Kidepo Valley National Park
About Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park covers 1,442 kms in size, is among the most spectacular parks in Uganda, though Kidepo is not very accessible, as it is located in the North-East of the country, bordering Sudan and Kenya, in the Karamoja region. Kidepo Valley National Park is a wilderness park that is dry, hot and isolated but one with magnificent and virgin scenery. Kidepo Valley National Park is traversed by large sand rivers, Kidepo Valley National Park is renowned for its distinctive composition of wild game co-existing with the dry mountain forests open Savanna. Kidepo valley national park is isolated by wilderness dominated by the 2,750m mount morungole and transected by the kidepo and great Narus rivers.
Kidepo Valley National Park lies at an altitude range between 914M and 2,750M above sea level. This consideration, combined with the valleys open, Savanna habitat, makes it the park’s prime game viewing location. Indeed it is possible to sight a good variety of wildlife simply by scanning the valley with binoculars from the comfort of the Apoka lodge. It is much interesting to take a trip to Kidepo by use of surface road transport which provides en-route view drives and charter flights are booked from Entebbe-Kajjansi airstrip to reach Kidepo.
Kidepo Valley National Park receives perennial rains that make it an oasis in the semi-desert but its tract of rugged Savannah. The vegetation is dominated by an open Savannah, with dry mountain forest and acacia forest. The park hosts at least 77 mammal species (Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Warthogs) including many predators, like Black backed jackal, African hunting dog, Bat eared fox, Cheetah, Caracal, Lions, Leopards. There are 17 antelope species. The bird checklist is of 463 species recorded, including 56 raptors, like Pygmy Falcon, Ostriches’, Tawny eagle, Secretary bird, Vultures.
Kidepo Valley National park Offers an exciting game viewing all year a round and so is bird watching, nature walks and mountain hiking are just spectacular. it is worth the drive just to visit the seasonal Kidepo river and stroll along its wide bed of white sand between banks covered with Borassus palm trees. A number of game drive loops direct visitors to wildlife viewing locations in the Narus valley in the South West of the Park, mountain hiking, bird watching, camping, community visits and cultural performances participation. The itinerary to discover Africa’s hidden treasure in Kidepo Valley
Kidepo valley national park Game drives can be done along Narus valley as the park’s wildlife congregates here much of the year. This area has adequate track circuits enabling visitors view the animals at a close range. The Katurum Kopje provides superb views north across the valley towards Morungole Mountain range.
Kidepo valley national park nature walks can be done around Apoka Camp at any time of the day and visitors can view different species of animals like elephants, Bulbul, Zebras and reed bucks, At the eastern kakine circuit, visitors can see wildlife at close range of up to 50-70 meters. Nature walks can also be done along rionomoe trail and around this hill where one can view the parts of the Narus valley.
The Morungole ranges rise from the plains a few kilometers north of Apoka. A trip to kidepo valley is needed to get a good view of Morungole mountain, the highest peak in kidepo. This peak is not easily seen from most vantage points in the Narus valley. This can be explored on foot with a ranger guide escort.
Community walks are one of the ways you can get to know more about the karamajong lifestyle, cultures, dressing style, dancing and the tools used, the Karamajong are traditionally cattle raiders and hunters however, through community conservation education, their lifestyle is gradually changing and most of them now know the value of conservation of the park.
A visit to Sand a long river Kidepo
Kidepo valley national park contains a river that it’s flows are not continuous, sand river found in the northern part of the park. Due to its lined Borassus palms that make it look like an oasis in the Sahara, The sand bed experience on river Kidepo can be very fascinating especially during the dry season. Many bird species can be found around this area and one can enjoy the wilderness experience while listening to the different bird calls.
Bird watching in kidepo valley national park
Kidepo valley national park’s climatic conditions favors bird watching where this can either be done during morning or afternoon and the since kidepo has got a variety of birds. The experienced guides will show you around. As you take a clear view of different bird species that are being habituated with in Kidepo valley national park.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is more rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes difficult and 4WD vehicles are usually essential. There are four possible routes by road: routes via Mbale pass to the east of Lake Kyoga to reach northern Uganda; routes via Karuma pass to the west. Kampala- Karuma- Gulu- Kitgum-Kidepo = 571kms Kampala -Karuma- Lira – Kotido – Kidepo = 705kms Kampala – Mbale – Sironko – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 740kms Kampala – Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kidepo = 792kms
Visitors should note that the road mainly in use from Kotido to Kaabong passes via Kanawat not via Losilang as indicated on most maps. Enquire at Kotido. Prospective visitors should contact UWA Headquarters or Wild places (the Apoka lodge operator) to obtain up-to-date advice about road conditions and safety to identify the preferred choice of route. Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aero club, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority has plans to make Lomej, to the east of Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.
Accommodation facilities At Kidepo Valley National Park accommodation is provided at Apoka lodge, Ngamoru wilderness camp (Luxury) and Uganda wildlife authority Bandas luxury and mid-range respectively. There is an option of camping in the park.