Kampala- Karamoja sub-region has been listed as a top African and international tourist destination for this year, according to a South African-based blog Inspiring South Africans to travel.
The sub-region was chosen after a list compiled from consultations with several travel bloggers in Africa.
The process entailed analysing insights gathered through observations, interviews and learning from experts.
“The cultural and natural beauty of Karamoja, the thriving tourism industry in the area, kudos to beautiful Karamoja,” the blog reads in part.
The Great Lakes Safaris director, Mr Amos Wekesa, said Karamoja’s challenge is the negative perceptions of the sub-region, adding that if people preserved its rich culture and nature, tourism could lead to its economic independence and sustainability.
“Cultural tourism will offer tourists access to one of the most remote and least visited, but beautiful parts of Uganda through sports, wildlife and nature activities, way of life through songs, dance, drama, community visits, oral tradition, art and crafts,” said Mr Wekesa.
The Kidepo Conservation Area manager, Mr Johnson Masereka, said when it comes to adventure; Karamoja stands out because it has tourism sites that have not been seen elsewhere.
“Despite its challenges, Karamoja has great potential as a tourist hub, most popular is Kidepo National Park that boasts of a variety of animals, including the lions, cheetahs, elands and elephant and the extra-ordinary features in Karamoja shape its outstanding beauty,” Mr Masereka said in a recent interview.
He said in 2011, the region was thrown into international limelight when Ugandan and French scientists unearthed a 20 million-year-old fossil skull of an ancient primate, a tree-climbing ape in Napak Mountain, Napak District.
He adds that in 2010, ancient paintings were discovered on Kobebe hills in Moroto District, Nakapeliet rock, Loteleit rock, Mogoth rock, and Nakadanya rock, the images of animals and people grazing while carrying bows and arrows are painted in reddish colour.
According to the Uganda Museum website, since 1920, Uganda has been a key country for the study of the origins of the great apes and humans. Several discoveries were made in the area at the end of the 1950s.
The area lies at about 1,400 metres (4,500 feet) above sea level with the largest mountains being Kadam, Moroto and Napak neighbouring Kidepo Valley National Park and Pien Upe Wildlife Reserve.