In the animal Kingdom, the giraffe stands out of the crowd across many fronts. To say it is beautiful is an understatement. From head to toe, it is gorgeous, with yellow and orange mosaic style patterns.
It maintains a very humble personality despite being the tallest land animal, with a leg whose height exceeds that of many men (6ft long). Despite having an unmatched ability to strike dead any creature with a single blow, it is a peaceful animal that treats other herbivores with empathy. Considering all these qualities, it is no wonder that it comes across as the hallmark for Moroto District. Why? Like it, this semi-arid District whose name loosely translates as the rocky place is unique in many ways. Here are some of must-visit attractions and experiences in this first rising tourism destination, Writes Solomon Oleny.
Visit Edurkoit trees
As per to Karimojong region traditions, a home is only considered complete if it has a Faidebia Albida, a leafy-weather-resistant tree. One of the biggest wow factors about this species is that it can live for over 200 years without losing shape. Regardless of how old it gets, it eternally young. Locally known as Edurkoit, its roots sink deep in the ground anchoring it firmly, whilst tapping water.
Compared to trees in forests found in Southern and Western Uganda, its stem is less thick yet firmer. This helps it resist being broken by the strong cross winds that sweep through this part of the country on a daily. In contrast, its branches and leaves are very light and flexible enough to be easily swayed by the wind and rain.
Beyond its beauty, it has a historical and social significance in the lives of the dominant tribes living in Moroto. Such include Tepeth, Karamajong and Matheniko.
Longora John, a 71-year-old local Chief in the District explains that under its cool shades, elders from these tribes converge to find lasting solutions to whatsoever is troubling their communities. It could be settling disputes among its people, celebrating the lives of heroes who have contributed to the growth of their clans……
“Simply put, the tree has a very special place in the hearts of the Karimjong people, and that is why they are never cut it for firewood regardless of how desperate the situation at hand is.” says Longora
In agreement with John, Hellen Pulkol the Deputy Residential District Commissioner notes that; this is why the Edurkoit tree in the midst of Moroto Town was never cut to give way for the construction of the town’s main street.
The best way to see how different these trees are from each other is taking a guided tour around traditional homesteads. Each has the tree at the heart of the Manyatta.