KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley National Park is a true wilderness paradise in Africa, rewarding travel endeavors with authentic African experiences. Kidepo National Park spans up to 1,442 square kilometers within the Karamoja region, northeast Uganda. It is isolated destination boasting of its hidden gem that is confined within its exceptionally extensive rugged savanna grassland, Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. The northwestern boundary of Kidepo Valley National Park stretches along the international frontier with South Sudan and borders against its Kidepo Game Reserve having Kanatarok a lukewarm hot spring in the extreme north of the park, beside the South Sudanese boundary which is the most permanent source of water in Kidepo Valley National Park. Kidepo National Park straddles between elevation of 914 and 2749 meters. It was founded in 1962 to offer refuge to its diverse wildlife species including more than 77 mammal species, 475 bird species and many more. On a game viewing tour in Kidepo National Park, you have opportunity to see the African leopards, kudus, buffalo, cheetah, elephants, giraffes, Oryx, bush baby, lions, Uganda Kobs and many others.
Kidepo National Park largely comprises of semi-arid scrub, thorn scrub, thorn bush, long and short grass open tree savannas and others.
Safari activities to do in Kidepo valley national park.
A game drive in Kidepo National Park gets you the best views of distinct wildlife species that thrive in this particular part of Africa. The notable wildlife species to spot out include the bat-eared fox, Rothschild giraffes, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, Defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, Jackson’s hartebeest, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog, elephants, bush pig, warthog, and Oribis: lions, leopards, Buffalo, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal. Besides, there are also 5primates for you sight at and they are found in the park- the Kavirondo bush baby being endemic. Oribis are abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s Dik-Dik. Senegal Galago can be spotted within the rest camp at night and the common White-tailed Mongoose but are more likely to be found on a night drive.
Kidepo National Park is one of Uganda’s most important birding areas. It gets you the best sights at bird species especially around the shallow, southern Narus Valley which inhabit numerous birds including the Silver bird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike mostly 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-ramped Seed eater. Other bird species to sight at include African Moustache and Broad-tailed Warblers, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-trumped Waxbillood and many others.
Kidepo national park is also ideal for hiking experiences. Your hikes begin few kilometers from the Park Headquarters on Lamoj Mountains. The Kidepo river valley is features mainly the Borassus palm forest. Only 11km from Kidepo Valley is found in the Kanangorok hot springs that is 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.
A cultural safari in Kidepo National Park is one way to make your Ugandan safari complete. In Kidepo National Park, it gets you the best of the traditional dances including Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia, ethnic groups and Larakaraka and Apitidances of the Acholi wait for you. Explore the unique culture of this remote tribe with the Lorukul Cultural Group, located just outside Kidepo Valley National Park. It also takes you through the Karamojong homesteads locally called manyattas that gets you the best of African experience. It allows you explore kraals to see traditional costumes, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows and arrows and jewelry being it the main local community inhabiting the Karamoja region and neighboring the park. They are some of the most remote people in Uganda and who have not been embraced with modernization.
The best way for you to discover the hidden treasures within Kidepo Valley National Park is by embarking on a nature walk around Apoka camp. This will reward you with astonishing sights at Elephant, Reedbuck and Buffalos. You will also find long trails and circuits which you can walk in the early morning to observe species at close range and enjoy the beautiful wilderness
Accommodation options Kidepo Valley National Park
The best accommodation options for visitor overnight stay at Kidepo National Park include Apoka Safari Lodge a luxury accommodation facility in this park, the Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp and Apoka Rest Camp which provide both mid-range and budget accommodations in Kidepo Valley National Park.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
There are many ways that you can get to Kidepo National Park. By road, you can drive through Soroti-Moroto road and you will be amazed by excellent views over the steep Alekilek volcano about midway Moroto and Soroti. The Lira-Kotido route, gets you the best scenic views of the Labwor hills and in particular the massive and bare Alerek (Kidi Rwot) rock about 55 km to Kotido.
In conclusion, for authentic African experiences, Kidepo Valley National Park should be a must to visit.