Karamoja – into the unknown!

Hi guys,

Well after seven magical days in Kidepo and with very heavy hearts we bode farewell to N’ga Moru and headed into the unknown.  After more than fifteen years living in Uganda and feeling like i knew most corners of the country it was an incredible feeling to start out on a new expedition into uncharted territories.

Karamoja and the Karamjong have received unflattering press over the years.  The stereotypes given to the Karamajong (wild, uncivilised) are typical of those given to almost all other non-agricultural people.  Whether you are hunter gatherers or pastoralists, the dominant, largely agricultural society will tend to paint you in a not too complimentary light.  But this is largely just perspectives, and often that which is demeaned by one group is the envy of another.

So with the dream of the complete unknown off we went to discover.

And crap, it was too bloody easy!!!  Before we knew it we were thrown out of the bottom of Karamoja like a child’s chute and were sitting in Sipi drinking ice cold beers and asking why we had not spent more time in Karamoja.

Karamoja sped past as a dream filled with incredible people and spectacular landscapes that put Kidepo to shame.  Why so fast i hear you say?  Well, road conditions can vary and in the rainy season roads can be down for weeks, even months maybe.  So off we would drive to each new town and arrive way before we planned and so continue on to the next town early in case we found problems at the next stage.  And by the time we realised that it was all good roads and way to easy we were out at the bottom and desperate to turn around.  And also we all had jobs to get back to by Monday!

In addition, the sun is intense in Karamoja and we weren’t stopping for shots because the light rendered everything bleached and white.  And not wanting to drive in the dark, it was impossible to get to some locations at the right time to get the shots i wanted.

In short this was a reconnaissance trip.  I used to say that if i won the lottery i would get straight on a plane and fly to Lamu for a couple of months.  Now i know that i will fly to Kaabong and spend days and weeks in a car and on foot traversing some of the most incredible scenery i have ever seen.

Anyway my images were disappointing simply because the lighting was bad, too harsh, too contrasty, just not representative of what we were seeing and i didn’t have the time to get things right.

I will go back to Kaabong one day and take all the images i missed this time.  The journey can be difficult at times.  There are no real hotels in the north of Karamoja, no real restaurants.  And take plenty of fuel. But Karamoja is not somewhere to pass through on your way to Kidepo, it is a destination all on its own.

In the meantime here are a few shots of some very nice people who were happy to let me take some shots of them.  Probably the first and last time you will see ‘people’ shots on this site!!

Stay well

Chris

 

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