Kidepo Valley National Park

This park covers an area of about 1,442 square kilometers and it is situated in the Karamoja region in the extreme northeastern Uganda. It is Africa’s renowned hidden gem, featuring mainly the rugged savanna grassland, Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. It is accessible within 220 kilometers drive northwest of Moroto, the largest town in this sub-region. Its northwestern boundary stretches along the international frontier with South Sudan and borders against its Kidepo Game Reserve having Kanatarok a lukewarm hot spring in the extreme north of the park, beside the South Sudanese boundary which is the most permanent source of water in the park.
This park straddles at borders with Sudan and Kenya about 700km from Kampala capital city. It was established in 1962 to offer refuge to its diverse wildlife species including over 77 mammal species, 475 bird species most of which can be best explored while you are on safari in Uganda. They include leopards, kudus, buffalo, cheetah, elephants, giraffes, Oryx, bush baby, lions, Uganda Kobs and many others.

What to do in Kidepo valley national park.
Wildlife viewing

A visit to Kidepo National Park never goes without exploring its diverse wildlife. The notable wildlife species for you to catch a glimpse at while on Uganda safari in Kidepo Valley National Park include among others the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog, elephants, bush pig, warthog, Rothschild giraffes, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, Defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, Jackson’s hartebeest and Oribis: lions, leopards, Buffalo, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal. Besides, there are also 5primates for you sight at and they are found in the park- the Kavirondo bush baby being endemic. Oribis are abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s Dik-Dik. Senegal Galago can be spotted within 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. You have high chances of viewing tree climbing lions that always sits on the rock just as you enter the Apoka Park Headquarter or sit on sauces trees along Narus valley.

If you are good at hiking adventures, Kidepo valley is remarkably hikers’ paradise. Hikes in this park kick start just a few kilometers from the Park Headquarters on Lamoj Mountains. The Kidepo river valley is dominated by Borassus palm forest. Only 11km from Kidepo Valley is found in the Kanangorok hot springs that is worth exploring while on Uganda safari in this park.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.

Bird watching
Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s one significant birding site that rewards birders with variety of bird sights. The best bird spots in this park include the Apoka Rest Camp and park headquarters that over view the shallow, southern Narus Valley. The Silver bird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike are among the stunning species that frequent the thorny trees around the camp. At the edge of the camp exists a small permanent water hole, that attracts swallows and a variety of seed eaters among which is the Yellow-ramped Seed eater. Other bird species to sight at include African Moustache and Broad-tailed Warblers, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-trumped Waxbillood and many others.

Community encounter
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 Apitidances of the Acholi wait for you. The money that this group earns is used for uplifting their welfare. The cattle-herding Karamojong occupy the north-east of Uganda, in an area covering one tenth of the country. Discover the unique culture of this remote tribe with the Lorukul Cultural Group, located just outside Kidepo Valley National Park.
Your knowledge on African culture can be increased by a visit to the Karamojong homesteads locally called Manyattas and probably kraals to see traditional costumes, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows and arrows and jewelry being it the main local community inhabiting the Karamoja region and neighboring the park. They are some of the most remote people in Uganda and who have not been embraced with modernization. The Karamojong culture and way of life is as undisturbed and Kidepo’s wilderness. Set out for a visit to enjoy their unique cultures, traditional houses called manyatta and their setting of homesteads, traditional dances, traditional handcraft stools, spears and hand bungles from

Nature walks
Nature walks can be done around Apoka camp at any time of the day and visitors are able to observe a number of animals such as Elephant, Reedbuck and Buffalos. There also long trails and circuits which visitors can walk in the early morning to observe species at close range and enjoy the beautiful wilderness. Following the Soroti-Moroto road you will be enthralled by the view of the steep Alekilek volcano about midway Moroto 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.

Sand-bed experience
The sand bed experience during the dry season on river Kidepo is a very fascinating involvement. One can enjoy the wilderness experience while listening to different bird calls. River Kidepo is an intermittent sand river found in the northern part of the park. It stands out because it is lined by Borassus palms that make it appear like an oasis in the Sahara. Many bird species can be found around this area.

Where to stay in Kidepo Valley National Park
To make your safari complete while you are on safari in Kidepo Valley National Park, the available accommodation options for your overnight stay include the Apoka Safari Lodge a luxury accommodation facility in this park, the Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp and Apoka Rest Camp which provide both mid-range and budget accommodations in Kidepo Valley National Park.

How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo National Park can be reached by road and by air. By road, you need a 4 wheel drive safari vehicle to help you navigate through Uganda’s remotest routes to Eastern side which may take you nearly the whole day on road. You can drive via Kampala-Gulu-Kitgum. Or take a flight from Entebbe airport/Kajjansi airfield and land in at Kidepo airstrip.