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Kidepo Valley National Park In Uganda

Kidepo, in Uganda’s northeastern Karamoja region, is a captivating region of semi-arid savanna, sporadic rivers, and low mountains. Kidepo Valley National Park covers 1,442 km2 of land. The valley floor is 914 metres above sea level, and Mount Morungole’s 2,750-meter peak dominates the horizon. Kidepo is Uganda’s most lonesome national park due to its remote location.

Kidepo Valley National Park is located around 700 kilometers from Kampala in the rough, semi-arid lowlands between Uganda’s borders with South Sudan in the north-west and about 5 kilometers from Kenya’s eastern border. It was declared a national park in 1962 and is now home to several large game animals and more than 77 different kinds of mammals. The common ostrich, secretary bird, northern carmine bee-eater, little green bee-eater, and Abyssinian scimitar bill are just a few of the more than 476 bird species that may be found. The Karamojong, a pastoral group resembling the Maasai of Kenya, live close to the park, as do the IK, a hunter-gatherer community whose future is in jeopardy.

Tourist attractions

Kidepo is Uganda’s third-largest national park. 77 different mammal species may be found at Kidepo, and there are many of possibilities to see game there. There are 20 different types of predators, including lion, leopard, and spotted hyena. Native to Kidepo in Uganda are the cheetah, aardwolf, caracal, black-backed jackal, and bat-eared fox. There are more than 50 Rothschild’s giraffes, over 650 elephants (increased from 200 in the middle of the 1990s), and over 10,000 buffalo.

The list now includes 470 different bird species. Not a single other national park in Uganda has 60 of these listed. Only at Kidepo can one find Clapperton’s francolins and rose-ringed parakeets in East Africa. There are 56 different raptor species, and the vultures in the area are prospering. In addition, bird aficionados may only see the majestic Common Ostrich in Kidepo in Uganda.

In the rainy season, the Kidepo and Narus rivers meander through the savannah landscape; in the dry season, they vanish, leaving only pools for the wildlife. The shorter red oat grass, the taller bunchy Guinea grass, and the fine thatching grass are the dominant grasses in the Narus Valley. Red thorn acacias, desert dates, and to a lesser extent drumstick trees are common trees in the arid regions. Along the waterways are the recognisable sausage trees and fan palms. There are also Euphorbia candelabrum, shorter monkey bread (or camel’s foot), and Buffalo thorn trees. Over 86 animal species, including the spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, giraffe, zebra, African buffalo, bat-eared foxes, and Rothschild’s giraffe, as well as almost 500 bird species, call River Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert.

Tourist activities in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda

Game drives in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda: The majority of drives use one of two 20-kilometer routes through the abundantly wildlife-filled Narus Valley. Large buffalo herds, thirsty elephants, and antelope are drawn to this area where a little amount of water persists even throughout the dry season. Predators are drawn to the area when herbivores gather, and you can see many beautiful animals. Less species may be seen in the drier Kidepo Valley, but it is nevertheless well worth seeing because of its untamed beauty. Use the Kanagorok hot springs, which are 30 kilometers north of Apoka. Travel gently, crossing the Kidepo River, which becomes a vast sand bank during the dry season. The ideal location for ostriches is here.

Nature Walks: The majority of the 2- to 3-hour-long hiking paths loop through the Narus Valley. Given that the small (5 km) radius makes it suitable for most tourists, the Narus Valley stroll is particularly well-liked. It provides you with plenty of opportunities to view a wide variety of magnificent mammals and birds against a breathtaking backdrop. In search of the Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, and Clapperton’s Francolin, which is only found in Kidepo, birders frequently scour the edges of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys.

Interacting with the Karamojong and Ik people: The Karamojong are pastoral nomads who inhabit parts of north-eastern Uganda, notably the vicinity of Kidepo National Park. Their lifestyles revolve around their animals, and the Karamojong are linked to the Maasai of Kenya. The Morungole Mountains’ summit is home to the lonely Ik people. The Ik are said to have come from Ethiopia before settling in the area of Kidepo. The unique language and culture of the Ik are under threat from contemporary civilisation and a declining population. One of the finest cultural experiences in Uganda is a visit to the Ik people. It introduces one to their long-standing customs, language, dances, songs, garb, and hunting techniques.

Special places to include in your visit:

Narus Valley in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda: The valley is made up of gently undulating savannah grassland and is encircled by hilly terrain. The Narus River may be found in the valley below. The only remaining sources of drinking water for the animals are the man-made Narus dam and tiny, muddy ponds during the warmest months of the year when this river dries up. The Narus valley is home to a variety of wild creatures, including buffalo, cheetahs, giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeest, leopards, lions, oribris, and reedbucks.

Kidepo Valley: In contrast to the Narus valley, there is very little water available here during the dry season. The majority of the river Kidepo dries up and exits the valley along a long white stand trial. Among the many bird species that live here are ostriches.

The Kanangorok Hot Springs are located on the border with South Sudan, after the Kidepo valley and river. Fantastic views of the mountain ranges can be had from the hot springs.

The park is bordered by the 2,750-meter-tall Morungule Mountains, which also serve as one of its borders. Visitors can walk around the area surrounding the mountains with the help of a park ranger.

In the northwest corner of the wildlife park is the Namamukweny Valley. In the Napore dialect, the word “Namamukweny” refers to a desolate area with few animals or birds. This is untrue with regard to birds. The Abyssinian Roller, Common Bulbul, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Green Wood Hoopoe, and White-crested Turaco are just a few of the species that thrive in this remote valley.

Lomej Hills: These hills are close to the park’s administrative center. The hills are great for spotting wildlife like the mountain reedbuck and watching birds.

Small primates like the Colobus Monkey, which thrives in its montane forests, are abundant on Lonyili Mountain. Between South Sudan’s border with Kitgum District in Uganda stands the mountain. Sadly, the roads leading up the mountain are not very well constructed. Before trekking the mountains, visitors require specific authorization and instructions.

Location and accessibility of Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda

International travelers can reach Kidepo most easily by air from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip on the Entebbe-Kampala Highway. One-way and round-trip tickets for flights from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Kidepo cost about $430 and $720, respectively.

Driving from Murchison Falls often takes 7 hours or less due to the paved route. Some travelers decide to take a break from the adventure by staying the night close to Sipi Falls. Kidepo is 571 kilometers away from Kampala. Few people choose the demanding 10-hour drive through Gulu and Kitgum from Kampala because it is a difficult route.

Accommodation in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda

Kidepo Savannah Lodge in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda: The Kalokudo Gate to Kidepo is 500 metres away from the straightforward yet cosy Kidepo Savannah Lodge. From a central dining area and bar, eight independent safari tents and nine tents that share an ablution block branch out. Visitors may enjoy stunning views of the Narus Valley and the mountains beyond from this location.

Apoka Safari Resort in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda: This opulent lodge was constructed in a place that gives inhabitants a distant view of the Narus River. Large beds, plush carpets, towels, and duvets are included in the rooms’ furnishings, which are constructed from local resources. Visitors are flown by the lodge’s small plane from Entebbe to the nearby airstrip.

Apoka Rest Camp in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda: Because the Uganda Wildlife Authority owns the resort, lodging costs are considerably lower here. The camp is made up of 16 self-contained chalets and 14 self-contained bandas. The bandas are made for travellers on a tight budget and offer few amenities. If you plan to stay in a banda, you must bring your own food and beverages. Campers must bring their own tents or pay to rent one from the staff.

Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda: Without sacrificing quality, Nga’Moru (the location of rocks) provides both moderately priced and inexpensive cabins (safari tents). The camp also has a fantastic view of the Narus Valley in the park, where wildlife can often be seen consuming food and water at the river Narus. Typically, a campfire is built in the evening to encourage socializing and to take in the stunning African night.