Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s most alluring park and protected area. It is one Uganda’s most decorated national park with a number of International Accolades attributed to its beauty and untamed wilderness for example; in August 2018, CNN ranked the Park the second most beautiful park in Africa out of the 8 safari destinations on the continent, In 2013 the Kidepo Valley National Park was listed Number 3 among Africa’s best 10 National Parks by the CNN Travel and In 2012, the CNN named Kidepo Valley as one of the best 10 Wild landscapes to visit in Africa. It has over the years been nominated in the World Travel Awards among Africa’s top safari destinations.
The 1,442 km2 national park is one of the country’s most isolated protected area, tucked between borders with Sudan and Kenya in the northeastern corner of Uganda in the Karamoja region. It is a wilderness gem; dry and hot yet stunning and waiting to be discovered.
Kidepo boasts a strong wilderness atmosphere characterized by adorable rugged backdrop offering tempting photographic moments and mouthwatering safari encounters. “Its sweeping plains of Kidepo and Narus valleys outshined by the brooding mountain scape of the Morungole Ranges (the sacred peak of the mysterious Ik people) has a huge appeal just for the scenery alone. It might be the most beautiful park in all of Africa”- Mark Eveleigh; CNN
The altitudinal range of the park is between 2,750m and 914m above sea level with two rivers; the Narus and Kidepo which disappear in the dry period leaving only pools for the wildlife. The park has a semi-arid type of climate with just one light rainy season per year from April to September, the Narus valley in the South and Kidepo valley in the north receive some 890mm and 635mm of rain per year respectively, the perennial rains make Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert.
People and the Park
The Karamajong are the biggest cultural group bordering the park; they are traditional pastoralists who have lived a nomadic life but are slowly adapting to the changes in their traditional lifestyle and are similar to the Masai of Kenya. The other include the Ik one of the most reclusive tribes in Uganda who still live in a very traditional way in relative seclusion high atop Morungole Mountain.
Kidepo Valley national park can be accessed through four different routes by road from Kampala; the shortest being the roughly 9 hour journey via Karuma Falls through Gulu-Kitgum to Kidepo. Other routes include Lira-Kotido- Kaabong to Kidepo; the Mbale-Soroti-Moroto-Kotido-Kaabong to Kidepo route and the last one being the Mbale-Soroti-Matany-Kotido-Kaabong and on to Kidepo.
The journey to the park is a long drive that requires overnight break en-route especially the last three routes that run for more than 700km. Driving through the wilderness is a rewarding experience as you get to see better scenery.
Alternatively, the park can be accessed by air travel, domestic flights both scheduled and chartered can be used from Kajjansi to Lomej airstrip near the park headquarters. Flights take just about 2hours presenting glorious aerial views of the Pearl of Africa.
Wildlife [Flora and Fauna]
Kidepo Valley National Park is a definition of a true African wilderness. Traversed by large sand rivers, Kidepo is renowned for its distinctive composition of wild game co-existing with the dry Montane Forests, open savannas, Borassus Palm trees, Riparian woodland and hilltops capped by Rock Kopjes.
The park is a diverse wilderness destination where ancient species roam the striking golden savannas and tract of rugged terrain; with 77 mammal species and over 475 bird species. The park provides refuge to a long list of species not found elsewhere in a natural habitat in the country such as Cheetahs, Greater Kudu, Ostriches and others you will discover on your safari to the park.
Carnivores are highly represented in the park with species such as Bat-eared Foxes, Stripped Hyena, Caracel, tree-climbing Lion, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Small Cats, Black-backed and Side-stripped Jackal among others. The park is home to a strong number of Buffalos and Elephants, with other mammals like Chandlers, Mountain Reedbucks, Burchells Zebras, Bush Pigs, Rothschild’s Giraffes, Lesser Kudu and Bushbucks among others. The park also shelters Five Primate species including the localized Patas Monkey.
Kidepo Valley national park is also notable for its 58 species of birds of prey, not limited to the; Verreaux Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Palm-nut Vulture and Pygmy Falcon. The park’s extensive bird list is only overshadowed by Queen Elizabeth’s list of more than 600species, others present in the park include; Kori-bustard, Secretary bird, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Red-throated Bee-eaters, Karamoja Apalis and Black Breasted Barbet among others.
Things to do in Kidepo Valley national park
- Game viewing/drives
- Birdwatching safaris
- Hiking the Morungole ranges
- Nature and Community walks
- Walking safaris
- Photography safaris
Safaris to see Kidepo Valley
3 Days Fly-in Express wildlife safari
5 Days Wildlife Experience