Kidepo National Park
Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is arguably Uganda’s most spectacular park. Vastly unexplored and less known, it offers the largest wildlife range of all the parks in Uganda with 77 mammals and almost 500 bird species. The sweeping savannahs of Kidepo Valley National Park are unique to this remote part of Uganda extend far beyond the horizon to a backdrop of the rugged Mount Morungole at 2,750m, on the southern border of the park.
The scenery of Kidepo Valley National Park ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses is unsurpassed by any other park in Uganda and makes for exceptional game viewing. Kidepo Valley National Park was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1958 before becoming a National Park in 1962.
The park is tucked away in a remote corner in the northeast of Uganda in the semi-arid Karamoja region. Two rivers; River Kidepo and River Narus that are beautifully lined with Borassus palms dissect the park.
But the best part about a visit to Kidepo during the dry season is how easy it is to see the animals, sometimes just by skimming the valley with binoculars, from the comfort of your room
If there is a place where all of Uganda’s wildlife comes together, Kidepo is it. The park has the most diverse fauna of any Ugandan National Park and is home to many animal species that cannot be found anywhere else in Uganda, including the Cheetah, Greater and Lesser Kudu and Mountain Reedbuck. Kidepo is particularly rich in predator species, many of which are only found in Kidepo including the striped hyena, hunting dog, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and caracal. Although the park is primarily a savannah reserve, five primate species are present, including the rare and localized patas monkey. The best game viewing is done along the Narus valley where most of the park’s wildlife congregates most of the year and several available track circuits in this area give visitors opportunity to view animals at close range. Wildlife is most active in the early mornings and late afternoons. The Lomej Hills, a short drive from Apoka are a great viewing point and as is the Kidepo River Picnic site perched on the sands of the Kidepo Valley.
A staggering 475 species of birds can be spotted in Kidepo, 60 of which are not found anywhere else in Uganda. Of note are the 56 birds of prey with 14 species endemic to Kidepo including Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Pygmy Falcon. Unique to Kidepo is the world’s largest birds, the Ostriches and from November to April every year, several migratory birds are present.
The deserted Namamukweny Valley in the north-west of the park is inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller and Eastern Paradise Whydah, Green Wood Hoopoe among others. Along the dry Kidepo riverbed in Apoka, the African Moustached and Broad-tailed Warblers, Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbillood may be see
To date, no comprehensive survey of Kidepo’s bird species has been completed so it is possible that visitors can make new discoveries.
Uganda has over 50% of all the birds species in African making Birdwatching in Uganda an incredible activity.
The Karimajong and Ik tribes inhabit Kidepo Valley National Park. The Ik, one of the smallest ethnic groups in Uganda whose survival is threatened are a hunter-gather people that live on the foothills of Mount Morungole. The Karimajong, the famous nomadic pastoralists are a proud people with a well-preserved and iconic culture. On community tours, visitors can visit these communities and learn about the ways and cultures of the Ik and Karimajong.
Guided Walking Safaris
Guided Walking Safaris in Kidepo National Park are one of the best ways to see the wildlife and incredible landscape of the park. The walk begins early at 07.00am in the morning with a number of destinations within the park to choose from.
The Narus Valley is around 5 KM from the Park HQ and is a popular walk with tourists. Narus translates to mean "soggy place or muddy ground". During the walk there are various waterholes and grazing areas which give you a great opportunity to see some of the unique wildlife some of which can only been seen in this National Park in Uganda as well as amazing views of Mount Morongule. The River Narus is the only permanent water source in the National Park
The Namukwweny Valley is also another walking safari destination which is further away that the Narus Valley and is a more immersive walk. Namukwweny translates to mean "place with no birds" however there are plenty of birds in this area.