UGANDAUnmatched anywhere
Uganda has the greatest variety of primates in the world.

Kidepo Valley National Park

…a forgotten wilderness

Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda’s most isolated park is located in remote northeastern corner, some 700km from Kampala and tucked between the borders with Southern Sudan and Kenya. The park covers an area of 1442sqkm and it has an altitude range of between 914m and 2750m above sea level. The highest point in the park is Mount Morungole (2750m) on the southern border, however Lutoke (2797m) just within the Sudanese border is also slightly higher and is visible from several points in the park.

The mountainous terrain is broken by the Narus Valley in the southwest and the Kidepo Valley in the northeast. The dominant habitant is open or lightly wooded savanna, interspersed with patches of montane forest, riparian woodland, thick miombo woodland, borassus palms and rocky koppies.

The park has a semi-arid climate with just one rainy season per year (April-September) and rainfall is light. The valley of the Narus river in the south of the park receives some 890mm of rain per year while just 635mm of rain per year falls in Kidepo valley to the north. Both rivers are seasonal and dwindle and disappear in the dry season. During these months the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools along the southern Narus valley near Apoka and as a result, wildlife is concentrated in this area. The consideration, combined with the valley’s open, savanna habitant, makes it the park’s prime game viewing location. Indeed it is possible to sight a good variety of wildlife simply by scanning the valley with binoculars from the comfort of the Apoka Lodge.

Getting there:

The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is more rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes difficult and 4WD vehicles are usually essential.

There are four possible routes by road and prospective visitors should contact UWA Headquarters or Apoka Lodge to obtain up-to-date advice about road conditions and safety to identify the preferred choice of route.

The 792kms Kampala- Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kidepo,

The 740kms Kampala- Mbale – Sironko – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo,

The 705kms Kampala – Karuma – Lira – Kotido – Kidepo and

The 571kms Kampala – Gulu – Kitigumu – Kidepo.

Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe. Flights take about two hours.

See:

Kidepo Valley National Park lies in an area inhabited by the Karamojong people, perhaps the last truly traditional hunter/pastoralists in Africa.

Kidepo’s expensive vistas, largely uninhibited by woodland and forest are the result of open tree savannah habitat that dominates the park. Hills have been colonized by dry mountains forest while watercourses support Acacia forests. Many of the hilltops are capped by rock kopjes which provide habitats for Klipspringer and give panoramic 360 degrees views.

The park contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Ugandan national park with 77 species mammals, several of which in Uganda are restricted to Kidepo and Karamoja region. Localised canivores include the bat-eated fox, striped hyena, aardwolf caracal, and cheetah. Other canivores present are lions, leopard, spoted hynas, and black-backed and side-striped jackal. Less common ungulates include the greater and lesser kudu, chandlers, mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and guenther’s dikdik. Other ungulates include elephants, Burchell’s Zebras, bushpigs, Warthogs, Rothschid’s giraffes, Cape buffalo, Elands, Bushbucks, Bushduikers, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest and Oribi. Five speciesof primates are found in the park including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby.

The park boasts an extensive birdlist of 463 species confirmed and 26 unconfirmed second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Afew species of note at least in Uganda context, are the Ostrich, Kori bustard, Secretary bird, Carmine, Little green and Red-throated bee eaters, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Abyssinian roller and Abyssinian scimitarbill, Yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbills and the Karamoja apalis. Kidepo is also notable for its birds of prey. Of the 56 species recorded, 14, including Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and Pygmy falcon are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region.

Kidepo is nevertheless one of the most alluring destination in the country, boasting a strong wilderness atmosphere, rugged mountain scenery and exceptional game viewing and birdwatching.

Activities:

  • Day and evening guided game drives.

Around the park:

Narus Valley

For much of the year the park’s wildlife congregates in here and is well provided with game trucks. Three loop circuits explore the valley around Apoka. At the southern end of the Katurum loop, Katurum kopje provides superb views north across the valley towards the Morungule mountain ranges. Visitors without transport can arrange game drives using a park truck charged per kilometer.

Morungule Mountain

The Morungule Mountain range rises from the plains a few kilometres north east of Apoka. This can be explored on foot with a ranger guide escort.

Kidepo valley

For most of the year, a lack of surface water means that little wildlife is found in this area. But it is still worth a drive to visit the seasonal Kidepo river and stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with Borassus plam forest. Hot springs are found on the Southern Sudan border 11km beyond the river crossing.

Accommodation:

The Apoka Game Lodge is a traditional-style game lodge. A well-furbished establishment with spectacular views overlooking the Winway river valley. All rooms have full private facilities. Note that the lodge is unable to cater for walk in guests.

Apoka Rest camp booked under UWA provides simple cottages nearby at a self-catering hostel. Bottled drinks are available but visitors should bring their own food. UWA also provides two basic campsites sited in the Narus valley. Each is provided with a pit latrine and shower stall but visitors should bring all their own equipments and supplies.

Suggested Itinerary

Kidepo valley national park wilderness wildlife safari – 4 days

Weather

Kampala
May 26, 2017, 11:42 pm
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
18°C
current pressure: 1020 mb
humidity: 95%
wind speed: 1 m/s SSW
sunrise: 6:43 am
sunset: 6:51 pm
 

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