Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda, Your True African Wilderness
Kidepo Valley National Park is situated in the extreme northeastern side of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is a true wilderness paradise and a visit to this protected area introduces you to jewels of Africa.
This park straddles in the Karamoja region and expands up to 1,442 square kilometers park making it Uganda’s 3rd largest national park. It is a true hidden gem with vast savanna grassland, Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers.
In the northwestern, Kidepo National Park boundary extends up to the international frontier with South Sudan and borders against its Kidepo Game Reserve having Kanatarok a lukewarm hot spring in the extreme north, beside the South Sudanese boundary is a permanent source of water in the park.
This park was established in 1962 to protect variety of its distinct wildlife species.
Wildlife species in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is home to about 77 species of mammals including leopards, kudus, buffalos, cheetah, elephants, giraffes, Oryx, bush baby, dik-dik, lesser kudus, zebras, lions, antelopes (Uganda Kobs, elands, hartebeests, bohor reedbuck, waterbuck), side striped jackals, warthogs, black backed jackals and many others.
Bird species in Kidepo Valley National Park
This national park also offers refuge to over 475 bird species including Yellow-ramped Seed eater, African Moustache and Broad-tailed Warblers, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-trumped Waxbillood, violet tipped courser, Ethiopian swallow, red pate cisticolas, ostriches, pygmy falcon, African grey flycatcher, super starlings, scarlet chested sunbird, and red winged lark.
There is also Abyssinian and rufous crowned rollers, white faced scoops owl, black headed plover, standard winged nightjars, black faded waxbill, fox kestrel, speckled fronted weavers, white billed buffalo weaver, singing bush lark, stone partridge, Northern white crowned and yellow billed shrikes eastern violet backed, white browed and chested crowned sparrow weavers to mention but a few.
Activities to do in Kidepo valley National Park.
Game drives are the best way to explore and experience the hidden treasures within Kidepo Valley National Park. It is best done in a 4×4 safari car and you can spend about 2-3 hours with a chance to spot out variety of savanna dwellers including bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, zebras, cheetah and hunting dog, bush pig, warthog, Rothschild giraffes, antelope families such as the eland, bush buck, bush duskier, Defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, Jackson’s hartebeest and Oribis; lions, spotted hyenas, leopards, Buffalo, elephants, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal.
Bird watching is a prime safari experience Kidepo Valley National Park prides itself on. It is second after Queen Elizabeth National Park with huge concentration of bird species.
The birds to look out for while on birding safari in Kidepo National Park include the Silver bird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike are frequently spotted around the thorny trees around the camp.
At the edge of the camp exists a small permanent water hole, that attracts swallows and a variety of seed eaters among which is the Yellow-rumped Seedeater.
Other bird species to identify include the mouse colored penduline tit, white browed and chestnut crowned sparrow weaver, African Moustache and Broad-tailed Warblers, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-trumped Waxbillood and many others.
You can also embark on hiking experience in Kidepo National Park which starts a few kilometers from the park Headquarters on Lamoj Mountains. The Kidepo river valley is dominated by Borassus palm forest.
Only 11km from Kidepo Valley is found in the Kanangorok hot springs that are worth exploring while on Uganda safari in this park.
The mountain and savannah landscape of the park, the Narus valley situated in the south west of the park (the rugged Napore-Nyagia mountain range forms its western boundary) are great attractions in Kidepo. It is separated by the Natira and Lokayot hills from the Kidepo Valley in the north-east.
The Lotukei Mountains in the south of Sudan mark north and the southern boundary of the park, marked by the Morungole range marks.
Enjoy the thrilling traditional and cultural dances while on cultural tour in Kidepo Valley National Park especially the Apiti dances, Emuya of the Nyangia and Naporre ethnic groups and explore the Karamojong homesteads locally called Manyattas.
The best way to get close to nature is by embarking on a guided nature walk at Apoka camp. There are many trails and circuits for you to embark on a nature walk in Kidepo National Park and reward you with astonishing sights at variety of wildlife species.
Best time to visit Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is an all year-round safari destination. The dry season is regarded as the best time to visit Kidepo National Park and it starts in the month of June to September and December to February.
This is characterized by low rainfall making it ideal for game drive. However, the wet season is also ideal for a safari in Kidepo National Park especially if you are interested in bird watching. The wet season starts from March to May and October to November.
Accommodation options at Kidepo Valley National Park
Visitors on safari in Kidepo National Park can spend a night at Apoka Safari Lodge (luxury), the Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp (mid-range) and Apoka Rest Camp and budget.
Getting to Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo National Park in reachable by road or by air. By road, you need a 4×4 drive safari car and you can spend about 12 hours to get to this park depending on the route you will take.
You can drive from Kampala to Soroti-Moroto road or Kampala to Lira to Kotido road which comes with breathtaking views of Labwor hills as well as the massive and bare Alerek (Kidi Rwot) rock about 55 km to Kotido.
By air, you can fly from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield to Apoka airstrip.