Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda Wildlife Safari Tour Destination
Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda is set in the remotely rugged and Semi-arid valleys of Karamoja region Northeastern Uganda along the border with South Sudan, about 10-12 hours’ drive from Kampala capital city. It was designated as a game reserve in 1958 and became a national park in 1962. Its remote location in the extreme Northeast makes it the wilderness haven of Africa.
Kidepo Valley National Park sits in an area of 1442sq.km, comprising largely of the vast savanna grassland, mountains, valleys and diverse wildlife which make it an exceptional safari destination to explore on Uganda safari. This park was listed by CNN Travel among the three top national parks to visit in Africa. For authentic and wilderness African experiences, Kidepo Valley National Park should be a must-visit park on Uganda safari.
Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park
Diversity in wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park is what makes it an exceptional safari destination to visit on Uganda safari. On Uganda wildlife safari, the wildlife species to keep your eye on include among others include the Cape buffaloes, elephants, lions, leopards, the Rothschild giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, warthogs, aardwolf, bush pigs, antelopes like bushbucks, defassa waterbuck, boho reed back, Jackson’s hartebeest, oribis, elands; spotted hyenas, black-backed and side-stripped jackals. Most of these wildlife species can be spotted on Uganda safari in Narus Valley of Kidepo Valley.
Birdlife in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is home to over 475 bird species and given the huge concentration of birdlife, this park is remarkably one of the best birding spots to visit on Uganda safari. Birding in Kidepo National Park involves you identifying distinct bird species including the African swallow-tailed kite, ostriches, Nubian woodpecker, Ruppel’s and Superb starling, little weaver, red-cheeked cordon bleu, yellow-billed shrike, broad-tailed warblers, Clapperton’s francolin, Vinaceous doves, white-bellied go-away bird, white-faced scoops owl, black-headed plover, yellow-necked spurfowl, eastern pale chanting goshawk, pygmy falcon, white-bellied tit, mouse-colored penduline tit, red-winged lark, red-fronted barbet, little green bee-eater and the African grey flycatcher to mention but a few. Birders on a safari in Kidepo Valley National Park can best identify most of these avifaunal species along Apoka Rest Camp or Kidepo Valley National Park headquarters.
Other attractions/places to visit in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park features a unique vegetation as well as two scenic valleys; Kidepo and Narus. The Kidepo and Narus Rivers are Season Rivers-during the dry season, they dry up and most wildlife confine in fewer small pools for drinking water. The Narus Valley is one of Kidepo’s iconic points when it comes to game viewing in Kidepo National Park.
It features the vast savanna grassland and exceptional mountain landscape. Beneath the Narus is the Narus River which dries during the dry season and because of its strategic location to Narus Dams which is the only source of water for most wildlife species, it rewards visitors with breathtaking sights over huge concentration of wildlife species including giraffes, buffaloes, cheetahs, lions, leopards and many more. Kidepo Valley is also ideal for visitors interested in diverse bird species.
Morungole Mountain is 2750m tall and serves as a border area for Kidepo Valley National Park. This magical mountain also serves as a home to the IK people, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda who live on its summit. Mt. Morungule is an ideal place for hiking.
Kanangorok hot springs
On a trip to Kidepo Valley National Park, one should expect to explore not only wildlife but also the beautiful Kanangorok hot springs. The hot springs are about 50⁰C and can boil an egg. One may also have an optional visit to Lomej hills close to Kidepo Valle National Park headquarters.
Lonyili Mountain an ideal place for one to spot most of the colobus monkeys and Namamukweny valley in the northwestern side of the park. Namamukweny valley is a home for distinct birds such as the greenwood hoopoe, white-crested turacos, common bulbul, and Abyssinian roller.
Activities to do in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is known for its exceptional game viewing experiences, a reason visitors on Uganda safari consider it a must-visit. Game drives in this park are best conducted in a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle with a pop-up roof. Visitors can choose either the day game drives or night game drives. Day game drives allow you to see wildlife species like African bush elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, birds, cheetahs, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes and many more.
Bird watching in Kidepo Valley National Park allows one to identify variety of bird species including the white-faced scoops owl, black-headed plover, yellow-necked spurfowl, eastern pale chanting goshawk, African swallow-tailed kite, ostriches, Nubian woodpecker, Ruppel’s and Superb starling, little weaver, red-cheeked cordon bleu, yellow-billed shrike, broad-tailed warblers, Clapperton’s francolin, Vinaceous doves, pygmy falcon, white-bellied tit, mouse-colored penduline tit, red-winged lark, red-fronted barbet, little green bee-eater, African grey flycatcher, white-bellied go-away bird.
Hiking in Kidepo Valley National Park is best conducted on Mount Lamoj, Morungole Mountain. Hikers are accompanied by a well-trained park ranger guide.
Visit the Ik and Karamojong
Cultural safaris in Kidepo Valley National Park offer visitors a chance to interact with the IK or Karamojong people in their communities. The cultural experience here involves one exploring more about the unique traditions, cultures, dances and music performances of the Karamojong and IK.
Best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park
Visitors on a Ugandan safari can visit Kidepo Valley National Park at any time of the year. However, the dry season is the best to visit this park for game viewing. The dry months in Kidepo Valley National Park begin in June, July, August and December, January, February, early March.
Accommodation in Kidepo Valley National Park
The accommodation facilities to stay in while on a safari in Kidepo Valley National Park include Apoka Lodge (Luxury), Apoka Rest Camp (Budget and Mid-range) and Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp.
Getting to Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is reachable either by road or by air. Visitors who start their journey from Kampala can spend about 10-12 hours driving via Gulu and Kitgum. By air, there are flight services starting from Entebbe International Airport or from Kajjansi airfield to Lomej airstrip.