Kidepo Valley National PARK
Kidepo valley is one of Uganda’s treasured national park, endowed with enormous abundant wildlife currently hosts over 75 species of mammals and 470 species of birds. It is the true definition of true wilderness however it remains undiscovered by many. Kidepo Valley National Park is perched in northeastern Uganda in Karamoja region, was gazette in 1962 covering a distance of 1,442 square kilometers and dominated by the 2,750 meters Mount Morungole. It is transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. The name Kidepo came from the Dodoth verb akidep, meaning ‘to pick up’ hence the park name.
Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s most remote park however those who choose this destination are overwhelmed with what it has to offer.
Some of the animals found in this park include: lion and elephant Herds of up 1,000 buffalo Cheetah caracal, aardwolf, greater and lesser kudu, side-stripped jackal, spotted hyena, Burchell’s Zebras, Giraffes, Carcal, Beisa Oryx, Grant’s gazelle, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox, mountain reedbuck, warthogs, Guenther’s dik-dik just to mention but a few.
Kidepo is also a high profile birding spot in Uganda with quite a number of unique birds some are endemic. Ostrich, Abyssinian roller, Abyssinian scimitarbill ,Black-breasted barbet, Chestnut weaver,D’Arnaud’s barbet, Fox kestrel, Golden pipit, Greater kestrel, Jackson’s hornbill, Karamoja apalis ,Northern carmine bee-eater, Purple grenadier, Pygmy falcon, Red-throated bee-eater, Kori bustard, dark chanting gashawk, little bee-eater, red and yellow barbet, Rose-ringed parakeet, Rufous chatterer and White-bellied go-away bird
Activities that are done in Kidepo include:
Safari Game drives
This the top activity done around the park in the savannah plains, the game drives are divided into three sessions; morning, evening or night. In all these sessions you will be able to see the animals and birds, however during the morning game drive you have a chance to catch up with the early risers like ; lions, cheetah, spotted hyenas as they search their prey. While on an evening game drive you will see plenty of wildlife as they graze in the Savannah plains like; greater and lesser kudu, side-stripped jackal, Burchell’s Zebras, Giraffes, Carcal, Beisa Oryx, Grant’s gazelle, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox, mountain reed buck, warthogs, Guenther’s dik-dik just to mention but a few. You can also see some birds such as; Kori bustard, dark chanting gashawk, little bee-eater, red and yellow barbet, Rose-ringed parakeet, Rufous chatterer and White-bellied go-away bird
As earlier mentioned the park is also a birding destination which hosts endemic and migratory birds. Birding is best done in the morning as the birds leave their nests and evening as they return. Some of the birds species include: Black-breasted barbet, Chestnut weaver,D’Arnaud’s barbet, Fox kestrel, Golden pipit, Greater kestrel, Jackson’s hornbill, Karamoja apalis ,Northern carmine bee-eater, Purple grenadier, Pygmy falcon, Red-throated bee-eater, Kori bustard, dark chanting gashawk, little bee-eater, red and yellow barbet, Rose-ringed parakeet, Rufous chatterer and White-bellied go-away bird
The park is reach in culture, the Karamojong have a unique culture it is an ethnic group of agro-pastoral herders living mainly in the north-east of Uganda, The Tepethe are one of the ethnic minority groups in the region they are believed to have been the first to people to occupy the northern part of the park, and they are currently living along and around the slopes of mount MOROTO and the IK are an ethnic group living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda near the border with Kenya, next to the more populous Karamojong and Turkana peoples.
Hiking /Nature walks activities
While in Kidepo Valley National Park hiking may be conducted on Lamoj Mountains only a couple of kilometers from the Headquarters of the Park, mt. Moroto, Mt Lamoj and Mt. Morungule. These are the highest points in the park which give you an aerial view of Kidepo as you watch some animals down in the Savannah grassland as they loiter around.
The park can be accessed using road and air transport. By road using northern route it is approximately 570 km (9 hours) from Kampala the capital city to the park headquarters through Kampala- Gulu highway and the eastern route Kampala – Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo approximately 792km (13 hours). Both routes have a lot to offer you during the journey. The northern routern route has a stopover at ZZiwa Rhino sanctuary, R. Kafu, Murchison Falls National park, Gulu town while the eastern has source of the Nile, Mabira forest, Mountain Elgon ranges, Sipi falls, Nyero Rock paintings.
The park can also be reached using air transport; this is highly recommended to those that can not manage long road distance. Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority plans to make Lomej airstrip near Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.
The park has 1 high end, moderate and budget accommodation facilities. Some of the common one are:
Apoka Safari lodge is the only luxury safari lodge inside the park, overlooking the Narus river valley this gives a clear definite view of wildlife in the savannah plains just in your comfortable facility. It has a good ambience with spacious rooms, delicious international and local dishes.
Kidepo Savannah lodge is a mid-range facility with pleasant safari tents overlooking appealing savannah and rocks. It is situated at the end of Kidepo Valley National Park away from Kalokudo gate.
Kidepo Safari Lodge is an eco-friendly midrange facility with grass thatched-roof cottages all built from natural materials ideally blending in the environment. The lodge offers affordable services, delicious continental and local meals and comfortable rooms.
Nga’moru wilderness tented camp found on the hill, bordering the park only 4 km from the Katarum Gate. This camp is strategically located providing spectacular views of the impressive Narus Valley as well as the savannah plains extending up to the Morungole Mountains. It also has Comfortable accommodation provided in either the Safari Tents under thatch or in our Cabanas not forgetting the delicious meals.