Safari Adventures in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda`s most remote National Park, nestled in the wild frontier region of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda`s best virgin destinations that is ideal for wildlife viewers in Uganda. Kidepo Valley is one of the best wilderness areas in Africa and a haven to a couple of rare wildlife species which other national parks of Uganda do not have. The park is strategic at the center of savannah plains close to a few mountainous bodies. Kidepo valley national park doesn’t only serve you with spectacular wildlife but also a great spot for a cultural trail especially if you are interested in the Karamojong, Acholi and other impressive tribes. Among other remarkable activities that visitors in Kidepo valley National park can engage in include; birding, nature walking and hiking. The optional remarkable accommodations of Apoka Safari lodge, Nga`Moru Wilderness camp and Kidepo Savannah Lodge combined with the ever-cool environment and impressive scenery of the savannah plains, not forgetting the diverse attractions all make Kidepo Valley National Park a truly gifted by nature.
The park is a real gem with diverse and abundant wildlife that keeps the area a true interpretation of tourism in Uganda.
Kidepo Valley National park was established in 1962 and as of now, it inhabits over 75 species of mammals and 470 species of birds all located in an area that allows prime views.
Kidepo Valley National Park is located in Northeastern Uganda in Kaabong district, an estimate of 510 km by road from Kampala-the capital city of Uganda. Moroto is the largest town in the sub region. Kidepo Valley is ranked the 3rd best national park in the whole of Africa and this make it one of ultimate destinations for all adventure travelers in Africa.
When to visit Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda
Visiting Kidepo Valley National Park is possible all year round, however, in the rainy season, the conditions are in park are a bit more difficult. Kidepo is generally dry and hot. The months from June to September is usually a season of rain but the temperatures still remain warm. For those wishing to visit this park, a 4×4 wheel drive is very important. There are however some few murram roads and these are easily passable despite the weather conditions. Use of a local tour operator is perhaps the best way to explore Kidepo Valley National park as it eases booking and also driving in this park requires a local person who’s familiar to driving in the area. It takes about 12 hours of driving from Kampala to this park, but you can as well fly to Kidepo using the regular scheduled flights by Aerolink departing from Entebbe, as well as charter flights can be arranged. Contact us for prior bookings.
Tourist Attractions in Kidepo Valley
Kidepo Valley National park is world known for its splendid views of wild game and most visitors to this park go for game viewing while in a 4×4 vehicle traversing the dirt roads of the park from the south to the western park areas.
The following are some of the tourism attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park
Apoka Tourism Centre
Apoka is a home to the luxurious lodge and UWA run cottages, it overlooks the Narus Valley- a game rich area within the park. Apoka is a center for tourism within the park and it is a station for ranger guides who escort tourists on game drives and nature walks. Apoka is as well the prime area in the park where visitors can purchase souvenirs from the existing craft shop and drinks. At this hub of the park, food cam be prepared for guests upon request and for those who wish to cook for themselves, cooking utensils and all the necessary equipment are available.
The rolling savannah plains of Narus Valley are enclosed by distant mountains and feature permanent water where most of the wildlife gather to quench their thirst for most of the months in the year. Narus Valley has good game tracks and four loop circuits can be undertaken to explore the valley around Apoka area. Expect to explore a wide variety of wildlife such as lions, leopards, buffalos, giraffes, hartebeest, cheetahs, reedbucks, oribis, among others animals that are available in Narus valley. Narus has a water dam and another water hole near the tourism center, these areas allow the best views of wildlife in the whole of the park especially in the dry season.
Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
Kidepo park lacks surface water for most of the year and this means that not much wildlife is found in the park, but there are other attractions that will necessitate your visit to this park like the Kidepo River where you will stroll along the 50m bed of white sand on the shores scattered with borassus palm. The name Kidepo was derived from the local slogan which means to pick from below. The indigenous people of this regions mostly the Karamojong used to collect fallen borassus fruits and ferment them to come up with palm beer.
The Kanangorok Hot Springs are located about 11km passed the Kidepo River on the border of Sudan. The place provides fascinating views of the mountains beyond the frontier.
Mount Morungole has an elevation of 2,750m and is crisscrossed by two rivers namely Kidepo and Narus Rivers where most of the park`s wildlife gathers to quench their thirst as well as nourishing the park in general. Mount Morungole is located a few kilometers from Apoka regions and it rises from the plains marking the boundary of the park from the south. The slopes of Mount Morungole are inhabited by the IK people and their unique rich culture. The IK is a smallest ethnic group in Uganda.
Namamukweny means a “place with no birds or even people” in Napore local language. However, the place inhabits a big numbers pf bird species including the White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Green Wood Hoopoe and Abyssinian Roller, among others. Namamukweny valley is situated in the north-western side on the park and accessing this area can be done either by car or even on foot.
The Lomej Hills are good spots for birding and viewing wildlife including the mountain reedbuck. The hills are located a short drive from the headquarters of the park.
Lonyili mountain is situated between Kitgum and the Sudan border, it is covered by a montane forest where most of the park`s primates inhabit such as colobus monkeys. Accessing this mountain is quite hard because of the current road conditions. It is good to contact your agent for advice before traveling to Lonyili mountain.
Where to stay in Kidepo Valley National Park
Currently, Kidepo Valley National park has four accommodation facilities Namely; Apoka safari Lodge, Kidepo Savannah Lodge, Apoka Rest Camp and Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp. All the facilities are distributed in Luxury, Midrange and Budget safari settings.
Apoka Safari Lodge (Luxury)
Apoka safari lodge is a luxury accommodation facility located in the heart of Kidepo Valley National Park. The lodge offers spacious luxury rooms each with a sitting room, bathroom and private terrace. Apoka luxury lodge also has a swimming pool luxury restaurant and bar.
Kidepo Savannah Lodge (Midrange)
Kidepo Savannah Lodge is located on the edge of Kidepo national park- the most beautiful national park in Uganda. The lodge is 500m away from Kalokudo gate allowing clear and outstanding views of the huge Narus valley, Mount Morungole and other mountain ranges bordering Southern Sudan. Kidepo savannah Lodge has both luxurious self-contained Safari tents and comfortable lazy camping tents that you can chose from.
Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp
Nga’Moru Camp borders the park with just 4km away from Katarum Gate. The camp offers comfortable en suite accommodation in safari tents under thatch or Cabanas. The camp is nestled on the hill allowing remarkable views of Narus valley the plains of Kidepo that stretch from the mountain Morungole. Game like waterbuck, lions, hyenas, zebra and elephants frequently visit the park.
Apoka Rest Camp;
This camp offers comfortable and affordable bandas within the park. Apoka Rest Camp is run by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
How to Get to Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National park is located 571km (12-14hrs) drive from Kampala through Gulu and 705km from Kampala through Lira. For visitors connecting from Murchison Falls National Park it is approximately 440km (8hours drive) to reach Kidepo Valley National Park. The longest route from kampala to Kidepo valley National park is through Soroti which is 792km (13 hours’ drive).
All road connecting to Kidepo are not is a very good condition and therefore a 4×4 wheel vehicle in good mechanical condition is recommended.
Domestic airlines like aero link operate scheduled flight from Kajjansi airfield and Kampala and Entebbe international airport to the airstrip in Kidepo national park. Other charter flights are also available to offer their services on demand.