money instead of cattle, how children at a young age interact with one another or their grandmother as well as how polygamy is practiced in their community.
Cattle are no longer reared due to fear of cattle rustlers from adjacent areas. A visit to Ik village offers a unique insight about this endangered tribal group in African continent. To get to Ik villages requires some physical wellness in you as it involves hiking through Mount Morungole that stretches up to 2749 meters above sea level. The trail covers about eight (8) kilometers long making a total of 16 kilometers for whole trip. However, the hikes reward visitors with incredible views of the surrounding areas including the Eastern rift valley of Kenya. While in their community, you will be filled with exciting and thrilling traditional dances.
The Ik are a few most welcoming people that you shouldn’t miss to interact with while on safari in Uganda. You will have a chance to explore their lifestyles, how they raise their children as they also have a unique way of raising children, polygamy is part of Ik families and formal education hasn’t yet impacted much in their community. Amazingly, one of the Ik women joined Kampala International University making her the first in the Ik tribe in Uganda. You will also have a chance to explore how they make local beer and many more things that are worth exploring while on cultural safari in Uganda. They also had the first Member of Parliament in the 10th Ugandan parliament in 2016 which all make incredible history about these people.
They became popular around 1972 when the British American anthropologist Colin Turnbull published his book-The Mountain People. Because they wanted to live peacefully after government turned their hunting and gathering spots into wildlife reserve, the Ik people chose to move to Mount Morungole’s summit where they have today isolated themselves.
A visit to Ik people is adventurous and it takes the entire day as it involves hiking through the magnificent Morungole Mountain. This means that you have to be physically fit to reach to Ik village. They stay in small villages that are arranged in clusters that consist of the total ‘community.’ The small villages are surrounded by an outer wall and then sectioned into friend based ‘neighborhoods’ known as odoks. Each of Odoks is sub divided into walled off households known as asaks with front yards and in most cases granaries. The children’s sleeping quarters are also detached from the parents’ side by cooking stones. There are mattresses or mats, save for a trough scooped out of the earth floor to mark the bounds of a bed.
If you are a cultural enthusiast, make sure that you pay a visit to the Ik village and you will be rewarded with authentic African experiences that come once in lifetime. For visitors on Uganda safari to Kidepo Valley National Park, never miss to include this experience in your travel plan.