Kidepo valley National park is one of the virgin and less explored protected areas in Uganda. Remotely located in Karamoja region in the far Northeastern part of the country. The park covers 1,445 square kilometers in size. The park was gazetted in 1962 as a national park, its one of the famous national parks that gives guests the best of wildlife safari in their natural environment. The park is dominated by the rugged open savannah grassland. Its more flat at the center of the park while hilly at the border as you approach Morungole mountain. The Narus River and Kidepo river are the two rivers that transect the park. They are the main source of water both to the community members and the wildlife. Kidepo valley national park. The climatic condition in the area is semi-arid dominated by valleys. During the rainy season the valleys are the water catchment area for animals.
Location Kidepo valley National park
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey of your safari worth it. Found in the north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. Depending which route the guest can take to reach the park. If using the Northern route via Murchison falls it covers 571 kilometers and if using the Eastern route via Mbale Kapchorwa Nakapiripirit it takes 700 kilometers.
Animals and Bird species
However much the park is far from the capital city, its enriched with nature. The park hosts over 77 mammal species and over 475 bird species. This is all attributed to the untapped environment which is ever free and conducive for the animals. Kidepo park is dominated by the big cats especially lions, leopards, cheetahs, janet cats and others. Other animals found at the park include: Buffaloes, Elephants, kobs, Antelopes, giraffes, waterbucks, bush duskier, Jackson’s hartbeest, eland, warthogs, zebras, Beisa Oryx and many more. Bird lists is endless to mention few are: Ostriches, Hoopoe, White-bellied Tit, Marsh Tchagra, Yellow billed shrike, little green bee-eater, Karamoja Apalis, Mosque swallow, Nubian woodpecker,Long-tailed nightjars and many others.
Game drive at this park is one of the memorable moments that gives the guests lifetime experience. Its always advisable to move with the park ranger if one wants to spot more wildlife during the game drive. The park hosts a wide range of animals especially the African big cats those are: Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Serval cats and many others. These are all hard to spot if the driver guide is not experienced and well vast with the park. Other game that can be spotted during your game viewing activity include: Elephants, Buffaloes, bush pig, bushbuck, jackals, Duiker, Zebras, Giraffes and many others. Enjoy early morning game drives or evening game drives on the open plains of savannah. The game drives at the park can last for 2 to 5 hours depending on the guests. The game drives are done in Narus Valley which is one of the famous destinations for spotting animals. Its the only park place where there are permanent water points. This makes more animals concentrate on the area at most times due to availability of freshwater. The other area where game drives are done is along the Kidepo Valley Drive which is one hours drive to the Kanangorok Hot Springs. The scenery drive takes you through short savannah grassland and magnificent landscapes in the area.
Apoka Rest Camp is a starting point for birding in Kidepo Valley national park. You will spot a ide range of bird species. There are over 475 bird species at Kidepo Valley National Park with a majority of the bird species being permanent residents. The birding safaris are done throughout the year though the best time is during the rainy season when the birds are breeding. Birding is best done around the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys. Some of the birds that can be seen include: Abyssinian Roller, Abyssinian Ground Honbill, Purple Heron, Clapperton’s Francolin, Ostriches, Hoopoe, White-bellied Tit, Marsh Tchagra, Yellow billed shrike, little green bee-eater, Karamoja Apalis, Mosque swallow, Nubian woodpecker,Long-tailed nightjars and many others.
Hiking and Nature walks
Kidepo valley national park is located and surrounded by mountains and hills. This has given the park a great scenic views. Hiking and nature walks are some of the remarkable activities that can be done at this park. Hiking is done to Lomej Mountains and Morungole Mountains passing through the Narus Valley. The hike does not need any hiking experience though some fitness level is required for you to successfully complete it. The guided nature walks are done 5 kilometers radius from the Apoka Tourism Center. The walk can take 2 to 4 hours wnem walking on foot with the lead of the park game ranger who is armed for protection. You can also visit the Kidepo River to see the Borassus palm forest.
Community Cultural tours
Your Kidepo valley national park at most is rendered incomplete if you donot take time and visit the local communities around the park. This region hosts the unique African culture that have never been changed however much modernization and western culture has swept Africa. The IK Clan where people still walk naked is organised clan with a leader. They used to fear any person who goes there and the worst was to see white man. But now they are friendly though their culture has never been changed. Spend time with them as you enjoy watching their cultural dances. We will also visit the Lorokul Cultural group that are found just outside the park.