About Kidepo Valley National Park Uganda

About kidepo valley national park Uganda: This article includes the travel information to kidepo valley national park including the park at glance, Location, travel information, tourist attractions, where to stay among others.

About and location of kidepo valley national park Uganda

Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the best savanna parks in Uganda situated in North Eastern corner of Uganda the pearl of Africa in border with Kenya and South Sudan in Kabong district. Kidepo valley national park is mainly filled with rugged open tree Savannah, stunning valleys and mountain Morungole ranges. Kidepo Valley National Park was first established as a game reserve in 1958 and later on turned into a park in 1962 and is managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) the managing board for all protected parks in Uganda. Kidepo valley national park covers a land area of 1,442km² at an altitude between 3,278 ft to7, 707ft above the sea level. Kidepo valley national park thrills with semi- arid climatic conditions with a dry months running from  the months of September, October, November, December, January, February, and March which are yet the best months for wildlife viewing safari as the roads be very dry and easily passable. However, the wet/ rainy months run from the months of April, May, June, July and August which are the best months for birding safaris.

Fauna and flora of Kidepo valley national park Uganda

Fauna: Kidepo valley national park thrills with a wide range of fauna species that includes a huge population of Mammals such as Elephants, Giraffes, Buffaloes, Uganda kob, cheetah, Lions, jackals, Rhinos, Hippos, Zebras, antelope, dik-dik, leopard, wild dogs, greater and lesser kudu, Hyenas, fox, Wildebeests, Rhinos, Jackson’s hartebeest, eland, aardwolf, reedbuck and many more that thrill in this beautiful savanna national park. The best way to view mammals in Kidepo valley national park is by taking up a game drive to different parts of the park especially during dry months between November and March where most of the mammals are spotted along water bodies than in rainy months when mammals are scattered everywhere in the park making it hard to spot them well.

Apart from mammals, Kidepo valley national park as well thrills with a large bird life of about 500 species of birds including Migratory birds, raptor birds, and many more. Amongst the birds species seen in the park include; Abyssinian roller, Pygmy falcon, Red-and-yellow barbet, little bee-eater, Karamoja Apalis, Dark chanting goshawk, Black-breasted barbet, hornbill, weaver birds,  Fox kestrel, Greater kestrel, Ostrich, and many more. The best birding months are usually during rainy months of April to August.

Flora: Kidepo valley national park thrills with the most beautiful and stunning savanna vegetation cover that comprises of ragged open savanna grassland and woodland that consists of acacia trees, desert dates and  many other plant species all providing habitats to several fauna species of the park.

Tourist attractions in Kidepo valley national park

Narus Valley and Kidepo valley: These two beautiful valleys are amongst the top tourist attractions with Kidepo valley national park each with its unique and beautiful attractions. Narus valley is one of the best viewing spot for several wildlife species in Kidepo valley national park. Narus valley thrills with the best vegetation cover that consists of short red oat grass, thatching grass, Guinea grass and different tree species such as acacia trees, drumstick trees, desert dates, palm trees, Buffalo thorn trees and many more with the best background of rolling hills and mountains. There is yet River Narus that traverse the Narus valley creating an oasis for the park thus leaving water in the pools that attract several mammals that converge along the pools in dry months to quench their thirst. Some of the mammals spotted in Narus valley include; buffaloes, giraffes, hartebeest, Oribi, reedbucks, leopards, cheetahs, lions and many more. On the other hand, Kidepo valley also consists of Kidepo River which as well creates Oasis that act as water source to different wildlife that reside in the valley during dry months. Both River Narus and River Kidepo are seasonal and usually dry off during the middle of dry season though the Oasis remains as the sources of water to wildlife. This makes it one of the best viewing spot for wildlife. 

Kanangorok Hot spring: These are yet other fascinating tourist attractions in Kidepo valley national park. The hot springs are situated in the South Sudan border in the far northern part of the park and it acts as the source of water for different wildlife in the park and offers stunning grounds for viewing Mountain ranges.

Apoka Tourism Centre: This is the center of all tourism activities in Kidepo valley national park. Apoka tourism center is situated on a stunning view overlooking Narus Valley. It’s at this tourism center that all the armed rangers, experienced UWA guides and most of the accommodations managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority are found.

Mountain Morungole ranges: These Mountains are the habitats of the IK people who are the minority group of people in Uganda the pearl of Africa. These mountains can be hiked by travelers who wish to visit the IK people.

Namamukweny Valley: This Valley is one of the best birding spot in Kidepo valley national park situated far in the North western part of the park.

Tourist activities in Kidepo Valley national park

Kidepo valley national park is one of the un-spoilt national park in Uganda is least visited due to its remoteness. However, the park offers plenty of tourist activities which include; 

Game drive safaris in Kidepo valley national park: Like any other savanna park, Kidepo valley national park offers the best game drive safaris with a golden opportunity of spotting as many wildlife species as possible. Kidepo valley offers a full day game viewing safari starting early in the morning, afternoon and evening game drives. A 4×4 safari vehicle is crucial for the game drive since some parts of the park are muddy especially during the rainy months to avoid getting stuck while on an adventure.

Guided nature walks and hikes: Guided nature walks and hikes are yet other fascinating activities enjoyed while on a Uganda safari to Kidepo valley national park. One may opt to hike up Morungole Mountains to spend time with the IK people.

Birding in Kidepo valley national park: Kidepo valley national park is one of the important Birding Area (IBA) where plenty of bird species are spotted. The major birding spot in the park are around Apoka Rest Camp, in Namamukweny Valley, Narus and many other parts of the park. During birding safari, look out for different bird species including Purple Heron, Abyssinian Roller, Ground Hornbill, Francolin, Egyptian Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle, Ostrich, Pygmy Falcon  and many more.

Getting to Kidepo valley national park

Kidepo valley national park can be accessed either by road or by air depending on one’s wish.

By road, getting to Kidepo valley national park by road requires one to drive from Kampala/ Entebbe to the park with an overnight along the way either in Gulu or in Kitgum though some travelers tend to spend a full tiring day driving to get to the park in one day.

By Air, travelers who intend to get to Kidepo valley national park take a flight either from Entebbe international airport or from Kajansi airstrip to the park.

Where to stay in Kidepo valley national park

While on a Uganda safari to Kidepo valley national park, you have options of accommodation facilities ranging between budget, Mid-rage and Luxury. Some of these accommodations include; Apoka Safari Lodge, Nga ‘Moru Wilderness Camp, Apoka Rest Camp, Kidepo Savannah lodge and many more.