First and foremost, Kidepo Valley National Park is a wilderness park; dry, hot and isolated yet spectacular, magnificent and virgin, waiting to be discovered.
Transversed by large sand rivers, the park is renowned for its distinctive composition of wild game co-existing with the dry mountain forests, open savanna and hilltops caped by rock kopjes
Enjoy the isolated wilderness dominated by the 2,750m Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and great narus rivers.
Additionally, Perennial rains may make Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert, but its tract of rugged savannah is home to 77 mammal species and almost 500 birds. Game viewing is exciting all year around and so is bird watching, foot safaris and mountain climbing.
Even in the dry season, it is worth the drive just to visit the seasonal Kidepo river and stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with Borassus palm trees.
The 1442 km2 is located in the Karamoja region of northern Uganda and borders the Sudan in the north west and Kenya in the north east.
There are four routes by road to Kidepo Valley National Park. The 705km journey from Kampala via lira, kotido, kaabong and then to Kidepo. The 740km journey from Kampala via mbale, soroti, moroto, kotido, kaabong and then Kidepo; the 780km journey from Kampala via mbale, soroti, matany, kotido, Kaabong and on to Kidepo, and; the 571km journey from Kampala through Gulu, kitigum and to Kidepo.
Driving through the wilderness is an exciting experience as one gets the chance of better scenery. One will need a good 4×4 vehicle especially during the rainy season.
Chartered aircrafts to Kidepo may be arranged from Kajjansi, or from Entebbe International Airport to Lomej airstrip near the park headquarters. Flight takes two hours.
Civil Aviation Authority plans to make Lomej airstrip, to the east of Apoka tourism Centre, an international airport to enable visitors to fly in direct to Kidepo from abroad.
Activities in Kidepo Valley National Park
Game Drives / Viewing
Game drives can be done along narus valley as the park’s wildlife congregates here much of the year. This area has adequate track circuits enabling visitors view the animals at a close range.
The Katurum kopje provides superb views north across the Valley towards Morungole mountain range.
Nature walks can be done around Apoka camp at any time of the day and visitors will be able to view different species of animals like elephants, Bulbul, zebras and Reedbucks.
At the eastern kakine circuit, visitors can see wildlife at a close range of up to 50 – 70 meters. Nature walks can also be done along Rionomoe trail and around this where one can view the lower side of the Narus valley
Community walks are one of the ways you can get to know more about the Karamojong lifestyle, cultures, dressing, dancing and the tools used. The Karamojong are traditionally cattle raiders and hunters.
However, through community conservation education, their lifestyle is gradually changing and most of them now know the value of the park conservation
The Morungole ranges rise from the plains a few kilometers north of apoka. A trip to Kidepo is needed to get a good view of Morungole mountain, the highest peak in Kidepo.
Even at 2,749m, this peak is not easily seen from most vantage points in the Narus Valley. This can be explored on foot with a ranger guide escort.
Popular Safaris in Kidepo Valley National Park include:
Sand along River Kidepo
Kidepo River is an intermittent sand river found in the northern part of the park. It stands out because it is lined by Borassus palms, making it look like an oasis in the Sahara.
The sand bed experience on river Kidepo can be very fascinating especially during the dry season. Many bird species can be found around this area and one can enjoy the wilderness experience while listening to the different bird calls
This activity can be done either in the morning or afternoon and the park has a variety of birds. The experienced guides will show you around.
Also check out National Park Regulations In Uganda
This article was adopted from the Uganda Wildlife Authority