Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is the most unknown and yet most rewarding savannah game reserver in Uganda. It is located in the northeastern Ugandan corner border with South Sudan and Kenya, about 600 Kilometres from Kampala, the Capital of the Pearl of Africa.
The park is essentially a savannah grassland of about 1,442 gazetted square metres, yet the savannah grassland extends far beyond the gazetted park area. The savannah landscape is stunningly located in a valley drained by two water systems, Kidepo and Narus rivers. It extends towards horizons delineated by distant mountain ranges, which give amazing views.
The usual inhabitants of Kidepo Valley National Park are Cape Buffaloes, Giraffes, Antelopes, Elephants, Bush Duikers, Zebras, Jackals, and Lions. Cheetahs and Leopards are often spotted lounging on the savannah plain, and the park exhibits various birdlife species of interest to birdwatchers.
The rivers in Kidepo are seasonal and usually dry out during the dry seasons leaving behind only water holes, an oasis for wild animals. The Narus valley is the only place that can hold water throughout the year, and this makes it the richest place for game viewing in the park all year round as animals always dwell in this valley for water.
While here, look out for buffaloes and Hippos in the swamps while other animals can always be seen around.
For the best game drive experience, set out at 6 am or 4 pm for a game drive with your ranger to the Narus valley for an optimal game drive experience, and you will be amazed.
Kidepo Valley and the Surroundings
Nearer to the Apoka tourism centre are anthills where lions are usually spotted resting on the top. The dry sandbanks of the Kidepo river in the Kidepo Valley covered by Borassus palms are an important area and a must-visit in the park. Because natives would visit this place to gather fallen Borassus fruits, they named it ‘Pick From Below’, which translate to Kidepo.
Eleven kilometres away from the valley bordering Southern Sudan, you will find the Kanangarok Hot Springs, a magnificent place to view mountains beyond the frontiers.
The Namukweny Valley is a birding paradise in Kidepo with many bird species, including the White-crested Turaco, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Abyssinian Roller, Green Wood Hoopoe, Common Bulbul and many other species.
Culture and Communities
The Kidepo Valley National Park is located in the Northeastern part of Uganda, occupied by the cattle keeping Karamojong. The Savannah vegetation in this region aids the pastoral Karamojong in looking after their herds. Just outside the park is the Lorukol Cultural Group, whose visit will help you discover the unique culture of the remote Karamojong tribe.
The Ik Tribe
The Ik people, with their unique cultures, live in the Morungule mountains. The Morungule mountains rise from the plains a few kilometres northeast of Apoka and highlight the southern Kidepo park boundary.
A 4-hour hike to the Morungule mountains is a rewarding adventure that will help you discover and experience the Ik tribe’s people, a marginalised and endangered tribe with their own Unique Culture!
Although Ik people share the region with the Karamojong people, they are very different from the Karamojong. The Ik are fruit gatherers and not pastoralists as their counterparts, and they also speak a language different from the Karamojong.
When to Visit Kidepo
Kidepo area receives an average annual rainfall of 800mm per annum, with April and November being the usual wettest months while July to August is the hottest months. It is best to visit during the dry seasons as animals are usually confined near water points, especially in the Narus Valley, and game viewing is best then.
Yet, in the rainy periods, animals scatter away from the valley, moving up to dry grounds where it is difficult to see many animals with limited access to some areas.
How To Get to Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is located about 600 kilometres, a 10-hour drive away from Kampala, the Capital. There is not yet an established public transport along this route; our expert safari driver guides will do an excellent job getting you there in our safari vehicles.
The most common accessible routes are through the Kampala – Gulu highway Via Kitgum and to Kidepo or the eastern route, via Kobong, Kotido, Abim and Soroti.
Along the Gulu road, you have a chance to connect to Murchison Falls National Park. At the same time, the eastern route allows you to connect with Pian-Upe game reserve and Mount Elgon national park for extended experiences.
Commercial scheduled or private Charter Flights are available from Entebbe airport to Kidepo Airport in the Park operated by Aerolink Uganda. No need to worry about booking a ticket and ground transfers as we shall take care of this while planning your safari. Below is the usual timetable of the commercial flights;
|Entebbe||Kidepo||12 30||14 45|
|Kidepo||Entebbe||15 00||16 30|
Accommodation in Kidepo
Are you planning to visit this amazing national park? The most isolated Uganda’s game park and the most magnificent, ranking among Africa’s finest wildlife destinations? We will help you find the most appealing accommodation in this area.
- Apoka Rest Camp; at the Apoka tourist hub lies the Apoka Bandas by Uganda Wildlife Authority. The rest Camp is a low-cost accommodation facility in the park, mainly appealing to budget travellers.
- Apoka Safari Lodge, built on Concession by Wild places Africa, is a Luxurious Accommodation Facility in the Kidepo Valley Park. With ten rooms built with natural canvas comfort in considerations, rooms are big enough with private verandas. A swimming pool is available for you to deep and cool as you relax.
- Kidepo Savanah Lodge; located on the edge of the park only 500m away from Kalokudo gate, the lodge is inspired by the Savannah grassland and rocky surroundings. Kidepo Savannah Lodge boasts twelve canvas safari tents on raised decks. Each tent is furnished and spacious enough with a private veranda offering stunning views of the excellent savannah park and the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Ngamoru Camp; is another mid-range accommodation facility in the Kidepo valley. The camp is located outside the park boundaries near Katarum gate.
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