KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley national Park located in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of Karamojong, perched in the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo Valley is Uganda’s most remote national park covering about 1442Km2 with a huge latitudinal range of 914m on Kidepo valley floor to 2749m a top of Mount Morungole. Kidepo is ideal destination for Uganda safaris featuring a variety of Wildlife. For the birder, Kidepo Valley National Park boasts a bird list of over 475 species, a total second only to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Amongst the specials not found in any other Ugandan national park are some of East Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamojong Apallis.
The Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks, and ‘It could not be any better’ is a common comment on the scenery by tourists who often promise and do come back to Kidepo. The park has a Semi-arid climate with just one rainy season per year and rainfall is light. The valley of the NARUS river in the south of the park receives 890mm of rain per year while just 635mm of rain per year in the Kidepo valley to the north
Kidepo harbors scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa including the open thorn-bush, semi-desert scrub, open thorn-scrub, long and short-grass open tree savannas, riparian woodland including Borassus and Kigelia woodland, thick, “miombo- like” woodland, montane forest and granite out-crops
The park offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes, which end in rugged horizon. As a result the variety of animal species in the park is equally abundant including many which are found nowhere else in Uganda.
The vegetation can best be described as open tree Savannah which varies much in structure and composition. Mountain forest dominates some of the high places, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest. The flora and fauna of the park are more typical of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The landscape throughout the park is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs from which one can obtain stunning views in all directions.
Key Bird Species
Kidepo Valley National Park boasts a bird list of over 475 species, next to Queen Elizabeth National Park among which includes, White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards, Pygmy Falcon, Fox Kestrel, Stone Partridge, Clapperton’s and Heuglin’s Francolins,Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Kori, Ethiopian Swallow, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars, Little Green Bee-eater, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Abyssinian Ground, Eastern Yellow and Jackson’s Hornbills, Pied, Isabelline and Heuglin’s Wheaters, Violet-tipped Courser, Black-headed Plover, Four-banded Sand Grouse, Ostrich, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-faced Scoops Owl, Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, Karamoja Apalis, White-bellied Tit ,Brown-backed Woodpecker, Singing Bush lark, Red-winged Lark, African Grey Flycatcher, Foxy and Red pate Cisticolas, , Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned and Yellow-billed Shrikes, Superb Starling, Red billed Oxpecker, Eastern Violet backed, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbirds, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Yellow-spotted Petronia, among many others.
The southern Narus Valley is a great spot to begin your Kidepo birding, this makes bird watching in Kidepo very remarkable
Of recent Kidepo Valley has registered over 75 species including 28 that are peculiar to only and only Kidepo in Uganda. Amongst these are such charismatic African animals as Bat-eared Fox, Carcal, Cheetah and Klipspringer.
Unfortunately, during the Amin’s regime the park was affected by serious poaching of which plenty of animals were hunted down and is still recovering from the years of poaching that left game herds depleted. Striped Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant’s gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and thus extinct. Some mammals have shown a remarkable recovery and there are now in big numbers such as the Elephant, Common Zebra, Buffalo, and Kongoni. Predators and Spotted Hyena are plentiful; Leopard and Lion are commonly seen. The park also holds a very rich and diverse of reptiles.
Safari Lodges in Kidepo Valley National park
An up market option is readily available Apoka Lodge majestically located inside the park. This luxury lodge in the middle of Kidepo National Park with spacious rooms, attractive interior decor and a private veranda. Each room has an in suite bathroom and a toilet. A restaurant and swimming pool are available as well.
New safari lodges have emerged including Kidepo valley lodge, Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp. Uganda Wildlife Authority runs Apoka Rest Camp; this offers comfortable Bandas within the park, including bedding, mosquito netting and showers. It is advised and recommended that you carry on all your own food although it can be cooked for you upon request.
Campsite is also in place at Kakine just a short distance from Apoka and this cost between$ 5-10 per person per night. It has and offers basic services for the period of your stay.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National park
Kidepo Valley National Park is accessible either by road or by air. The most commonly driven route from Kampala-Mbale-Soroti-Moroto-Kidepo-792 km journey taking a minimum of 12 hours and 4-wheel drive vehicles (4WD) are recommended.
Below are alternative routes to Kidepo by road
Kampala-Soroti -Kotido via Amuria 656 km
Visitors intending to travel by road are advised to contact UWA headquarters to seek advice about conditions and safety on the roads.
By Air. Scheduled flights are available operated by AeroLink Uganda to Kidepo national park. Flights to Kidepo depart every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday departing Entebbe at 12:30 arriving Kidepo valley park at 14:45