Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s major national parks and it’s the largest savanna woodland game park in the country. It’s situated in the North Eastern part of the country in Kaabong district. It is a home to a diversified number of wildlife species including the big five; lions, leopards, elephants, and buffaloes which leaves many referring to it as “The true African Wilderness”. A visit to Kidepo Valley National park feels you with the real atmosphere of the African jungle / wilderness. Kidepo Valley national park is found within the semiarid area of the country with an oasis giving room to green vegetation thus attracting and sustaining large numbers of wildlife with the herbivores. Despite its isolation and limited access, Kidepo Valley National park is known for its exclusive and extraordinary wildlife and cultural experiences.
Major Tourist Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park
The Various Wildlife Species
Kidepo Valley National park is indeed a true African Wilderness as it’s concentrated with a large number of wildlife species which include cape buffaloes, lions, zebras, gazelles, hyenas, cheetahs, crocodiles, wild dogs and others that usually come from southern Sudan and go back after some time, elephants, jackals, giraffes, hartebeests plus a number of bird species that include barbets, vultures, eagles etc. Its habitats can best be seen from around the Narus Valley the only Oasis in the region as they drink on its waters while the predator lions and hyenas too stay within this location for easy access to their prey.
It’s therefore no surprise that the best game drives in Uganda can be enjoyed from Kidepo Valley National park.
The Morungole Mountain
Kideo Valley is another haven within Uganda, the national park in addition to its diversified wildlife concentration, is also the Morungole Mountain. This mountain is well known for its mountain climbing and hiking opportunities that it offers its visitors. Hiking the Morungole Mountain provides great views of the surrounding environments and those interested in mountain climbing / hiking, shouldn’t worry as there are always armed game rangers looking out to the visitors’ protection in the wilderness.
This is the one place in Kaabong district that holds water throughout the year (both in the dry and wet season) of the district. It is a swampy area with several water pools along the Narus River. Many of the wild beasts in Kidepo valley National park flock the Narus valley on daily basis for refreshments (drinking water and even washing up on the hot days) as a matter of fact, tourists can never miss viewing their favorites once at the Kidepo Valley National park. The Narus valley is a known home for the Nile crocodiles.
Tourist Activities at the Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo valley national park offers the best game drives in Uganda with the best views from the Narus Valley. This is the case as many of its wild beasts like the cheetah, elephants, leopards, lions, buffalos etc. flock this area in search for water especially in the dry seasons. The game drives are done following the driving trails that are usually followed / used by tourists to view the various wildlife species in the park.
The Kidepo Valley National park is also known for great birding. It is a home to various interesting bird species and therefore recorded as one of Uganda’s renowned birding destinations. If visiting Kidepo valley for bird watching, tourists are advised to carry along their pair of binoculars so as to capture the best sights of the birds and there are also the well trained birding guides who usually provide you with the best birding information and experience.
The community visits are usually taken from the Karamojong community. This a one rare tribe of Uganda found in the northern region of the country. The Karamojong is a group of people that have persistently held onto their traditional, social norms and values as well as practices. They are mainly nomadic pastoralists who’s lives’ survival is dependent on their animals(cattle). They also have unique dress codes and cultural practices. Due to their unique ways of living, the karamojongs offer great entertainment to tourists such as the traditional musical performances. They are a special group that any visitor to the northern part of the country should include in their list of programs. It is a very interesting group of people to visit.
Best Time To Visit
Kidepo Valley National parklike many tourist destinations in Uganda, can be visited anytime throughout the year with the dry seasons of July – August most preferable. This is so since during the dry season, many of the wildlife gather at the Narus valley for water and refreshments and it’s at this point where best game viewing experiences are obtained.
Where To Stay
Visitors to Kidepo Valley national park shouldn’t worry much about where to stay when visiting this park. There are some accommodation facilities in the national park that offer great services to their guests such as ; Apoka safari lodge that offers luxury services, Kidepo safari lodge, and Apoka rest camp for budget tourists.
Kidepo Valley National park is a remote park in the remote Uganda; it’s about 720 kilometers away from Kampala. It can be reached by both road and air transport means.
By road transport, it takes about 10 hours of driving plus and usually visitors to this bewildered park, use two days of travelling and one night stop over before reaching their destination.
When using air transport, it usually takes 2 hours from either Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi air strip to Lomej airstrip.
What To Carry
The national park is found in the semiarid area of the country. It’s therefore hot, dusty and widely spread. So tourists are required to always carry a pair of sunglasses for protection from the dust and too much sunshine, sunscreen creams and lotions, a hat/ cap , light shirt and pair of jeans and a light sweater for the nights.