Overview – Kidepo Valley National Park
If you need an experience to an adventure of a virgin and raw Africa, this is the place to visit. You get to witness the sights of both Zebras and Giraffes almost at the same time. 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 amazing scenery that is breathtaking with the sounds of the winds sweeping through the valley with an abundance of wildlife with no caravans of vehicles meandering down the game tracks or running engines to distract you for the wild viewing.
It is a remote park, but with an opportunity to see the rare White Buffaloes plus the tree climbing lions which normally hang up in the trees around Narus valley or by the rock as you enter the Apoka-Headquarter. Other wildlife includes elephants, leopards, bush duikers, jackals, bush bucks, bush pigs, kavirondo bush babies, buffaloes.
It ia a rare kind of park not only in Uganda but Africa in general with the best wildlife viewing and a rather unique cultural view and experience. Here you meet the Karamojong 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 at the same time, the best of the Wild of Africa worth every time and effort.
This park hosts a great variety of animal species including 80 species with 28 only existent 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 avifauna with 465 various species recorded, out of the 58 species recorded, 14 species are thought to be specifically endemic to Kidepo and Karamoja region. Some of the birds include Ostrich, the Kori Bustard the pygmy Falcon, Verreaux’s Eagle, the Egyptian Vulture, the Jackson’s, Yellow-billed plus the Red-billed and the Giant Abyssinian ground Hornbill is very common
Apoka Tourism Centre
Looking over the game filled Narus Valley, Apoka is the tourism centre of the park where ranger guides are positioned to accompany tourists on their game drives plus nature walks.
Narus Valley is a rising and falling grassland plain surrounded by faraway mountains providing permanent water, and through the year for the wildlife. The Narus dam together with the water hole close to the Tourism Centre are ideal observation places for game, particularly throughout the dry season.
Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
Kidepo Valley is still worth the drive, to visit the dried out Kidepo River to walk along its 50 meter wide river bed comprised of white sand in between the banks blanketed with borassus palms alongside enjoy Kanangorok Hot Springs.
Mount Morungole is crossed by River Kidepo and River Narus which nourish the wildlife plus the natural habitat of this park towering 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 is populated by 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.
These hills are a great viewing point to see wild animals and birds such as the mountain reedbucks due to its abundance of birds including many raptors.
The Park is less visited due to its distance from the capital of Uganda though it is a hidden gem with a lot of activities to engage a traveler including:
At the Park while on the game drives where you can encounter the Wild of Africa without the crowds offering some of the best game drives since they are less crowds.
Nature Walks/ Hikes
Kidepo Valley Park has some great places for Nature and Bush Walks which is an amazing experiences as you enjoy the African Wild. All Nature Walks and Hikes within the Park will be guided by Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers for safety in this remote park.
This Park is a great place for birders including its birds of prey alongside 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 which is certainly a sight to see.
Karamojong Community Visit
This is a cultural visit that you will find most interesting and give you insights into Authentic Africa and in particular insights into the Karamojong People who live and who are related to the Maasai.
Visit to the Ik People
Morungole Mountains is where the Ik Tribe lives as one of the original tribes in Northeast Uganda area.
Kidepo Park is an isolated in the northern part of Uganda that is quiet far from Kampala making it a less visited destination with few accommodation options and they include:
- Apoka Safari Lodge
- Apoka Rest Camp
- Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
The park can be reached by either air for the travelers with limited travel time in less than 2 hours or you may choose to take an exciting drive by using the Gulu to Kitgum road lasting 10 hours. Driving is rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness.
Below are four possible routes for getting to Kidepo
- Kampala to Karuma to Gulu to Kitgum to Kidepo at a distance of 571 km lasting 10 hours
- Kampala to Karuma to Lira to Kotido to Kaabong to Kidepo at a distance of 705 km lasting 12 hours
- Kampala to Mbale to Sironko to Moroto to Kotido to Kaabong to Kidepo at a distance of 740 km lasting 12 hours
- Kampala to Mbale to Soroti to Moroto to Kotido to Kaabong to Kidepo at a distance of 792 km lasting 13 hours
Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged in Kajjansi, Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation, 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.
Climate and when 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 rains in April and May (wet season) and is the worst time to go wildlife viewing as the paths and tracks are quite muddy and slippery and the wildlife is scattered.