Kidepo National Park is one of the best national parks in the whole of Africa and it offers the best and the most exciting Wildlife Safaris in Uganda. Many tourists that visit this park comment on the scenery and often promise and do come back to re-visit Kidepo, for according to them this tour cant not be any better anywhere.
As a mysterious Uganda safari tour destination, squeezed into the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo National Park offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes that end into a rugged horizon. It has a wide latitudinal range that gives off a wide range of climatic conditions that have evolved extremely diverse vegetation. In effect this has enabled the growth of a variety of animal species in the park that are equally abundant including many not found anywhere else in Uganda.
Kidepo Valley National Park is also one of the best spots for bird watching safaris in Uganda. There are over 475 species of birds some of which are among the rarest and most sought after such as Karamoja Apallis and the Black-breasted Barbet.
Things to do in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo National Park has proven a life time memory to great birders, internationally due to her endless list of unique birds she has to offer. At Apoka Rest Camp and park headquarters overlooking the shallow, southern Narus Valley offers a good spot for your Kidepo birding tour. The Silverbird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike are among the attractive species that frequent the thorny trees around the camp. Along the normally dry stream bed adjacent to the camp, along the track to Amok lodge in the rank grass, duel the African Moustached and Broad-tailed Warblers, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbillood and on a good may be seen.
Game Viewing in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo National Park has more diversity of animal species than other parks. In 1971, 80 species of mammals were listed 28 of which were not known to occur in any other Ugandan park. Among the Carnivore species unique to Kidepo and only Karamoja region include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog. Kidepo suffered the with poarchers during the Amin era and is still recovering from years of poaching that left some game herds depleted. Striped Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant’s Gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and are presumed to be locally extinct. Elephant, burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, rothschild giraffe, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, jackson’s hartbeest and oribi are some of the other large game herds as well as: lion, common zebra, leopard, Buffalo,several small cats,Kangoni, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal-commonly seen. Five species of primate are found in the park- the Kavirondo bush baby being en-demic. Oribis is abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s Dik Dik. Senegal Galago may be found in the rest camp at night and the common White-tailed Mongoose but are more likely to be found on a night drive. Kidepo also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna.
Hiking / Scenery viewing in Kidepo National Park
Hiking is usually carried out a few kilometers from the Park Headquarters on Lamoj Mountains. The magnificent Kidepo river valley dominated by Borassus palm forest, can be viewed by interested visitors.
The mountain and savannah landscape of the park, the Narus valley situated in the south west of the park (the rugged Napore-Nyagia mountain range forms its western boundary) are great attractions in Kidepo. It is separated by the Natira and Lokayot hills from the Kidepo Valley in the north-east. The Lotukei mountains in the south of Sudan mark north and the southern boundary of the park, marked by the Morungole range marks.
A visit to the Kidepo river picnic site located on the sand, plus the sound of palm leaves in constant motion as blown by the wind is a great ingredient to your Kidepo Uganda tour .
The local community has a group of cultural entertainers who on request are always available to perform. The performers have a large menu for you, traditional dances such as the Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia, ethnic groups and Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi are a waiting for you. The money that this group earns is used for uplifting their welfare.
Nature Walks/Bush in Kidepo Valley National Park
Your knowledge on African culture can be increased by a visit to the Karimajong homesteads locally called manyattas and probably kraals to see traditional costumes, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows and arrows and jewelry. If interested, one can buy Some of the Karimajong traditional items from the park tourist office. Please note that it’s advisable to make arrangements for the nature walk two days in advance.Booking can be done from the park headquarters in Apoka or from Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters in Kampala.
If one follows the Soroti-Moroto road you will be enthralled by the view of the steep Alekilek volcano about midway Moroti and Soroti. And if you take the Lira-Kotido road, expect to enjoy the scenery of the Labwor hills and in particular the massive and bare Alerek (Kidi Rwot) rock about 55 km to Kotido.
Where to stay in Kidepo National Park
An up market option is readily available Apoka Lodge majestically located inside the park. This luxury lodge in the middle of Kidepo National Park with spacious rooms, attractive interior decor and a private veranda. Each room has an en-suite bathroom and a toilet. A restaurant and swimming pool are available as well.
Nga’Moru Camp is also available just at the edge of Kidepo Valley National park as a mid range facility. At the park itself, the privately owned Apoka Rest Uganda Safaris Camp overlooking the Narus Valley has 16 self-contained chalets / rooms for $75 per person per night with full board. There is also a hostel comprising of 14 bandas each with two beds; these bandas are not self contained. Apoka Lodge and the bandas are managed by the park authorities, and reservations are made through Uganda Wildlife Authority Headquarters in Kampala.
If you like camping, the park has two ‘Do it yourself’ campsites, but you must bring your tent and other camping equipment. There is also Kakine Campsite located a short distance from Apoka and costs $ 5 per person per night. It has fresh drinking water and a long drop toilet and firewood will be brought to you.
Getting to Kidepo Valley National Park
Driving to Kidepo National Park is more rewarding as vast parts of Karamoja are scenic and total wilderness. But road conditions are some times difficult to navigate and 4-wheel drive vehicles (4WD) are recommended. Please note that the road mainly in use from Kotido to Kabong passes via Kanawauat.
If you intend to travel by road please contact Uganda Wildlife Authority headquarters to seek advice about conditions and safety on the roads at that time.
By Air. Scheduled flights are available operated by Aero Link Uganda to the Park Headquarters. Flights to Kidepo National park takes on every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday departing 1230 arriving at 1445.