Kidepo Valley National Park

Overview

If you want to experience a virgin and raw Africa, this is the place to go. There is a marvelous cry from the wild as you journey through this beautiful scenic park. With every trek in Kidepo Valley National Park, you will be mesmerized by the breathtaking scenery with the sounds of the winds sweeping through the valley and an abundance of wildlife with no caravans of vehicles meandering down the game tracks or running engines to distract your view.

It is a remote park, but with an opportunity to see the rare White Buffaloes plus the lions which normally hang around the Narus valley or by the rock close to the Apoka-Headquarter. Other wildlife includes elephants, leopards, bush duikers, jackals, bush bucks, bush pigs, kavirondo bush babies, and buffaloes. It is a rare kind of park not only in Uganda but also in Africa in general with the best wildlife viewing and a rather unique cultural view and experience. Here you meet the Karamajong and the Ik people who live near the park.

Wildlife and Birdlife in Kidepo Valley National Park

The park is located in the far corner of northern Uganda, rendering the park remote but worth every time and effort.

This park hosts 80 animal species with 28 only extinct here within Uganda. Some of the animal species distinctive to Kidepo include the Hunting dog, Bat-eared Fox, Cheetah, Striped Hyena, Caracal, aardwolf, the greater & Lesser Kudu, roan antelope, Chandler’s mountain Reedbuck, beisa oryx, Klipspringer and Bright’s Gazelle, elephants, oribi, burchell’s zebras, Jackson’s hartebeests, bush pigs, bohor reedbuck, warthogs, Rothschild giraffes, defassa water bucks, cape buffaloes, elands, bush duskier and bush bucks and the Kavirondo bush baby.

The park features a comprehensive variety of fauna with 465 various species recorded. Of the 58 species recorded, 14 are thought to be specifically endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja regions. Some of the birds include Ostrich, Kori Bustard, pygmy Falcon, Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Jackson’s, Yellow-billed, Red-billed, and the Giant Abyssinian ground Hornbill.

What to see in Kidepo Valley National Park

  • Apoka Tourism Centre

Looking over the game-filled Narus Valley, Apoka is the tourism center of the park where ranger guides are positioned to accompany tourists on their game drives and nature walks.

  • Narus Valley

Narus Valley‘s rising and falling grassland plain surrounded by faraway mountains providing a permanent water supply through the year for the wildlife. The Narus dam, together with the water hole close to the Tourism Centre, is ideal observation places for game, particularly throughout the dry season.

  • Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs

Kidepo Valley is worth the drive to visit the dried out Kidepo River to walk along its 50 meter wide river bed comprised of white sands and blanketed with borassus palms. Here, you can also enjoy the Kanangorok Hot Springs.

  • Mount Morungole

Mount Morungole is crossed by River Kidepo and River Narus, which nourish the wildlife and towers to 2,750 meters. The slopes of the mountain are habitat to the IK people, who are the tiniest ethnic group found in Uganda, and have their own special culture.

  • Namamukweny Valley

Namamukweny Valley is populated with a huge amount of bird species including the Eastern Paradise Whydah, Green Wood Hoopoe, White-crested Turaco, Abyssinian Roller and the Common Bulbul, among others.

  • Lomej Hills

These hills are a great point to view wild animals such as the mountain reedbucks and its abundance of birds including many raptors.

Top things to do in Kidepo Valley National Park

The park is less visited due to its distance from the capital of Uganda, though it is a hidden gem with many activities to engage a traveler including:

  • Game Drives

At the park while on the game drives you can encounter the wild of Africa offering some of the best game drives with fewer crowds.

  • Nature Walks/ Hikes

Kidepo Valley Park offers great places for nature and bush walks providing an amazing experience as you enjoy the African wild. All nature walks and hikes will be guided by Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers for safety in this remote park.

  • Bird Watching

This Park is a great place for birders with 56 species recorded, including Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, and Pygmy Falcon believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region. Kidepo Valley Park is the only park in Uganda where you can find the common ostrich.

  • Karamojong Community Visit

This is a cultural visit that you will find most interesting and that will give you insights into authentic Africa and in particular, insights into the Karamojong people, who live and are related to the Masai.

  • Visit to the Ik People

The Morungole Mountains are where the Ik Tribe lives as one of the original tribes in Northeast Uganda area.

Where to stay in Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Park is isolated in the northern part of Uganda and located far from Kampala, making it a less visited destination with few accommodation options. These include:

  • Apoka Lodge
  • Kidepo Savannah Lodge
  • UWA Bandas

How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park

  • By Road

The park can be reached by air in less than 2 hours for those travelers with limited travel time or you may choose to take an exciting drive by using the Kampala – Gulu – Kitgum road lasting 10 hours with a one night stop in Gulu. Driving is rewarding, as much of Karamoja and Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness.

  • By Air

Chartered flights to Kidepo may be arranged in Kajjansi, Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation or Aerolink with the flights taking about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority plans to make Lomej airstrip near Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.

Best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park can be visited all through the year, though the best time to visit is during the dry season  of September to March when the animals are much easier to see as they are concentrated around the various water sources. Kidepo is normally quite hot and receives little rain in April and May (wet season). This is the worst time to come for wildlife viewing as the paths and tracks are quite muddy and slippery and the wildlife is scattered.

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