While in Karamoja last week we decided to climb the highest mountain in the region, Mount Moroto. In the last decades the region has witnessed war and conflict which has left its peaks predominantly unclimbed. Towering over it’s surroundings at 3,082 meters, climbing this collossal volcanic mountain is an incredible hike in such an arid environment that it’s hard to understand how people survive there.

"Visiting Karamoja was like taking a glimpse into the past and discovering how people lived thousands of years ago."

- Dirk Hofman

The mountains are calling

The day started early, with a lovely breakfast at the Kara-Tunga guesthouse. The problem was we met some cool people and took way too long to hit the road. The reason why this was such a big mistake is that it meant we had to climb the steepest part of the mountain during midday, fighting against the scorching African sun. Nonetheless we set out with our guides Peter and Shongs to conquer the beast, fully outfitted with an insane amount of water and camping gear.

Sun of a gun

The first few hours of the hike were very doable, with a slight incline and very good footpaths. As we proceeded though, the terrain became more and more difficult, often slipping on loose rocks and large patches of incredibly dry sand. We stopped frequently and made sure to drink lots of water. As we got higher and higher, our rucksacks started to weigh more and more, and the battle really begun, fighting the heat, the burning sensation in our legs and the treacherous terrain.

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

— Edmund Hillary

Hard knock life

While climbing, we met many locals of whom none spoke English, but our guides were more than happy to translate our conversations and explain how the local community survived and how everyday life living in the mountains worked. We were amazed at how local kids would run bare-foot through the thick bush, their skin scratched and hardened by years of rough outdoor life. Where we would struggle to climb up the mountains, sticking to the paths, locals would run up and down the slopes, chasing their cattle and carrying jerrycans of water like it was a walk in the park.

Feel that burn

The last few hours became purely a mental challenge, our bodies struggling to keep up, unable to talk, unwilling to waste energy on anything other than raising one foot after another. The sensation of reaching the Victory Point was incredible. This breathtaking viewpoint got it’s name because in the past, Karamajong tribes who had raided other towns knew they were safe, as they were now out of reach of retaliation.

Uganda's best kept secret

During the hike we learnt so such about Karamajong culture as well as about ourselves. Camping on top of the mountain and cooking under the light of the full moon with Kenya on one side and Uganda on the other gave all of us an intense feeling of satisfaction but above all clarity. A moment to look back on the experiences of the past weeks but also to reflect on the values we treasure and the ambitions we hold dear. If you are a true adventurer who values going off the beaten path, trust Kara-Tunga to deliver a once in a lifetime experience full of rich encounters with nature, wildlife and people.