Isolated African tribe drink straight from cows' udders

A calf and a woman share a mother's udder in a normal practice of drinking milk directly from the cow as a form of sustenance
  • Karamajong tribe in Northern Uganda survive on one meal a day as droughts continue to hamper their lives 
  • Despite habitable land nearby, tsetse flies mean pastors can't take precious cattle there due to risk of disease
  • The men's faces are often decorated with scarred dots around the brow and they remove a tooth at puberty
  • Wrapped in the traditional blankets and beads, their distinctive look is different to any other tribe in Uganda

An incredible set of photographs have lifted the lid on life inside the African tribe that walk for up to 10 hours a day to find water and drink straight from cows' udders.

The nomadic tribe are famous for their elaborate scar patterns and athletic prowess, but photographer Sumy Sadurni wanted to focus on how the climate change has affected their lives in a big way.

He travelled to Northern Uganda in February to capture how the Karamajong tribe live - one of the main indigenous communities in the Masai in Kenya.

Their faces are often decorated with scarred dots around the brow and a bottom tooth is removed once they hit puberty. 

Wrapped in the traditional Karamojong blanket and decorated in beads, they sport a distinctive look different to any of the other tribes in the country. 

But droughts have left them struggling to survive, with families having to cut down to just one basic meal a day to get by.

Despite the habitable Kidepo National Park situated nearby, due to tsetse flies, pastors cannot take their precious cattle there as it would risk disease.

Turkana cattle herders travel from Kenya into Karamoja to find water for their cattle. Unlike the Karamojong, Turkana women also take part in this way of livelihood in Karamoja, Uganda

Turkana cattle herders travel from Kenya into Karamoja to find water for their cattle. Unlike the Karamojong, Turkana women also take part in this way of livelihood in Karamoja, Uganda

Children head to the borehole to fetch water for their families - an ordeal that can take up to 10 hours every single day

Children head to the borehole to fetch water for their families - an ordeal that can take up to 10 hours every single day

An elderly Karamojong cattle herder at Kobebe dam, now a meeting point for water and selling or buying cattle in Uganda

An elderly Karamojong cattle herder at Kobebe dam, now a meeting point for water and selling or buying cattle in Uganda

Tribesmen, tribeswomen and their children use their traditional clothing to cover up from a nasty sandstorm in Karamoja

Tribesmen, tribeswomen and their children use their traditional clothing to cover up from a nasty sandstorm in Karamoja

Despite the habitable Kidepo National Park situated nearby, due to tsetse flies, pastors cannot take their precious cattle there as it would risk disease 

Despite the habitable Kidepo National Park situated nearby, due to tsetse flies, pastors cannot take their precious cattle there as it would risk disease 

Karamojong women climb Mount Moroto in search of firewood which they can then sell at the local market in Moroto town, Karamoja, Uganda

Karamojong women climb Mount Moroto in search of firewood which they can then sell at the local market in Moroto town, Karamoja, Uganda

Having completed the punishing trek to water, a woman pumps away to fill containers in order to take them back to the tribe

Having completed the punishing trek to water, a woman pumps away to fill containers in order to take them back to the tribe

A young boy with a stick in his hand carries a sack on top of his head in Napak district, one of the most famished in the area

A young boy with a stick in his hand carries a sack on top of his head in Napak district, one of the most famished in the area

 A man showing the deliberately scarred dots around the eye area, which are a common beauty feature in the Karamojong culture
A Pokot tribeswoman. The Pokot and Karamojong have a long history of clashes and still now there is tension between both tribes. In Amudat, home to the Pokot, there is slightly greener grass but the Karamojong will not graze there, Karamoja, Uganda

A man (left) showing the deliberately scarred dots around the eye area, which are a common beauty feature in the Karamojong culture. And a Pokot tribeswoman (right). The Pokot and Karamojong have a long history of clashes and still now there is tension between both tribes. In Amudat, home to the Pokot, there is slightly greener grass but the Karamojong will not graze there, Karamoja, Uganda

A forest of dead trees on Mount Moroto look over vast landscape of Karamoja displaying the problems caused by the drought

A forest of dead trees on Mount Moroto look over vast landscape of Karamoja displaying the problems caused by the drought

Amudat district, south of Karamoja and home to the Pokot tribe, has greener grass than districts such as Napak and Moroto. However, due to tribe tensions, the Karamojong cannot bring their cattle to graze here

Amudat district, south of Karamoja and home to the Pokot tribe, has greener grass than districts such as Napak and Moroto. However, due to tribe tensions, the Karamojong cannot bring their cattle to graze here

A young dad in Napak district looks after his boy at a community meeting, where people from the village get together and talk about the lack of harvests and water

A young dad in Napak district looks after his boy at a community meeting, where people from the village get together and talk about the lack of harvests and water

The photographer said: 'I'm hoping that by sharing a piece of their lives, I can introduce this fascinating tribe to the world.

'While the African grasslands and climate in Karamoja has always been dry, it is now drier than it's ever been. 

'The reality is that people are literally walking for 10 hours to find water for themselves and for their cattle.

'Without water, there is no life. Without water, there is also no food.

'While there are many issues within the Karamojong, including women rights, the main priority now is to survive.

'I hope that these pictures also show their way of life, the way they dress and how these amazing tribes have had to somehow adapt to a Western way of life.' 

Pictured by Sumy in several of the images is Marco, a young Karamojong father of seven, who has cut down the family food rations to one meal of sorghum grain a day, who said: 'In the morning I wake and first thing I do is count the animals.

'I then go out to find water for them and in the afternoon I try to make what money I can to feed my family'.

Situated in the north of the country, Karamoja borders Kenya and war-torn South Sudan and is also home to Kidepo National Park. 

The photographer said: 'This is now true for most families as resources are scarce. 

'Their days are now based on finding water for both family and cattle: a task that is getting harder every day.'

Children start doing chores from a young age in Karamoja. They fetch water, look after the cattle and the girls look after their siblings and help in the villages

Children start doing chores from a young age in Karamoja. They fetch water, look after the cattle and the girls look after their siblings and help in the villages

Chickens, which provide a vital source of food and income, inside Manyattas are kept in the shade in Karamoja, Uganda

Chickens, which provide a vital source of food and income, inside Manyattas are kept in the shade in Karamoja, Uganda

Karamojong boys, pictured here with their father, begin looking after goats when they're five years old. At the age of around seven, they will move on to calves and by the age of ten they will be looking after cows

Karamojong boys, pictured here with their father, begin looking after goats when they're five years old. At the age of around seven, they will move on to calves and by the age of ten they will be looking after cows

A young Turkana girl looks after her cows - which look horribly impoverished - in Kobebe, north of Moroto district, Uganda

A young Turkana girl looks after her cows - which look horribly impoverished - in Kobebe, north of Moroto district, Uganda

Marco - a man who featured in the photographer's feature - said his children (pictured)  look after the goats while he is away with the cattle

Marco - a man who featured in the photographer's feature - said his children (pictured) look after the goats while he is away with the cattle

Across East Africa's grasslands, the tribe watch the landscape's colour change as they trek miles to find water

Across East Africa's grasslands, the tribe watch the landscape's colour change as they trek miles to find water

A man poses in a colourful gown as he carries a stick near one of the tribe's makeshift homes with a straw roof

A man poses in a colourful gown as he carries a stick near one of the tribe's makeshift homes with a straw roof

Children often look after their younger siblings in the tribe while the parents  are away working
Pokot tribeswomen are usually more decorated than Karamojong women

Children (pictured left) often look after their younger siblings in the tribe while the parents (pictured right) are away working

Children often go out to hunt small birds and bat with home made sling shots like the one pictured here in Karamoja, Uganda

Children often go out to hunt small birds and bat with home made sling shots like the one pictured here in Karamoja, Uganda

Marta and her children in Napak district stood outside a hut made of mud, sticks and straw where a suitcase lies on the floor

Marta and her children in Napak district stood outside a hut made of mud, sticks and straw where a suitcase lies on the floor

A blue jug of Sorghum maize grain like this one costs around £1 and will feed the family for six days as food rations have been cut to one meal a day

A blue jug of Sorghum maize grain like this one costs around £1 and will feed the family for six days as food rations have been cut to one meal a day

Herders travel massive distances in order to get to a common borehole now that there is barely any water in the region. Cows are marked according to the owner. Cattle theft, disease and death from dehydration are the most prevalent challenges in, Karamoja, Uganda

Herders travel massive distances in order to get to a common borehole now that there is barely any water in the region. Cows are marked according to the owner. Cattle theft, disease and death from dehydration are the most prevalent challenges in, Karamoja, Uganda

The Spanish photographer said: 'Karamoja is always the underdog of the East African tribes, and the western world is less familiar with them compared to the Masai, Ethiopian and Tanzanian tribes for example.

'I'm hoping that people get as fascinated by them as I am, and that through the pictures they can connect with these people.

'With all the challenges faced by the region, the Karamojong are proud and passionate people.'

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By Mathias Dillion 02/15/2017 03:28:00
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