KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley National Park is Africa’s true wilderness paradise. It is the remotest Uganda safari park offering a true feeling of authentic African experience to holidaymakers. Kidepo is well-known as “The long-lost Eden” and it is indeed a true Eden.
Set in the remotest Karamoja region, Kidepo Valley National Park should be a must-visit on Uganda safari. This vast savanna park is found in the extreme Northeastern part of Uganda, the pearl of Africa and it is surrounded by Kabong district which is the nearest to Uganda border with South Sudan and Kenya. It is one of a few most impressive wilderness places with exceptional landscape and this is what makes it a unique safari park of its own.
Kidepo is as old as Uganda’s independence. It was established in 1962 and occupies an extensive area of 1442sq.kms making it the third largest of the 10 parks in Uganda. The landscape is largely comprised of riparian woodland, semi-arid scrub, savanna grassland, mountains, open thorn bush, plains and generally, an exceptional destination. It is found at altitude range of 914m to 2749m.
Kidepo Valley National Park is teemed with interesting wildlife species worth exploring on Uganda safari holiday. It hosts an estimated population of 77 species of mammals and on your safari holiday, you can come across buffaloes, elephants, leopards, lions, cheetahs. Other interesting creatures in this park include antelope families (especially elands, reedbucks, duikers, Uganda Kobs, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribis), zebras, the Rothschild giraffes.
With an estimated population of about 475 bird species, Kidepo Valley National Park is remarkably a birder’s paradise. It is ranked to be the 3rd destination with numerous avifaunal species in Uganda, the pearl of Africa making it an interesting birding safari destination. On Uganda safari, expect to come across unique birds including black breasted barbet, Karamoja apalis.
Some of Kidepo’s interesting birding sites include Apoka Rest Camp and at the park’s headquarters which overviews the southern Narus Valley. Here, you can enjoy sight of diverse bird species ranging from the little weavers, ruppell’s superb starling, Nubian woodpecker, scarlet-chested sunbird, vinaceous dove to red cheeked cordon bleu.
At the edge of Apoka camp, you will come across amazing seed-eaters which include among others Clapperton’s francolin, broad tailed warblers, black coucal, yellow rumped seed-eaters, African moustached to mention but a few.
The park has endless number of birds, there are several of ostriches, fox kestrel, African swallow-tailed kite, Abyssinian ground, red winged lark, red billed oxpecker, speckled fronted weavers, pygmy falcon, violet tipped courser, African grey flycatcher, mouse colored penduline tit, Ethiopian swallow and many more.
While on wildlife safari in Kidepo, the amazing birding sites to explore are; Kanangorok hot springs, Narus valley, Apoka Tourism Centre, Mt. Morungole, Mt. Lonyili, Lomej hills, Namamukweny valley and many others.
Activities in Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP) Uganda
Game drives/wildlife viewing
Kidepo Valley National Park is popular for its exciting wildlife safaris. It is a beautiful savanna park to visit to get exposed to variety of the big game, antelopes, birds and a lot more. It is perfectly done in a 4WD vehicle with open rooftop for you to enjoy excellent views of species.
Bird watching in Kidepo involves identifying diversity of avifaunal species. Birders have variety to sight ranging from Karamoja apalis, Egyptian vultures, ostriches, rose-ringed parakeet, four banded sandgrouse, Ethiopian swallow, red billed oxpecker, speckled fronted weavers, white faced scoops owl and others. Be ready with your camera and binoculars then you will appreciate the birding experience in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Kidepo Valley National Park also never disappoints enthusiastic nature lovers. There is something for everyone and offers amazing on-foot-walk experiences. For memorable hiking adventures, don’t miss to explore Mt. Morungole which rises 2749m. Hike to top of this mountain and stand a chance to interact with the IK who dwell on its summits. Guided nature walks in Kidepo are also best enjoyed along Apoka camp area where you get exposed to diversity of birds, wildlife and the jaw-dropping landscape.
A cultural tour in Kidepo is what exposes you to Africa’s distinct cultures, traditions, practices and lifestyles. Around Kidepo, Karamojong and IK communities offer the best of authentic African cultural experiences. The Karamojong are renowned pastoralists and they have a similar lifestyle like the Maasai of Kenya. You will have a chance to enjoy the dances, music and explore their traditions, live in the manyatta and a lot more. The IK live on top of Mt. Morungole and to access them, you have to trek up to the summits 2749m.
Best time come to Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park can be visited at any time of the month or a year. But the dry season is considered to be the best for wildlife viewing and this comes in 2 phases; from December, January, February or September, October, November. The wet months begin in April, May, July to August.
Places to stay
Kidepo Valley National Park still has a few accommodation options and the available ones are budget, mid-range and luxury. They include Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp, Apoka Rest Camp, Apoka Safari Lodge and Kidepo Savanna Lodge.
Access to Kidepo Valley National Park
By road; Kidepo National Park is 521kms away from Kampala capital city and this is estimated to be 10-12 hours’ drive. The number of hours may vary depending on the route. Other routes include the Kampala-Gulu-Kitgum; Kampala-Mbale to Soroti then Moroto route.
By air; Apoka airstrip serves Kidepo Valley National Park and flights start from Entebbe airport or Kajjansi airfield Kampala.
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