If there is that one destination to get you out of the usual environment then Kidepo National Park is one of them. Its remote location in the rugged semi-arid Karamoja valleys, extreme northeastern Uganda makes it one of the isolated parks and a few protected areas in Africa with untapped natural wonders. For true wilderness experiences, this park is such a splendid safari destination in Africa that shouldn’t miss out in your travel plan this coming season. It expands for about 1442 square kilometers making the 3rd largest savanna grassland national park in Uganda.
Its splendid scenery is incomparable with breathtaking savanna landscape. It is an isolated park at the extreme border area between Uganda and Kenya and South Sudan. Kidepo’s latitudinal range comes with fluctuating climatic conditions which is partly responsible for its diverse vegetation. Its vegetation comprises of open tree savanna grassland and it differs in structure and composition. It also features mountain forests and around River Lorupei, you will find mostly acacia forest. Its spectacular and extensive landscape also comes with small hills, inselbergs and rocky outcrops which makes it one of a few rare tourist destinations in the continent.
Besides, it offers refuge diverse wildlife species most of which are widely distributed within its diverse habitats especially the semi-desert scrub, open thorn bush, open thorn scrub, long and short grass open tree savanna, riparian woodland and not to exclude Kigelia and Borassus woodland, dense miombo like woodland, granite outcrops and montane forests.
Over 475 avian species call this park their home making it a true birder’s haven and a second rated safari destination in Uganda with highest number of bird species after Queen Elizabeth National Park. While on birding safari in this magnificent park, the notable avian species that you should expect to spot out include the black breasted barbet, long tailed and standard winged night-jars, mosque swallow, Nubian woodpecker, vinaceous dove, scarlet chested sun-bird, little weaver and red cheeked cordonbleu, orange winged and red winged pytilias, yellow necked Spur fowl, pygmy falcon, white bellied and hartlaub’s bustards, eastern pale chanting go-shawk ruppells and super starlings, Bruce’s green pigeon, Ethiopian swallow, stone partridge, rose ringed parakeet, fan tailed raven, Abyssinian ground, white faced scoops owl, slate colored boubou, ostriches, red fronted and black breasted barbets, African grey flycatcher, little green bee-eater, red billied oxpecker, eastern yellow and Jackson’s hornbills, brown rumped bunting, black bellied and black faded waxbill, African swallow tailed kite, steel blue and straw tailed whydahs, white billed buffalo weaver, Karamoja apalis and others. Interestingly, most migrant and special bird species confine in this park between March and April.
The notable wildlife species to catch a glimpse at this park include elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, Burchell’s zebra, warthogs, bush pigs, cape buffaloes, elands, bush duskier, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson hartebeest, Oribis, Rothschild giraffe, spotted hyenas, black jackals, side striped jackal, white-tailed mongoose and others. Most of these natural wonders can be explored while on game drives in areas like Narus valley where you can catch a glimpse at a variety of wildlife species such as cheetahs, reedbucks, Jackson’s Hartebeests, Oribis, buffaloes, giraffes, and many others. This area comprises of other exceptional viewing points, for instance, the southern tip of the Katurum loop where there is Katurum Kopje offers breathtaking views north to even other areas like Mount Morungole. Besides, other attractions for you to enjoy at this park include the Kidepo Valley, Kanangorok hot springs, Lomej hills and Namamukweny valley which is equally perfect for you to sight at several bird species especially the green wood hoopoe, Eastern paradise whydah, white-crested Turaco, common bulbul, Abyssinian roller.
- Exciting tourist activities for you to enjoy in Kidepo National Park
For visitors on safari to this park, the exciting activities for you to engage in include game drives, birding, hiking or scenic viewing especially around Mount Lamoj, Mount Lutukei; picnicking and cultural experiences to enjoy most of the exciting traditional dances.
- Accommodation facilities in Kidepo Valley National park
Availability of accommodation option in a destination like Kidepo make visitor experience complete and the notable ones include Apoka Rest Camp with over 16 self-contained chalets, Kidepo Safari Lodge, Apoka Safari Lodge which is one of the excellent safari lodges in this splendid protected area and Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp just at the border area with the park.
- How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park?
To reach to Kidepo Valley National Park, you will need the whole day as it takes you about 12 hours’ drive depending on which route you will take. The major routes for you to use include start from Kampala or Entebbe-Lira, Kotido and then you connect to the park and this is about 705 kilometers’ drive. Kampala through Mbale to Soroti through Moroto and finally you arrive at the park.
The other routes include the Kampala through Mbale-Sironko through Kotido and you connect to the park about 740 kilometers’ drive and finally the Kampala through Soroti-Kotido and then connect to Amuria approximately 656 kilometers. If you are traveling by road, you will need a 4wd safari vehicle to help you navigate through the remotest routes in the Karamoja region. The other alternative is by air, where you will take a flight from Entebbe Airport and then land in the nearby airfield at the park especially the airstrip at Lomej which is three kilometers south of this park.