Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park, located in the northeastern corner of Uganda and bordering Kenya and South Sudan, is one of the country’s most stunning and inaccessible parks. The park has an area of 1,442 square kilometers with an elevation range of 914m to 2750m. Kidepo Valley has scenery that is not found in any other East African park. The park has a semi-arid climate with only one rainy season each year, from April to September.
The park features two rivers, Narus River and Kidepo River, both of which are seasonal. As a result, during the dry season, the only water in the park is in the marshes and residual ponds in the Narus valley. During the dry season, walk along the Kidepo River and enjoy its 50m bed of white sand between banks covered with borassus palm trees. During the rainy season, you will be amazed to see heavily running rivers, such a unique landscape, and a ‘beach’ during the dry season.
Only Queen Elizabeth National Park has more biodiversity than Kidepo, Uganda’s third largest national park.
Kidepo National Park is home to 77 animal species and provides excellent possibilities for game viewing. There are 20 predator species available, including lions, leopards, and spotted hyenas.
Kidepo in Uganda is home to the black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, cheetah, and caracal. The elephant population has increased to about 650 (from 200 in the mid-1990s), the buffalo population is believed to be over 10,000, and there are over 50 Rothschild’s giraffes, a globally significant population.
Zebra graze on the grasslands, and both greater and smaller kudu prowl the dense undergrowth. Adventurers who are lucky enough may even spot a white-eared kob, which is more prevalent in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
There are now 470 bird species on the list. There are 60 of them in no other Ugandan national park. The sole population of Clapperton’s francolin and rose-ringed parakeet in East Africa is found in Kidepo. There are 56 raptor species in the park, and the vultures are prospering. Kidepo is also the only spot in Uganda where birdwatchers may see the majestic Common Ostrich.
The main activity is going on game drives in quest of unusual animals and vegetation. The ideal times to see wildlife are early in the morning around 6 a.m. and later in the evening at 5 p.m. Because the Narus valley contains water most of the year, many animals concentrate here, making sightings easy. Examine the animals in the meadows from all angles. Visit the Katurum kopje, which offers spectacular views of the valley surroundings.
All of the mountains in and around Karamoja can be walked, although the Lamoj mountains are the most popular. It takes around 4 hours to hike and should be done early in the morning before the heat rises.Nature hikes are offered and last 2 hours (Narus valley from Apoka tourism center), covering a distance of 5km. The lovely environment of Namamukweny Valley may be reached in 6 hours.
Kidepo Valley National Park is a great place to go bird watching. The park currently has 465 bird species recorded. Begin in the Apoka rest camp and work your way to the outskirts of the Narus and Namamukweny valleys. Because the park is savannah, it is easier to identify birds as you walk through it. Birding is best in the morning or evening, although one may spend the full day in the park with a packed lunch. Clapperton’s Francolin, Purple Heron, Karamoja Apalis, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Abyssinian Roller, Eurasian Roller, Helmeted Guinea fowl, and various birds of prey are among the species of interest.
The Karimajong and Ik tribes have rich civilizations in the Karamoja area. The Ik tribe is one of Uganda’s most remote tribes, residing on top of Morungole Mountain. To see this endangered people group, you must endure a rigorous all-day walk. They are mostly peaceful hunter-gatherers who have retired to the highlands to avoid the cattle-raiding tribes.
A tour to the Karimajong homesteads will provide you a look into their pastoral lifestyles, as well as the opportunity to indulge in the meal, dance, and purchase goods like as knives, arrows, jewelry, and stools.
The travel from Kampala is long but enjoyable since it passes through various greenery and tribal territories.
Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kidepo – Kampala OR Mbale – Sironko – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo – Kampala OR Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo – Kampala
You may also fly from Entebbe to Kidepo on a scheduled or chartered flight.
- Kidepo is open all year round. Yet, its overall climate differs from that of the rest of Uganda. While June was once considered a dry month, it is now widely acknowledged that a protracted rainy season will last from April until the end of November. This is not an eight-month deluge, but rain can be expected on most days.During December through March, the dry season lasts. Heat surge during this period, frequently hitting 40 ° C.. Because the park’s sandy soils cannot hold water and become parched between the middle and end of the dry season (November to February), there are more possibilities of seeing animals.The restricted quantity of water supplies throughout these months drives animals to gather near dependable water holes, boosting the odds of sightings. This is also the greatest time of year to view cheetahs hunting on the short grass plains. Animals, on the other hand, are more challenging to see during the rainy season (April to August) because they leave the lowlands for higher territory, where discoveries are less common.