Kidepo Valley National Park – A Hidden Gem
This is Uganda’s best wildlife safari destination. In 2013, CNN Travel voted Kidepo Valley National Park Africa’s third best safari destination after Kenya’s Masai Mara and Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana.
Today, the park scores highly as a wildlife safari destination due to its spectacular, wild, rugged and semi-arid landscape, some 500km from Kampala. Traversed by large sand rivers, the park is renowned for its distinctive composition of wildlife, profusion of big game and over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but those who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.
During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.
Kidepo Park at a Glance.
The park’s altitude ranges between 914m and 2,750m above sea level.
The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife.
The local communities around the park include pastoral Karimojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.
UGANDA SAFARI DESTINATION
A HIDDEN WILDLIFE GEM
Current Time in Kampala – Uganda
RECOMMENDED KIDEPO SAFARIS
A Kidepo Valley Safari can be arranged according to your wish. We can book a charter flight up to Kidepo Valley National Park from Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe International Airport or still we can arrange ground transport from Kampala to Kidepo.
Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park
Game Drives in the Kidepo Valley.
Experience authentic African Safari like no other along the Narus Valley where lions are often sighted resting atop many of the rock kopjes. Here, open grasslands are enclosed by distant mountains. The valley has permanent water and for much of the year the park’s wildlife congregates here enabling up close encounters of wildlife for tourists. This area is well provided with game tracks, with four loop circuits exploring the valley around Apoka.
Animal check list includes lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, zebra, oribi and reedbucks which can easily be seen in the valley. Less commonly seen are cheetahs and leopards. The Narus dam and the water hole near the Tourism Centre are perfect observation points for game, especially during the dry season. At the southern end of the Katurum loop and Katurum kopje is an attractive destination with superb views north across the valley towards the Morungule mountain range.
Can be done around Apoka at any time of the day and visitors will be able to view different species of animals like elephants, zebra and many bird species including flocks of wild ostriches.
Mount Morungole area which stands at 2,750m and is crossed by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers that nourish the park’s wildlife and this natural habitat can be explored on foot with a ranger. Hike to the Lomej Mountains, take leisurely walks through the Narus Valley and meet members of the endangered IK tribe, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with their unique culture and wander the splendid Kidepo River Valley between banks of borassus palm forest.
Birding in Kidepo Valley.
The park has a recorded bird population of about 475 species and is only second to Queen Elizabeth National Park in terms of bird species recorded. The park boasts of some bird species that cannot be found anywhere else in Uganda. These include some of the region’s rarest birds such as the black breasted Barbet and the Karamoja Apalis. Birding can also be done on the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valley inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller and Green Wood Hoopoe among others. It is located in the north-west of the park and can be accessed by car or on foot.
The Lomej Hills are a short drive from the headquarters is also a good viewing point for birds and wildlife, including the mountain reedbuck.