Kidepo Valley National Park

March 15, 2022
News Journeys Uganda

If you are looking for an authentic African wildlife safari, not tampered by the mass tourists flow, then Kidepo valley National Park is the place to be. It is located in Northeastern Uganda, around the jagged semi-arid Karamoja region, at the boarder of Uganda Kenya and Sudan.   Kidepo valley National Park is considered the most remote and the least visited national park in Uganda. The virgin Kidepo valley National was gazetted in 1962 and is bisected by the seasonal naurus and Kidepo river that disappear in the dry season leaving just muddy pools for the animals. The Park is approximately 557 sq miles making it the third largest national park in Uganda with a notable and undisturbed eco-systems that is home to over 77mamal species as well as an amazing 475 bird species.

While in the Kidepo Valley National Park, there are great views of Mount Morungole and spectacular wildlife views of lions, leopards, buffaloes, cheetahs, elephants the list is endless. These two rivers along with the rugged mountain views are the magic of the park as they expose you to great wildlife encounters which just, invite any travellers on Uganda safari to give it a try.

Though within the arid areas of North Eastern Uganda, perpetual and untimely rains make Kidepo a desert ice. The untouched savannas harbor wide range of wildlife for anyone under taking a safari in Uganda with over 80 species of mammal most of which are only recorded in this area of all the Uganda parks and other protected areas

 

What to see

The Narus valley starts from the mountain Morungole and crisscrosses the Kidepo valley National Park plains onto the South Sudan boarder in the north. The ever-green grassland present water hole throughout the year makes it a great habitat for the   herbivores. The valley is mostly scattered with grassland vegetation, thorny acacias, sausage trees, dessert dates among others accounting for the beautiful vegetation cover that also doubles as food for the inhabitants of this place. The Narus River occasionally floods in the rainy season at the bottom of the valley.  This makes it a perfect place for a game drive, animals gather here because of the constant water in spite of the dessert conditions. There are further clear game tracks that make it easy to traverse the park and giving you the true African wilderness experience.

 

Wildlife

Kidepo valley National Park is not called the true wilderness experience without reason the abundance of wildlife is unimaginable from the wide range of predators that include lions, leopards, cheetahs, to the herbivores the Uganda Kob, buffaloes., over 10 antelope species, bat eared fox among others. The Kidepo valley National Park is guaranteed to give you spectacular wildlife views accounting for 4 of the Africa’s big five and a large number of wildcats with species that may only be found in Kidepo valley National Park and no other park in Uganda.

The culture: Kidepo is rich in culture and people. The surrounding communities comprising of the Pastoral Karamojong similar to the Masai of Kenya offer an experience of their cattle keeping lifestyle and their dance. Also come in touch with the smallest and nearly extinct Ik hunter and gatherer community in Morungole Mountain.

The bird life in Kidepo Valley National is spectacular. The park has the second highest population of bird species after Queen Elizabeth National Park with a notable bird list of over 470 species. Among these are birds that are not recorded in other reserves in Uganda. While birding in Uganda, in Kidepo valley National Park you may encounter the Orange River and Ring-necked Francolin, Brown-rumped bunting, Jameson’s Firefinch, Red-and-Yellow Barbet, Quail plover, Karamoja Apalis, Black-faced Firefinch, Cut-throat Finch, Red-billed and Jackson’s Hornbill, Brown-backed woodpecker, Emin’s shrike, Heuglin’s wheatear, the gigantic Black-breasted Barbet, Familiar Chat, the brightly coloured  Purple Grenadier, Orange and Red-winged Pytilia, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Swallow-tailed kite, White-fronted Black-chat, Black-headed Plover, Three-streaked Tchagra, Yellow-spotted Petronia, White-bellied Tit, Heuglin’s Courser, Rufous Chatterer, Pygmy Sunbird, White-crested Turaco, Mocking, Cliff-chat, Kori, Long-billed Crombec, White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards, Boran, Foxy, Red-pate and Wing-snapping Cisticola, Four-banded Sand Grouse among other you just may even catch a never before recorded bird as well as migratory birds that are commonly present around November to April.

The Morungole Mountains are equally great attraction inside Kidepo valley National Park in the rugged semi-arid Karamoja region close to the south sudan boarder. The volcanic mountains form part of the spectacular views of the Kidepo valley national Park, and rises to a height of over 9000 feet. It is also the home of Uganda’s most threatened tribe the iks.  Nearby peaks include zulia, labwor and dodoth.

Kanangorok hot springs in the Kidepo valley lies this beauty close to the South Sudan boarder. It is approximately an hour’s drive from apoka. creep the hot springs creep up from underneath the hard rocks trough the cracks at about 50 degrees Celsius. The locals in areas have their own tale as to how the hot springs Came into existence. however, geography also has its own explanation. However, whatever it is we enjoy these beautiful springs today

 

What to do

Game drive

Typical Uganda safari cannot be complete without a game dive in the Kidepo valley National Park. It our only chance t take on this virgin semi-arid safari experience. As you drive through the naurus and Kidepo valley on a morning or evening game drive you may encounter lions, black baked and side stripped jacal, elephants, the greater and lesser kudu, buffalo, zebras, jackals, warthogs, bat eared fox among others and the sunset or sunrise is magnificent against the jagged mountain backdrops.

 

Bird Watching/walks

A burgeoning list of birds recorded make the park among the best for a birding safari including the Ostrich which is a highly sought after on many people doing birding safaris to Uganda and perhaps the whole of Africa, other bird species which are rarities to this area include the Clapperton’s Francolins, Red and Yellow Barbet, Swallow-tailed Kite, Pygmy Falcon, Red Footed Falcon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Yellow-necked Spurfowl among others

 

Cultural encounters and hikes

Hiking the mountain Morungole mountain takes you to the threatened tribe of the ik, another hike takes you to the lomeji mountain hunters and gatherers.  Hiking and nature walks are also top activities to do in Kidepo Valley National Park. Another walk will take you to the Lomej Mountains and there are also other shorter trails throughout the park

 

When to go

Arguably Kidepo valley national park is good to visit all year-round whether for birding safari or for wildlife safari.  However, for the best wildlife views the dry season and towards the end of it is a good time when animals come out to seek dependable water sources that’s normally November through to February. In the wet season the animals seek out higher grounds make it hard to locate them. For a birding safari, March to April is a perfect time whereas the migratory birds are mostly around from November to April.

 

How to get there

The best way and most advisable way to get to Kidepo Valley National Park by flight there are scheduled and chartered flights available to is by a scheduled or chartered flight to the park. However, you can also drive to Kidepo valley National form Entebbe or Kampala. The most direct route, is through Gulu all the way to Lokumoit Gate, this could possibly takes approximately 10 hours. However you can choose to stopover at Zziwa rhino sanctuary for a rhino trekking experience and also overnight. Other overnight experiences include Murchison falls National park with and overnight at the beautiful chobe safari lodge or in Kitgum or Gulu before finally making it to the park.  The alternative route goes through the Karamoja sub region through to Nataba Gate.

What to bring

  • It would be wise to carry sunscreen to protect yourself from the hot tropical heat especially if you are travelling in the dry season.
  • An insect repellant is a very good idea to ward off insects
  • Lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Long sleeved, and trousers that are light are good recommendation as well as safari or hiking shoes and a wide rim hat
  • A camera is a great idea to catch some memories
  • Binoculars and if you can especially for the birders a telescope.

 

Where to stay

Unlike before where accommodation in this area was an issue, today there are a number of accommodation facilities that have come up and travellers have a wide range of accommodation facilities to choose from  including but not limited to Kidepo savanna lodge, Apoka safari lodge, Apoka rest camp , Adere safari lodge, Nga’moru wilderness camp.

To sum it up Game viewing, bird watching, foot safaris and mountain climbing are among the key activates that can excitingly be taken all year round, as Journeys Uganda, the professional tourism guide we look forward to having you and creating unforgettable memories of wildlife views on your next Uganda safari. The game drive safaris are worth the drive just to visit the seasonal Kidepo River and leisurely walk along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with magnificent borassus palm trees. We also bring you closer to the cultures of the people living in this area, THE KARIMOJONGS! Come share and learn about these people among the only animists in Uganda. If you are planning a safari to Africa, we advise you put Kidepo valley among the top destinations. Journeys Uganda dares you and having it in mind that the WORLDS REMOTE AREAS ARE GREAT HOMES TO RARE AND THREATENED WILDLIFE SPP! Let’s embrace them and conserve together.

 

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