Kidepo National Park is Africa’s true wilderness paradise also popular as the long-lost Eden and truly an End it is! It is still a virgin safari destination offering tourists on Uganda safari with a true feeling of authentic wilderness experience.
Kidepo Valley National Park is perched on extreme North-Eastern Uganda, Karamoja region-Kabong district. It is found adjacent to Uganda border with South-Sudan and Kenya. Unlike most Uganda safari parks, Kidepo lies within the rugged, semi-arid valleys of Karamoja area and stands out as the remotest protected area. It is known for its magical savannas and exceptional landscape.
Kidepo Valley National Park has existed since Uganda gained her independence in 1962 and it is the country’s third biggest national park. It occupies an estimate of 1442sq.kms of land, largely characterized of savannas, thorn bush, semi-arid scrub, riparian woodland. It lies at elevation of 914 and 2749m.
Species of wildlife in Kidepo
Kidepo Valley National Park is endowed with over 77 species of mammals. On Uganda safari, there is possibility to get exposed to African bush elephants, leopards, Rothschild giraffes, lions, roan antelopes, Burchells zebras, elands, Jackson’s hartebeests, duikers, water bucks, oribis, oryx, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs, Senegal galago, mongoose, Kavirondo bush baby.
Species of birds
Over 475 bird species have been recorded in Kidepo Valley National Park making it a birder’s paradise of its own. It inhabits several unique and the most sought-after avifaunal species in East Africa especially black breasted barbet, Karamoja apalis.
Different points expose tourists to diverse birdlife. At Apoka Rest Camp, visitors overview the Southern Narus Valleys. The birds to excite you here range from ruppell’s superb, scarlet-chested sunbird, Nubian woodpecker, little weaver, red cheeked cordon-bleu, vinaceous dove, Nubian woodpecker.
Kidepo Valley National Park also protects other interesting birds including fox kestrel, pygmy falcon, ostriches, African swallow-tailed kite, white-faced scoops owl, Abyssinian ground, red billed oxpecker, nightjars, brown rumped bunting, rose-ringed parakeet, African grey flycatcher, eastern pale chanting goshawk.
Places of tourist interest in Kidepo Valley National Park
A visit to Kidepo isn’t complete without exploring the following sites; the Narus Valley plus Apoka Tourist Centre. These are magical areas to spot the hartebeest, buffaloes, cheetahs, reedbucks, leopards. Kidepo Valley most ideal for birders or wildlife viewing; Mt Morungole that rises up-to 2750m; Lomej Hills, Mt Lonyili, Namamukweny Valley.
Activities in Kidepo
Game drives/wildlife viewing
There is no better place in East Africa to experience authentic African wilderness experience than Kidepo. This park is best explored on game drive using a full-size 4×4 Land Cruiser or Safari Van and preferably on 5 days Kidepo wildlife tour. Tourists can have a full-day exploration on a game drive in Kidepo with opportunity to see zebras, lions, leopards, antelopes, cheetahs, Rothschild giraffes, elephants, buffaloes and a lot more.
Kidepo Valley National Park is an outstanding birding tour destination with over 475 bird species. There is a chance to identify resident birds of prey especially pygmy falcon, Egyptian vulture, verreaux’s eagles plus others such as Abyssinian ground, red billed oxpecker, speckle-fronted weavers, African grey flycatcher, rose-ringed parakeet, violet tipped courser, African mustache, ostriches.
Kidepo is also credited for its remarkable on-foot experiences. Tourists can embark on a hike to Mt Morungole at 2750m and interact with IK people who live on its top. The guided nature walks are perfectly done along with Apoka Camp and you get exposed to the park’s birds, wildlife and enjoy the jaw-dropping landscape.
Safaris to Kidepo Valley National Park are perfectly done together with cultural tours to Karamojong communities or IK. It is an area to enjoy an authentic African cultural experience. You discover the actual lifestyle of Karamojong-the famous nomadic pastoralists whose way of life is the same as that of the Masai in Kenya.
Best time to visit Kidepo
Kidepo Valley National Park is an all-year-round Uganda tourist destination. But the dry season is notably the best for tourists to visit this protected area. This is recorded around December, January, February, September, October, November. During these months, the Narus and Kidepo Rivers dry up and small oases are left thus attracting a huge concentration of wildlife. The wet or rainy season is mostly registered in April, May, July, August.
Accommodation choices in and around Kidepo National Park
On Uganda safari in Kidepo Valley National Park, you can choose to stay in a basic/budget, mid-range/moderate to luxury/up-market. They include Apoka Safari Lodge-luxury accommodation, Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp-budget, and mid-range, Apoka Rest Camp a budget and mid-range lodge establishment within Kidepo Valley National Park; Kidepo Savanna Lodge-a luxury hospitality facility.
How to access Kidepo National Park on a wildlife tour
By road: Kidepo Valley National Park is 521kms off Kampala capital city, taking you 10-12 hours’ drive. You can also travel from Kampala-Lira-Kotido to Kidepo; drive the Kampala-Mbale-Soroti-Moroto route to Kidepo in the Northeast. Or drive from Moroto to Kidepo 219kms away or take the Kampala through Gulu and Kitgum route.
By air: flight services exist from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airfield up to Apoka airstrip.
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