KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley National Park : Kidepo Valley National Park is one of most thrilling savanna national park that was first gazette in 1958 as a game reserve and later on in 1962 was declared a national park covering an area of 1,442 Square Kilometers under the management of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) the body responsible for management of all protected wildlife areas in Uganda the pearl of Africa. Kidepo Valley National Park thrill at an altitude ranging between 900M to 2,750M above the sea level.
The Park thrills with the best savanna vegetation though one of the least visited due to its remote location far in the Northern part of the country bordering with Kenya and South Sudan. However, tourists who get an opportunity of visiting it are really rewarded by the breath taking views of the park all by themselves watching several species of wildlife that thrill within this green vegetation of Kidepo valley national park that can easily be explored on a game drive, walking safari and many more to look out Buffaloes, Lions, Antelopes, Giraffes, Elephants, Wildebeests, Warthogs, serval cats, Jackals and many other animals that thrills within this beautiful park. The national park is as well one of the best places to visit for birding watching as it harbors a big population of bird species.
The distance from Kampala to Kidepo valley national park is long and in most cases is the reason why adventures on short Uganda safaris cannot manage to explore the beauty of this park since it requires a stopover for overnight either in Gulu or Kitgum before getting to the park and then proceeds the next and as well after trip, there is a need to stopover for overnight before returning to Kampala. Alternatively, one may choose to take a flight from Entebbe or Kajansi direct to Kidepo valley national park, a best way to have an aerial view before landing.
It is also possible to have a connection from the park to Murchison falls national park which is another adventurous savanna park in Uganda the pearl of Africa famous as a home to the world’s most powerful waterfall and abundant of wildlife species.
Let’s now have a look at the top things/ top tourist activities done in the park,
Game drive safaris in Kidepo valley national park: Most of the game drives done in the park are conducted within the Narus valley that thrills with the most population of the animals thus there is a lot to view within this Narus Valley. During the game drives, look out for different wildlife species including mammals like Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Hartebeests, Lions, Leopards and many other cats, primates like Baboons and many other species of birds among others that call this park their home.
A 4×4 safari vehicle with a pop-up roof is best for the game drive to avoid getting stuck. There are various game drives conducted within Kidepo valley national park including Morning, evening and even full day depending on the choice of the traveler. The park as well offers guided nocturnal game drive (night game drive) to enable one have a chance to spot the nocturnal mammals and night hunters.
Birding in Kidepo Valley National park: With the stunning vegetation cover, the park is not only good for game drives but as well a birder’s haven where an experienced birder is able to spot several species of birds at any given period of time be it morning, afternoon or evening for as long as one has a pair of Binoculars to enable them view clearly through the thick vegetation. The best birding spot in the national park is along the Namamukweny valley as well as along Narus Valley. Amongst the bird species to look out for include; Pygmy Falcon, purple heron, Egyptian Vulture, Verreaux’s eagle, Abyssinian ground hornbill and many more.
Picnic in Kidepo valley national park: Kidepo is one of the most beautiful parks in Uganda where one can enjoy a picnic along the river banks surrounded by the stunning palm trees giving you and your loved ones best moments of your lives as you watch several wildlife species and the entire beautiful flora of this wonderful destination in the pearl.
Hiking and guided nature walks in Kidepo Valley National park: This offers you a golden opportunity of explore the beauty of this park on foot. There is yet another fascinating hike to Mount Morungole to spend time with the IK people who are termed as the minority group of people that were displaced from their original land and pushed till they managed to settle at the top of the mountain.
Cultural and community tours: During this tour, travelers have an opportunity of meeting and interacting with the local community members in Karamoja region, interact with them and learn more about their standards of living. Take a visit to the Manyattas of the Karamojong, enjoy their local foods, local beers, and learn about cattle keeping and all procedures used in preservation of milk right from milking. You may as well take part in milking and cattle grazing and as well enjoy the breath taking performances of traditional dance and drama. Some travelers also find it more adventurous to sleep in the kraal.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National park
There are 2 ways of getting to the national park, that is by road and by air depending on how wishes to get there.
By road: Opting for a road transport from Kampala/ Entebbe to the park requires a full day drive thus most people choose to have a break for an overnight either in Kitgum or in Gulu.
By Air: There are both scheduled and chattered flights from Entebbe international airport to Kidepo Valley National Park headquarters or direct at the Lomej airstrip which is situated a few kilometers from the park headquarters where flights from Aero link can land.
Packing list/ what to pack for a Uganda safari to Kidepo Valley National park
- Appropriate clothes which should be light
- A camera
- A cap/ wide hat
- Insect repellent
- Binoculars for bird lovers
- Some snacks and enough drinking water
Where to stay/ Accommodation in Kidepo Valley National park
There are some accommodation facilities within the park where one can spend their nights while on an adventure in this beautiful and stunning park. Some of these accommodations include;
Apoka Safari Lodge which is one of the luxury lodges that thrill within Kidepo valley national park. So if you wish to visit the national park as a luxurious tourist then Apoka Safari Lodge is the best lodge for you. Apoka Safari lodge consists of 10 spacious rooms with private verandas for e
Apoka Rest Camp is yet another place to spend a night while on a Uganda safari to the national park. Apoka Rest Camp is a budget accommodation managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It consists of Cottages with in the wilderness where guest have an opportunity of viewing the wildlife even at the comfort of their camp.
There are yet several camping sites where one can either carry own camping equipment or hire from park officials.
There are other camping sites like Kakine Self-catering Campsite where tourists need to carry own camping equipment except for the tents.
However, for those who wish to spend their nights outside the park, there is Kidepo Savannah Lodge which is situated about 500M away from the park’s entrance and many other accommodations that will make your stay comfortable.