Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda
Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey 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.
During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.
Kidepo valley national park being isolated from the Ugandan mainstream by the harsh plains north of Mount Elgon, Kidepo is one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas, a tract of rugged savannah dominated by the 2,750 m mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Perennial water makes Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert, reflected in its 86 mammal species (28 occurring nowhere else in Uganda) and more than 500 bird species. Predators are well represented-not only lion, cheetah, and leopard, but also the delightful bat-eared fox and insectivorous hyena-like aardwolf with a long list of dry-country antelopes, including the regal greater kudu and Beisa Oryx. While game viewing can be excellent, it is the thrilling sense of supreme isolation that distinguishes this rare slice of wild Africa, as yet undiscovered by the mass safari market.
Size of Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometers (557 sq mi) national park in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the 2,750 meters (9,020 ft) Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers.
Location of Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National park is located near Karenga in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is approximately 220 kilometers (140 mi), by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region, and on the southern side of the national park lies the South Sudanese border neighboring Nimule game reserve.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
Eastern route through the Karamoja region
There are various entry points from the south via Mbale / Mt Elgon or Sipi Falls via Nakapiripiriti to Moroto and connecting with Kotido, Kaabong and Kidepo valley national park A longer route can be taken from Mbale / Mt Elgon to Soroti and via Iriiri to Moroto northwards.
Kampala-Mbale-Nakapiripirit-Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo (740km. 12 hours)
Kampala-Mbale-Soroti-Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo (792km, 13 hours)
The western route via Murchison Falls
When you prefer to take the western route to and from Kidepo Valley National Park, we recommend driving via Gulu and Kitgum. Common stops on this route are Murchison Falls National Park and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Kampala-Karuma-Gulu-Kitgum-Kidepo (581km, 11 hours)
Kampala-Karuma-Lira-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo (705km, 13 hours)
Things to do in Kidepo Valley National Park
Rewarding game drives, foot safaris across the Narus valley, and enjoying the isolated wilderness. Community walks to the Karamajong people who are traditional pastoralists with few linguistic or cultural affiliations to other East African groups.
Safari Game drives
Kidepo’s hill and open savannah landscape provide some of the most extraordinary landscape views with endless horizons with the huge population of African buffalo, lion s are usually seen climbing the rocks as they scan wildlife and this makes Kidepo one of the best places to see wildlife in the northern isolated territories of Uganda.
Walking safaris being one of Africa’s life-changing safari adventures, Kidepo is a unique national park where clients can walk on foot to see Africa’s big game including elephant, buffalo, and sometimes cats like lions can be seen however this walk is accompanied by a ranger who is armed with the famous AK 47 riffle.
Home to the Karamoja Apalis, Ostrich, Kidepo is a strategic paradise for birders as it houses some of the unique and uncommon bird species that are not seen in other parts of Uganda and this is unique due to its strategic location in the south Sudan-Kenya borders.
Kidepo is where Uganda’s undiscovered tribes are still living the Karamajong and the IK tribes are one of the best and yet unique humans of Uganda with a special and life-changing culture closely compared to the Masai people in Kenya.
Hiking / Nature walks
With the Numerous hills and mountains in the national park, the park is a unique place to hike, the IK tribe that one of Uganda’s new tribes only live in the mountainous terrains and the only way to visit them is to hike to see them
When to visit Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National park is open for tourism activities throughout the year. However, the best time to visit is September to March which perfects for game viewing. Animals gather at the Narus valley for water. This is the dry period too.
The worst time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park in April and May which are the wettest months in the area.
The best weather and the peak season months are September, October, November, and March.
The park is very hot and dusty from December to February.
Where to stay in Kidepo Valley National Park
Unlike a few years ago Kidepo now a few selections of accommodation facilities to choose from and this ranges from Luxury to budget accommodation facilities, the Apoka lodge situated in the center of the game viewing area is an upmarket lodge, Kidepo savannah lodge is a perfect mid-range lodge and the Uganda wildlife authority Bandas give you the perfect experience for the budget traveler.
THINGS TO DO
|Safari game drives|
|Hiking to see the IK tribe|
|Hot springs and Ostriches|
HOW TO GET THERE
|How to get to Kidepo valley national park|
|4 Days Kidepo wildlife safari|
|5 Days Kidepo fly-in safari|
|7 Days Kidepo and Eastern route|
WHEN TO GO
|Best time to visit Kidepo valley national park|
WHERE TO STAY
|Apoka safari Lodge|
|Kidepo Savannah Lodge|
|Adere safari Lodge|