kidepo valley national park-uganda
Kidepo Valley National Park is set in the North Eastern corner of Uganda in the Kaabong district which is situated on the border of Uganda and South Sudan. Kidepo Valley National Park is in an isolated and remote part of the country which encompasses the rugged Savannah, great valleys, and hills. Kidepo valley national park is surrounded by the Morungole Mountains. Kidepo valley was upgraded into a game reserve in 1958 by the colonial government due to the excess destruction of the vegetation and poaching by the Ik people and Dodoth since they were trying to control the high number of Tse Tse flies within Kidepo Valley National park. then four years later, Kidepo Valley National Park was turned into a national park in 1962 when Uganda got its independence.
Kidepo Valley national park offers two major valleys which are Narus valley and Kidepo valley. Each of these valleys has got a river with the same name the valley. The Narus river and Kidepo river dry off during the dry seasons leaving these animals to survive in the remaining small pools (oasis) within Kidepo valley national park, Kidepo valley national park lies in the semi-arid conditions which accommodate mountains, plains, savannah grasslands, and wildlife species combine to make Kidepo the best landscape. Kidepo is among the best national parks offering wildlife viewing due to the high concentration of wildlife gathering at every water single point.
CNN Travel also listed Kidepo valley National park among the 3 best attractive national parks worldwide. Kidepo valley national park offers a charming landscape and wildlife species. Kidepo Valley National Park protects over 76 mammal species and over 474 bird species) that makes Kidepo Valley national park the only park in Uganda where travelers can go and view the true African wilderness how it was before modernity. It is the only national park in Uganda offering the same as rival Kenya’s Maasai Mara or the Serengeti National park in Tanzania.
Kidepo Valley National park offers wildlife species that are not seen in any other national park in Uganda such as Maneless Zebras, cheetahs, oryx, ostrich, and wild dogs. Kidepo Valley National park's other unique animal species include aardwolf, cape buffalo, jackal, caracal, jackal, Klipspringer, African elephants, giraffe, leopards, hyena, bat-eared fox, and lions. Kidepo’s antelope species include Bushbuck, Johor, reedbuck, defassa waterbuck, bush duskier, eland, kudu, Jackson’s hartebeest, reedbuck, Oribi, and Uganda kob. Kidepo Valley national park is a true wilderness offering an amazing landscape and animal species, the question is – then the question is why does Kidepo Valley National Park receive fewer tourists than other Uganda’s tourist destinations? One reason could be already mentioned as its remoteness which may require more hours of driving to access the park for tourists who can’t afford the domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi.
Important places to note while on your safari in Kidepo Valley National Park?
Apoka Tourism Centre: Apoka tourism Centre was built strategically that overlooks the great Narus Valley. Apoka Tourism Centre is the hub for all activities within Kidepo valley National park. It is also the place where most of the (UWA) Uganda Wildlife Authority staff are stationed. A few lodges are constructed here and some are owned by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Most of the Uganda wildlife Authority's armed park rangers and guides are stationed at Apoka Tourism Centre ready to escort travelers to the hidden ends of Kidepo Valley National park for endless game drives and nature walks. Soft and hard drinks such as drinking water, sodas, alcohol, books, and other souvenirs can be bought from the parks’ craft shops. Tourists interested in planning to go camping and would wish to book cooking equipment can also do from here. There are Tour vans for hire as well. During the dry months, travelers can easily view animals from the Apoka Tourism center as they pass to go drink water at the Narus valley and dam.
The Narus Valley: The Narus valley is listed among the famous gathering section for wildlife species in Africa. The Narus valley is comprised of the savannah grassland that is surrounded by the rolling mountainous landscape. The Narus River is situated down in the valley. The Narus river always dries up during the dry months of the year leaving many animals to survive on small muddy ponds and the artificial Narus dam as the only drinking water points. Narus Valley harbors wild animals that can be spotted including cape buffaloes, giraffes, cheetahs, leopards, Jackson’s hartebeest, leopards, reedbucks, and oribis.
Kidepo Valley: The Kidepo valley is one of Uganda’s ideal places to view wildlife species in the park. Unlike in the Narus valley, where water sources are scarce in the dry months. Most of the Kidepo rivers dry out and leave the valley with a long trail full of white sand. There are many bird species that are endemic to this place including the ostriches and Kidepo valley is a worth visiting place for birders.
Kanangorok Hot Springs: These hot springs are perched past the Kidepo valley and river nest to the border with South Sudan. These Hot springs are a great spot for viewing the mountain ranges.
Morungule Mountains: Morungule mountains stand at 2,750 meters above sea level and act as one of the boundaries of the Kidepo Valley National park. Morungule mountains are where the Ik people live at the top of these Mountains. Morungule mountain's lower sector can be explored on foot with the help of the park‘s ranger.
Namamukweny Valley: The Namamukweny Valley is situated in the North-western sector of the game park. The name “Namamukweny” in the Napore dialect means a lonely place with fewer birds or people. Regarding birds, this is not far from the truth. Several unique bird species such as the Abyssinian Roller, the White-crested Turaco, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Common Bulbul, and Green Wood Hoopoe all thrive in this isolated valley.
Lomej Hills: These hills are situated just next to the park’s headquarters. Lomej hills are famous for bird watching and spotting beautiful animals such as the mountain reedbuck.
Lonyili Mountain: Lonyili Mountain harbors a great collection of small primate species such as the Colobus Monkeys that are surviving in the montane forests. Lonyili mountain lies within the border of Uganda (Kitgum District) and South Sudan. Although the roads that take tourists to the Lonyili mountain are not fully developed. Tourists interested in hiking Lonyili mountain may require special guidance and permission before hiking Lonyili mountain.
CNN Travel listed Kidepo Valley National Park among the top three national parks to be visited in Africa offering the true wilderness. Kidepo Valley National park lies in semi-arid conditions, with rolling mountains, and many hills making it a perfect place for photography. Kidepo Valley National park is relatively unspoiled, untouched, and virgin because it is visited by few tourists. Kidepo valley gives travelers the sense of being solo in an African wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park activities where tourists can engage while visiting the park include.
Game drives in Kidepo valley national park: Most of our tourists prefer the 4 days Safari to Kidepo Valley National Park aiming at spotting the unique animal species and carrying out wonderful popular tourist activities within the park. Game drives in Kidepo are not comparable to any other game drives in Uganda. This is because of the high concentrations of mammal species and bird species that come to feed themselves and drink water in the great valleys situated within the park. Although the main roads to the park are made of hard marram and are clearly passable throughout the year, most of the small roads that lead to all the remote areas are difficult to pass in the wet season. Travelers may require a sturdy four-wheel drive safari car to pass through most of the roads. For safety purposes, all travelers are accompanied by an armed Uganda Wildlife Authority park ranger during the game drives within Kidepo valley National park.
Nature Walks and Hikes in Kidepo: Nature walks and hikes are done on foot under the guidance of a professional Park ranger. Hiking to the Morungole Mountains is among the popular tourist activities in Kidepo valley national park. Take a walk and visit the dream lodge that the construction was started by Uganda’s famous dictator Idi Amin he died before completing it but it attracts some visitors.
Birdwatching in Kidepo Valley: Bird watching takes place in certain parts of Kidepo valley national park that are virgin and rarely visited, Kidepo valley has no complete count of the bird species seen in the park. Kidepo Valley National Park is famous for its resident bird species such as the Egyptian Vulture, Vigreux’s Eagle, and Pygmy Falcon. The above birds can only be located in Kidepo and other regions in Karamoja. The ostrich is Kidepo’s most prominent and largest bird species that can be located in Kidepo. In Uganda, the ostriches are huge birds that can only be spotted in Kidepo Valley National Park. The others can be seen in the Entebbe wildlife center.
Visit the Karamojong: The Karamojong are nomadic people who are surviving in the North Eastern part of Uganda and some parts around Kidepo National Park. The Karamojong people are kind off related to the Maasai people of Kenya and their lives are mostly centered around their animals. The Karamojong believe with strength that all the world’s cattle belong to them. Any cattle that are not in their custody are believed that been stolen from them in the past. Because of their belief, the Karamojong keep raiding their neighboring tribes searching for cattle, and once found they are taken back many cattle claiming that it belongs to them. A cultural visit to the Karamojong is an exceptional experience because the Karamojong is among the few tribes situated in Uganda. Visiting the Karamojong offers travelers a greater chance of experiencing the kind of life that most African tribes had centuries ago.
Visit the Ik People: The Ik people are surviving within the isolated life at the top of the Morungole Mountains. The Ik people were believed to have originated from Ethiopia before resettling within the Kidepo area. The Ik people have survived around Kidepo valley for many years even before the arrival of the Karamojong people. The constant fights between the Karamojong people and the Dodoth forced them to relocate to the mountain tops for easy survival. The Ik people have a distinct language and culture that is often threatened by modern civilization and the dwindling population. A cultural visit to the Ik people is among the best Uganda’s cultural encounter that helps travelers to discover the Ik peoples’ ancient traditions, language, songs, traditional dances, dressing code, and hunting methods.
Kidepo Valley National Park is located 521 kilometers from Kampala city by road. From Moroto town, the distance to Kidepo Valley National park is just 219 kilometers. The other convenient way to reach Kidepo Valley National Park by international visitors is to opt for domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi airstrip along with the Entebbe.
Uganda has two dry and wet seasons. Wildlife viewing is perfectly done in the dry months of December to March and from June to August. During the dry months, Kidepo and Nurus rivers dry up and leave animals to survive on other small oases as they gather in large numbers to drink water. These animals gather and provide the best opportunity for wildlife spotting and photography. The rainy seasons bring back these rivers and the animals tend to move searching for food to feed in smaller groups because they have plenty of food and water in most parts of the park. Although the dry season offers the best animal viewing points. The short rainy months provide a good view of the animal life species. Kidepo valley animals are joined by some migratory birds that making it one of the best times to go for bird watching. To have the best destination Uganda experience, we suggest you check out the 6 days Safari to Kidepo Valley and Murchison falls National Park.