Kidepo Valley National Park
This national park lies in the remote far north eastern corner of Uganda. Isolated from the rest of the country and covered by the sparsely populated arid lands of Karamoja region. Kidepo valley national park is un-doubly one of the most alluring national parks in Uganda in the country, boasting a strong wilderness atmosphere, rugged mountain scenery with an exceptional game viewing and bird watching.
The park covers an area of 1442km2 and it has an altitude range between 914-2750m above sea level. The highest point in the park is Mountain Morungole (2750m) on the southern border and the slightly higher Mountain Lutoke (2797m) lies just within the Sudanese border and is visible from several points in the park.
The dominant habitat or lightly wooded savannah, interspersed with patches of montane forest, riparian woodland, thick miombo woodlands and the rocky kopjes. Kidepo Valley National Park protects one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park although its total 86 mammal species has been reduced to 77after a rash of local extinctions in the recent years. The bird checklist of over 463 bird species has been confirmed and 26 un-confirmed bird species. More than 60 bird species listed in the park have been recorded in no other Ugandan National Park.
Five primate species have been recorded in Kidepo Valley National Park, including the localized patas monkey. Predators are particularly well represented in this park with over 20 species resident in this national park and of these are the black-backed jackal, spotted hyena, lions, leopards and a variety of mustelids, genets and other small cats. Twelve antelope species occur in Kidepo of which the greater kudu, guenther’s dik dik, lesser kudu and mountain reedbuck occur nowhere else in Uganda. Other antelope species in this park include the Jackson’s hartebeest, eland, bushbuck, common duiker, oribi and bohor reedbuck.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
The best way to get to Kidepo valley national park is by chartered air plane. Charter flights may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi) and these flights take about 2 hours.
However it is also possible to drive to Kidepo through the remote Karamoja region though driving to this park means covering a distance of 705km from Kampala and if you take different routes it can go up to 792km. the drive requires a 4WD safari vehicle and can go up to 12 hours. Most people choose to fly instead to road transport due to the nature of the roads and the costs involved in driving.
These are the routes passing west of Lake Kyoga and Acholi land
Kampala via Karuma via Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo which covers up to571km (10 hours)
Kampala via Karuma via Lira – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo which covers up to 705km (12 hours)
These are routes passing east of Lake Kyoga and Karamoja
Kampala via Mbale via Sironko – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo which covers up to 740km (12 hours)
Kampala via Mbale via Soroti – Moroto – Kotido – Kabong – Kidepo which covers up to 792km (13 hours)
Uganda Safari Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park
Wildlife as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
The park hosts a great variety of animal species in comparison to any other Ugandan park. Of the 86 species recorded in 1971, 28 were not known to exist to any other Ugandan national park. Carnivore species that are in Kidepo include; the hunting dog, bat eared fox, cheetah, stripped hyena, caracal and the Aardwolf. There are more uncommon ungulates and these include the greater and lesser kudu, roan antelope, chandler’s reedbuck, beisa Oryx and the bright gazelle are Kidepo specials though they have been reduced by poachers over the past few years
Birds as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
The bird checklist of over 463 bird species has been confirmed and 26 un-confirmed bird species. More than 60 bird species listed in the park have been recorded in no other Ugandan national park. The ostrich as well as the kori bustard are also found in this park and this park is known for its exceptional variety of birds of prey. Out of the 58 recorded, 14 are endemic to Kidepo valley national park as well as the Karamoja region. These include the pygmy falcon, Verreaux’s eagle, and the Egyptian vulture.
Apoka tourism centre as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
Looking over the game filled Narus valley and the standard UWA managed cottages. The apoka is a tourism centre of the park where ranger guides are positioned to accompany tourists on their game drives and nature walks. There is a craft shop having books, souvenirs, alcoholic beverages and water can be bought here.
Narus valley as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
This is a rising and fall of grassland plains surrounded by faraway mountains. This valley is a source to permanent water for the wildlife that gathers here throughout the year. The area is properly supplied with game tracks and 4 circuits that explore the valley close to Apoka. Several animals like the lions, reedbucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, Oribis, buffaloes and giraffes are visible within the valley as well as cheetahs and leopards that are seen but in small numbers. The narus dam has got a waterhole close to the tourism centre and is an ideal place for game especially in a dry season.
Kidepo valley and the kanangorok hot springs as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
All year round, shortage of water in the park means less wildlife is seen in the Kidepo valley, however it is worth a drive to go to the dried out Kidepo river and move its 50m wide river bed covered with sand and the Borassus palms. The name Kidepo is a local word or name meaning “picking from below” and this valley was frequently visited by people travelling to collect fallen Borassus fruits to ferment their palm beer. The kanangorok hot springs are located 11km past the Kidepo River along the Sudan border and this is an amazing place to view the mountains far past the frontier.
Mountain Morungole as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
This raises high up 2750m above sea level and is crossed by the Kidepo River and the Narus River which feeds a wide number of wildlife in this park. These mountains are in the southern part of the park and the area may be visited on foot but should be done in company of a ranger to avoid uncertainties and these mountains are home to the IK people, one of the smallest ethnic groups that still survive in northern Uganda with their amazing culture.
Namamukweny valley as a Uganda Safari Attraction in Kidepo Valley National Park
Namamukweny is a native word that means “a place with no birds or a place with a few people populations” although regarding the birds; this is contrary to the truth. The valley is populated by a huge amount of bird species like the eastern paradise whydah, green wood hoopoe, Abyssinian roller and the common bulbul. It is found in the north western part of the park and can be accessed by both foot and a car.
Uganda Safari Activities in Kidepo Valley National Park
Hiking as a Uganda Safari Activity in Kidepo Valley National Park
Hiking can be conducted on the Lamoj Mountains a few kilometers from the park headquarters. The activity is also done on the Kidepo river valley that is covered with Borassus palm forest and these plains are dried out in the biggest part of the year. The mountains with their savannah landscape are breathtaking plus the Narus valley found in the south west part of the park.
Game viewing as a Uganda Safari Activity in Kidepo Valley National Park
Among the various species to see within this park are: the Hunting dog, Bat-eared Fox, Cheetah, Striped Hyena, Caracal, the aard Wolf, elephants, oribi, Jackson’s hartebeests, Burchell’s zebras, bush pigs, bohor reed buck, warthogs, Rothschild giraffes, Defassa water bucks, cape buffaloes, elands, bush duskier, bush bucks, lions, side-striped jackals, leopards, black-backed jackals, various small cats as well as spotted hyenas.
Bird watching as a Uganda Safari Activity in Kidepo Valley National Park
The bird checklist of over 463 bird species has been confirmed and 26 un-confirmed bird species. More than 60 bird species listed in the park have been recorded in no other Ugandan National Park. The ostrich as well as the kori bustard are also found in this park and this park is known for its exceptional variety of birds of prey. Out of the 58 recorded, 14 are endemic to Kidepo valley national park as well as the Karamoja region. These include the pygmy falcon, Verreaux’s eagle, and the Egyptian vulture. For the bird lovers, this is the best place to be as it is so rewarding
Cultural Performance as a Uganda Safari Activity in Kidepo Valley National Park
The nearby local communities possess teams of cultural entertainers that are normally accessible to offer performances on request. These performers have a wide range of traditional dances as well as songs for example the Emuya of the Nyangia as well as the Naporre ethnic groups along with Larakaraka plus Apiti dances performed by the native Acholi people.
Uganda Safari Accommodation in Kidepo Valley National Park
Luxury Lodges in Kidepo National Park
Apoka Safari Lodge
Apoka Safari Lodge is among the very best safari lodges within Uganda. Wild animals come to your door-steps, you are in the middle of beautiful wonders, wild animals in abundance yet you’re in what is known as the Pearl of Africa Within this distant part of Uganda, Apoka Lodge has established a heaven experience here on earth just for you. The convenience, the luxury, the fashion and class encompasses you in the middle of this African Wild.
Midrange Lodges in Kidepo National Park
Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp
Nga’Moru is found at the border of Kidepo Valley National Park that is situated 320 kilometers north of Kampala the capital city of Uganda. You may choose to fly up to Kidepo from the international Airport in Entebbe and in less than Two hours you will be there, alternatively, you may choose to take an exciting drive by using the Gulu to Kitgum road and in 10 hours you will as well be arriving. A number of the wild animals which often visit the camp include: Elephants, Lions, Hyenas, Zebras and Waterbucks.
Budget Lodges in Kidepo National Park
Apoka Rest Camp
Sixteen self-contained chalets are offered at Apoka Rest Camp which is a hostel consisting of Fourteen Bandas each having 2 beds; the Bandas are actually not self-contained. With regard to visitors who choose camping, this park, have to carry your own tent along with other camping gear.