Kidepo Valley National Park is arguably Uganda’s only virgin wilderness area! It is isolated in extreme Northeastern Uganda. This virgin protected area stands outs of the ordinary destinations as one of the few most magical wilderness paradises in the world. It was gazetted as a national park in 1962 and it features as Uganda’s 3rd largest national park, occupying 1442sq.kms of land.
Kidepo Valley National Park is set in the rugged, semi-arid valley Karamoja area bordering South Sudan and Kenya. Its straddles between elevation 914 and 2750 meters. The park consists of 2 scenic rivers; Narus and Kidepo River.
Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the extensive Uganda safari parks yet remains the least explored destinations thus offering tourists authentic wilderness experiences. It shelters an estimate of 77 mammals and it is undoubtedly a famous big game viewing safari destination.
The numerous wildlife species in this park include African bush elephants, buffaloes, lions, cheetahs, leopards, antelopes such as defassa water bucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, bush bucks, duikers, elands, oribis; primates like Kavirondo bush baby; the endangered Rothschild giraffes, greater and lesser kudu, jackals, spotted hyenas, zebras to mention but a few.
Birdlife of Kidepo Valley National Park
Over 475 bird species are confined in different habitats of Kidepo Valley National Park making it one of the best birding safari parks in Uganda and East Africa. They include among others the yellow billed hornbill, giant Abyssinian ground hornbill, pygmy falcon, Egyptian vulture, Karamoja apalis, purple heron, Clapperton’s Francolin, black coucal, eastern paradise whydah, broad tailed warblers, superb starling, ostriches, greater kestrel, Kori bustards, golden pipit, black breasted barbet, red cheeked cordon bleu, rufous crowned roller, Jackson’s hornbill, yellow billed shrike, black headed plover, violet tipped courser, steel blue whydahs and others.
Activities to do in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the best Uganda safari parks worth visiting for a game drive. With over 77 mammal species confined in this savanna parks, you stand a chance to sight diversity of savanna dwellers ranging from elephants, buffaloes, zebras, Rothschild giraffes, birds, antelopes, cheetahs, leopards, lions and others.
Kidepo Valley National Park is an outstanding birding paradise with over 475 bird species. While on Uganda safari, the birds to expect to spot out include giant Abyssinian ground hornbill, pygmy falcon, Egyptian vulture, Karamoja apalis, purple heron, Clapperton’s Francolin, black coucal, eastern paradise whydah, broad tailed warblers, superb starling, ostriches, greater kestrel, Kori bustards, golden pipit, black breasted barbet, red cheeked cordon bleu, rufous crowned roller, common bulbul, Jackson’s hornbill, yellow billed shrike, black headed plover, violet tipped courser, steel blue whydahs.
Guided nature walks/hiking
A nature walk in and around this park exposes you to its diverse wildlife species in various habitats. Kidepo Valley National Park is extensive with variety for you to explore. Some of the best areas to expect to visit on a guided nature walk/hiking include Lamoj hills, Mount Morungole, Kidepo River Valley and Namamkweny Valley. The nature walking trails offer excellent view of the park’s surrounding areas including the Narus Valleys; wildlife, birds and a lot more.
Kidepo Valley National Park stands out as a premier Uganda safari park not only for exciting game viewing but also for authentic African experiences. The 2 tribes worth interacting with while on Uganda tour in this park include Karamojong and the IK. The Karamojong are known as nomadic pastoralists and the IK live high on Mount Morungole. While on cultural tour in these tribes’ community, you will be entertained by their amazing dances, music performances and also explore their traditions, norms and a lot more.
Best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park
Visits to Kidepo Valley National Park are possible at anytime of the year. But bird watching is ideal from March to April and November, when most of the migratory birds can be spotted. Game drives in this conservancy area are perfectly done during the dry season starting from June to September and December to February.
Best places to stay in Kidepo Valley National Park
The best places for stay on Uganda safari in Kidepo Valley National Park include Apoka Safari Lodge (Luxury), Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp (Mid-range), Apoka Rest Camp (Budget), Kidepo Savanna Lodge and wilderness camping at Kakine Self-Catering Campsite.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is accessible by road or by air. By road, there are many routes leading to this park but you will spend about 10-12 hours driving. Tourists on Uganda safari can start driving from Kampala through Gulu (about 12 hours’ drive), from Moroto to the park offices about 220kms. By air, fly from Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe airport to Apoka airstrip or Lomej airstrip.