Kidepo valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometers and located in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Kidepo Valley National park is located in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is approximately 220 kilometer’s, by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region. It is approximately 520 kilometers, by road, northeast of Kampala, Uganda. It was gazetted as a game reserve by the British colonial government in 1958. The purpose was both to protect the animals from being hunted and to prevent further clearing of bush for tsetse fly-control. The newly independent government of Uganda under Milton Obote as a president converted the reserve into the Kidepo Valley National Park in 1962. The first chief warden of the park was Ian Ross, a Briton. In 1972, Paul Ssali, a Ugandan, replaced him.
Kidepo is a hot, dry and Wilderness Park with rugged savannah harboring 77mamals and 500 bird species. The park’s vegetation is diverse with grey-haired acacia, savannah woodland that emerges in the south and into a fire climax grassland, tree and shrub steep which slowly transcends into bush lands with forests on the Mountain slopes. Some of the animals unique to this park include caracal, cheetah, aardwolf, a striped hyena, greater and lesser kudu, klipspringer, dik-dik, Bright’s gazelle and Chandler’s mountain reedbuck. Bird species including lammergeier Verreaux’s eagle, the pygmy falcon and Egyptian vulture and the hornbills which are characteristic of the savannah habitat.
Activities expected in Kidepo National Park include:
Game drive is done along Narus Valley both at night and day since wildlife concentrates here most of the year. This area has aquatic tracks that enable tourists to view animals at a close range.
Nature walks can be done around Apoka camp which enables tourists to view different animal species like the elephants, zebras, giraffes, bulbul, reedbucks and many others.
Community walks are one of the ways to spend time learning about the ways of life of the karamajongs and their culture as well. This will enable you know their dressing code, dancing style and the tools used. Karamajongs are traditionally cattle raiders and hunters though through community conservation their life style is changing.
Bird watching is another activity done in the park. It’s usually done in the early morning and late afternoon since the park has many bird species to see and these include, Golden Pipit, Ring-necked Spur fowl, Taita Fiscal, Rufous Chatterer, Fox’s Cisticola, Yellow and red spotted Barbet, Fox’s Weaver, Lesser Kestrel, Pallid Harrier, Black-winged Pranticole, White-crested, Hartlaub’s Turaccos, Dusky-turtle Dove, White-bellied Go-Away bird, Abyssinian Scimitar bill, Jackson’s and African-pied Hornbills, Yellow-billed Shrike, Emin’s Shrike, Piapiac, Red-winged Lark, Black-rumped Waxbill and ostrich.
Best Season is during the Dry season (September to March). Kidepo is however located in a semi-arid region and can be visited throughout the year. The Wet season months (April to August) are less hot and bring beautiful bird scenery.
For luxury stay Apoka safari lodge, Nga’moru wilderness camp and for budget stay Apoka rest camp and kidepo savannah camp.