Kidepo Valley National Park can be found in north east part of Uganda, it borders Kenya and Sudan covering 1442 square km. It has wonderful scenery characterized by savannah and mount landscape. It has 475 Bird species these include, carnivores birds like, the Egyptian Vulture, Pigmy Falcon, 4 species of Hornbill, Red bill, Yellow bill and many others. There are 77 species of Mammals recorded which include: the Bat eared Fox, Strait Hyena, Ungulates like Bush Elephant and others.
Uganda Safari top activities that can be done in Kidepo are visiting the Kanagorok hot Springs, hiking Mount Morungule, birding and game drives, hiking and nature walks.
Kidepo national park is located in the Northeastern corner of Uganda that lies at 1,442 square kilometers of rugged savannah. The park is over 520 km by road from Kampala the capital city of Uganda. The northwest part of the park borders Bira village in South Sudan which runs the international frontier. Kidepo valley national park is near Karenga Town in the Kaabong District and it’s the most isolated park in Uganda with one of the best virgin places when it comes to wildlife. Dont forget to put Kidepo on your Uganda Rwanda Safaris itinerary list.
Brief History about Kidepo Valley National Park
In 1800, the area of the park was owned by Ketebo/Mening then later on in 1958, Kidepo national park was gazetted as a game reserve by the British Colonial Government to be a game reserve. The Ketebo people were dragged out of the area by the British Colonial Government because they wanted to protect the animals from being hunted. They were migrated to the nearby places of Bira village in South Sudan which were cited by the park management.
In 1962, when Uganda as a country was getting its independence, the game reserve was also turned into Kidepo National Park by the former president of Uganda the Late Milton Obote. In 1972, a Ugandan man called Paul Ssali replaced a Briton chief warden who was called Ian Ross. The American documentary film called “the wild and the brave” was a subject matter in their handover and training.
How to get to Kidepo National Park
For any Uganda Rwanda safari visitor willing to undertake a great safari to Kidepo Valley National park, it is crucial to know the different means of transportation to Kidepo national park Uganda. There are two available options to chose from and they are very well explained below:
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park by Road:
It is approximately 571 kilometers from Kampala to Kidepo Valley National Park by road via Jinja to Mbale, from Mbale to Soroti, from Soroti to Moroto, from Moroto to Kotido Town, from there it’s only a few kilometers to reach the park. The journey will take roughly 12-15 hours of drive. This includes a few stopovers for relaxation in one of Top Uganda Safari Tourist Towns, lunch and sightseeing.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park by Air:
When it comes to traveling by air, the park got you sorted because there is always a direct Airplane called Aerolink Uganda Limited that flies from Entebbe International Airport or Kajansi Airfield to the Kidepo Airport or Apoka airstrip. These flights are usually organized every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday every week. The plane sets off from Entebbe airport or Kajansi airfield at exactly 12:30 pm and it arrives at Kidepo at 2:45 pm and it sets off from Kidepo at 3:00 pm and it arrives at 4:30 pm.
This journey roughly takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach your destination.
Accommodation in Kidepo National Park
The towns near the park have a variety of accommodation rooms to rest after a long journey. The lodging facilities usually provide a bed and breakfast, and free Wi-Fi, and they have a restaurant with a bar, free parking and some have a swimming pool.
The nearby hotels/lodgings include;
Zebra Safari Lodge, Apoka Safari Lodge, Kidepo Savanna Lodge, Nga Moru Wilderness Camp, and Proland Inn
Wildlife at Kidepo Park
Kidepo Valley national park Uganda has a variety of wildlife which is the main attraction in this place. The park has the following species;
- Mammal Species
The park is home to 80 mammal species whereby 28 of them cannot be found in any other parks in Uganda. These include; Caracal, Striped Hyena, Aardwolf, Cheetah, Bat-Eared Fox, and Hunting Dogs which are only found in this park.
Other common mammal species include; Elephant, Zebra, Bush Pigs, Rothschild Giraffes, Eland, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Buffalo, Oribi, Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Black-Backed and Side-Backed Jackal, and many more. This park has the best buffalo herds in the whole of Africa which makes the park a very unique place to visit.
- Primate Species
The park is home to 5 primates which include; the Kavirondo Bush Baby, Greater and Lesser Kudu, Chandlers Mountain Reedbuck, Klipspringer, Dikdik, Bright Gazelle, Beisa Oryx, And Roan Antelope, these are also very unique primates only found in Kidepo Valley National Park.
- Reptile Species
The park is also home to small crocodiles which are 2.5m long compared to the Nile Crocodiles which are 4m and beyond. The park has limited food because of these small-sized crocodiles.
- Bird Species
Kidepo valley national park is home to over 450 bird species which ranks the second position in Uganda for Uganda wildlife Safaris. The following birds are only in this park in the whole of Uganda, these include; the Ostrich, Black-Breasted Barbet, the Karamoja Apalis, and the Kori Bustard.
The park also has excellent birds of prey including; the Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, and Pygmy Falcon.
Safari Activities done in Kidepo Valley National Park
The park has a variety of Uganda Safari activities that are enjoyable in a way they get you to see the wonders of the park and the beautiful and unique features found. These include;
Game Drives in Kidepo Valley National Park
Narus Valley is where the drives are usually done because many wild animals gather in this place mostly in the month of March. Tourists usually have a clear view because the savannah grassland is low due to no rain at the park where the lions and some big cats are mostly seen at the rocks of kopjes looking out for food. The game drive is best in the morning because most of the wild animals are on the hunt for breakfast.
Sometimes Game drives are done along kidepo valley where tourists enjoy the sand bed river “oasis” in a semi-desert. This is seen in only the dry season throughout the year, the valley has palm trees and a big number of birds. This is best done in the morning before it becomes hotter because kidepo national park is a semi arid area where you find tsetse flies crossing the Sandbed River.
Bird Watching in Kidepo National Park
This is a very good view for birders when it coming to this activity. The park has a variety of birds some of them are totally different from other birding places in Uganda. The park is ranked the second park in Uganda with a variety of bird species and this activity is the one that trends the park. Kidepo national park has over 50 species of outstanding bird prey which are recorded in this park.
Sand Bed alongside the Kidepo River
This experience is done in the dry season and it’s extremely interesting where one enjoys the wildlife experience while listening to a variety of birds enjoying the sound of their voices in the air. The sand bed is found in the northern part of the park and lined by Borassus Palms that make it sim like an Oasis in the Desert.
Nature Walks in Kidepo Valley National Park
This can be done at any time of the day around Apoka Safari Camp. Uganda Safari tourists are expected to see a variety of wildlife like Elephants, Reedbuck, Zebra, and a few though not mentioned. These are best in the morning because the tourists get to see closely how the animals behave while hunting for food.
Climbing Moun Morungole
This activity is led by the IK people who are more experienced with the animals in this part of the park. This involves trekking and hiking through varying nature and rocky terrain with outstanding views of the park. The IK people usually entertain the tourists with different dances, unique migration history, their life, and many more.
Community Tours around Kidepo National Park
Kidepo valley national park is surrounded by the Karamojong people who are the most remote people in Uganda. Visits to their community are always organized on a daily basis where you will see a number of traditional houses, their culture, traditional dances, their handcrafted stools, spears, and hand bungles from beads.