Kidepo Valley National Park – The remotest national park in Uganda and Africa!!
Kidepo Valley National Park is nestled in the semi-arid, rugged valleys on the border between Uganda, Kenya and south Sudan, approximately 700km from Kampala by road. The park was officially established in 1962, in the same year Uganda got her independence to shelter a thousands of mammals and bird species that were roaming this place. Kidepo national park has a total land area of 1,442km2 and boasts of remarkable big game and is home to over 77 mammal and 475 bird species. The 2,750 metres Mount Morungole dominates and the Kidepo and Narus rivers transect the park.
Kidepo valley national park is the most isolated and one of the less exploited national park in Uganda and Africa, but the few who make the long wildlife tour in Uganda and head for the north-east through Karamoja plains would agree that it is also the most magnificent and a finest wilderness destination the world has ever known.
Many of the travellers who dare to visit the park remark on the beautiful scenery and often promise to return and re-visit the park. It’s also a destination, squeezed into the corner of Ugandan boundary with Kenya and Sudan. For any traveller considering a safari in Uganda, Kidepo national park purely offers undulating savannah landscape which finish at a rugged horizon. It has also a broad latitudinal range that offers a wide range of climatic conditions which give a conducive environment for the growth of abundant flora in this park. The park is also a birding paradise for those considering epic birding safaris in Uganda.
It has got a total of over 475 species and ranks second to Queen Elizabeth National park in animal diversity Some of the birds found here include; black breasted barbet, Karamoja Apalis and the iconic ostrich. It is also surrounded by mountain forests some of which are of high interest and habitats for the native Ik people, while the areas along lorupei River are greatly enclosed by acacia vegetation. The land scape is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs amalgamated that make Kidepo National park a unique safari destination
Game viewing in Kidepo Valley National park
Kidepo Valley National park has got many wildlife species which include;Lesser Kudu, Grant Gazelle,Striped Hyena, and BeisaOryx,warthog, Rothschild giraffe, Elephant, Burchell zebra, bush pig, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, Defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, Jackson hartebeest, Oribi, Lion, common zebra, Leopard, Buffalo, several small cats, Kangoni, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal-commonly seen.
This national park has also got great diversity of animals’ species; it has over 80 species of mammals. Among the carnivore species in the park, there is stripped hyena, bat-eared fox, hunting dog, the aardwolf, Caracal and cheetah. Kidepo National park is also rich in reptile fauna. The Oribis are abundant in the Narus Valley, despite the dry thorn thickets in the north which is home to the Günther’s dik-dik and Senegal bushbaby, found in the rest camp at night and the white tailed Mongoose which can be viewed during the night game drives.
Birding tours in Kidepo valley national park in Uganda
Kidepo National Park has been confirmed an ultimate history to the safari great birders, due to the endless list of exclusive birds it has got, just at Apoka rest camp offers epic views of an exclusive Kidepo birding tour. You will enjoy the silver bird and small brands of yellow billed shrike which exist in a small stable water hole that attracts swallows and the variety of seed eaters. Night elephants, buffaloes, and sand grouse also visit the spot. Along the track to Apoka Lodge in the rank grass, there is the African Mustached and broad-tailed warblers, black coucal, clapper ton francolin, marsh tchagra and the crimson rumped waxbill.
The most key species of birds found in Kidepo National park include; Eastern Pale Chanting Go-shawk, Green-winged, Ethiopian Swallow, Nubian Woodpecker, Brown-backed Woodpecker, White-bellied Tit and Superb Starlings, Singing Bush lark, Stone Partridge, Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu Pied, Pygmy Falcon, Scarlet-chested Sun bird, Heuglin Whea-ters, Fox Kestrel, Red-winged Pytilias, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Four-banded Sand Grouse and Little Green Bee-eater.
Other iconic bird species found here include; Rose-ringed Parakeet,Grey-capped Social and Speckle-fronted Weavers, Ostrich Red-winged Lark, White-faced Scoops Owl, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Brown-rumped Bunting, Pygmy and Beautiful Sun birds, Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Heuglin Karamoja Apalis, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, Standard-winged Night jars, Mosque Swallow, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Eastern Yellow and Jackson Horn bills, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Steel-blue and Straw tailed Whydahs and Chestnut- crowned Sparrow Weaver.
Scenery Viewing in Kidepo National park
Hiking in the park is commonly carried out a few kilometers from the national park headquarters on the Lamoj Mountains. The Kidepo river valley is also dominated by Borassus palm forest and can also be viewed by the tourists. It’s also a wide flatbed which is dry for the majority of the year. The main great attractions in Kidepo National park are the savannah and mountainous land scape in the park. The Narus Valley is also situated in the south west of the park. It’s also separated by the Natira and Lokayot hills from the Kidepo Valley in the north east of the park. Also the Lotukei Mountains in the south of Sudan mark north and the southern boundary of the park.
Cultural encounters in Kidepo valley national park
The people around the park have several groups of cultural entertainers who provide performances during evenings at the lodges and during community tours. The ethnic groups and Larakaraka and Apriti dances of Acholi who are awaiting for you as you enjoy your cultural tour. These performers have got variety for you, traditional dances like the Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia. Also visit the Ik people who dwell on the slopes of the mountains; just like the Batwa people of Kisoro and Kanungu districts, the Ik are one of the endangered tribes in the world only found in the Karamoja region of Uganda. They are traditional human beings who only survive by fruit gathering and hunting wild animals. Their life style is unique and you will enjoy when you hike to their homesteads. Also a tour to the local market and views of the beautifully crafted Manyatta huts of the Karamojong.
Nature walks in Kidepo valley national Park
Follow the soroti- Moroto road; you will also be enthralled by the view of the steep Alekilek volcano about midway Moroti and soroti. Along the Lira Kotido road, you will enjoy the scenery of the labwor hills and in particular the massive and the bare Alerex rock which is about 55 km to Kotido by the help of the knowledge on African culture that can be increased by a visit to the Karamonjong home steads locally called the Manyattas and probably the kraals to view the traditional customs, stools, spears headdress, bows, knives and the arrows. You will also buy some of the items of the Karamojong traditional items from the park tourist office during the tour.
Kidepo national park has a myriad of budget campsites, mid-range and upmarket facilities; the UWA hostel comprises of 14 bandas each of which has two beds, these Bandas are not self-contained at $22 per person per night. The privately owned Apoka Rest Camp that overlooks the Narus Valley has got 16 self-contained chalets/ rooms for $75 per person per night with full board. Camping services are also available but the visitors are encouraged to bring their own cooking equipment and food.
For accommodation facilities in Kidepo valley national park, Read more here…
Kampala via Soroti to Kotido then Amuria is a 656 km drive
Kampala via Mbale to Soroti via Moroto then Kidepo is a 792 km drive
From Kampala via Mbale to Sironko via Kotido then Kideop is a 740 km drive
From Kampala to Lira, Kotido then Kidepo is a 705 km drive
Note: Authorities recommend 4 wheel drive vehicles during the tour. Please, you will also use a road from Kotido to Kabong which passes via Kanawauat. You can also have a domestic flight from Entebbe to Kidepo National Park.