ABOUT KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda‘s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species. It covers 1,442 square kilometers. The park consists of the two major valley systems of the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. The national park derives her name from the Kidepo valley. In the indigenous community dialect, Kidepo loosely translates “to pick” from under.
The Kidepo valley is also famous for scenic borassus palm trees; a delicacy of elephants as well as indigenous communities, that are beautifully scattered all through the valley. In the extreme north of the park, in Lotukei, South Sudanese boundary, lies Kanangorok also spelled Kananorok, a tepid hot spring. This spring is the most permanent source of water in the park.
CLIMATE IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley National Park is a semi arid region with average annual temperatures of 290C. In extreme cases, day
temperatures get to 400C. The Park receives one season of rains per year from April to September. The soil in the park is clayey. In the Kidepo Valley, black chalky clay and sandy-clay loam predominate, while the Narus Valley has freer-draining red clays and loams. The combination of climate and types of soils therefore influence the vegetation patterns in the entire Kidepo Valley National Park.
The vegetation of the park is diverse with grey-haired acacia, savannah woodland that emerges in the south and into a fire climax grassland, tree and shrub steppe which slowly transcends into bush lands with forests on the Mountain slopes.
WILDLIFE AND BIRDS OF KIDEPO VALLEY IDEPO NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley national park has arguably the most diverse savannah fauna of any park in Uganda. The Karamoja region has in excess of 80 mammal species and travelers on tour into the Kidepo Valley National Park have high opportunities of spotting a wide range of them. 28 of the mammal species are endemic to only the Karamoja. Travelers have the opportunity to spot amongst others; Lions, Cheetah, Leopard, Mane less Zebras, Kudus, Buffalos, Oryx, Gazelle, Elephants, Giraffes, Elands, roan Antelopes, striped Hyenas, Jackals, Hyenas, Zebras, Reedbucks, Waterbucks, Uganda Kobs, Nile Crocodiles, Duikers and many others. Kidepo Park has about 480 recorded species, the second-highest total of any Ugandan protected area, after Queen Elizabeth National Park (IBA UG007). It is also the only IBA located entirely within the Somali–Masai biome.
ACTIVITIES IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
- Game Viewing – The Park supports a wonderful variety of animal species in comparison to other parks. Therefore, travelers on tour in Kidepo National Park have opportunity to spot amongst others; lions, cheetah, leopard, mane less zebras, kudus, buffalos, Oryx, gazelle, elephants, giraffes and elands among others.
- Hiking – The hiking safari into the Kidepo valley is an opportunity to explore the beautiful sand banks surrounded with magnificent borassus palm forests. Hiking is normally conducted just a couple of Kilometers from the headquarters of the park on the on Lamoj Mountains.
- Nature walks – The walk can be done around Apoka Camp at any time of the day and visitors can view different species of animals at a close range like elephants, Bulbul, Zebras and reed bucks at the eastern kakine circuit.
- Birding – Kidepo valley national park is an Important Birding Area in Uganda with close to 450
bird species. It is also a dream Uganda tour destination for bird watchers. A dozen out of the 50 birds of prey species in Uganda are endemic in the Karamoja region. The birding safaris in Kidepo valley national park have high possibilities of sighting famous Ostriches, Abyssinian roller, Verreaux’s eagle, Yellow-billed hornbill, Egyptian vulture, Kori bustard, Pygmy falcon, Karamoja apalis, Jackson’s hornbill and many other species.
- Cultural Experiences – Uganda is a country with great cultural diversity. There are over 55 ethnic tribes that exist in Uganda and visitors can get to explore and learn more about these unique cultures during a cultural encounter or a community cultural tour.
ATTRACTIONS IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
- Narus Valley – Narus valley is one of the stunning tourism attractions that is located in Kidepo valley national park. Narus valley in Karamoja means a valley with a soggy or muddy environment. Visitors in Narus valley for game drives will explore different bird species in large numbers. They include the ostrich and woodpecker. Many creatures such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, oribis and reedbucks live in the valley.
- Kidepo Valley – Kidepo means to pick from below and the valley was visited by people coming to gather fallen borassus fruit for fermenting to make palm beer. The Kanangorok Hot Springs lie 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border. This is also a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier.
- Lomej Hills – The Lomej Hills are a short drive from the headquarters. They are also a good viewing point for
birds and wildlife, including the mountain reedbuck.
- Mount Morungule – The Morungole Range marks the southern boundary of the park and also rises from the plains a few kilometers northeast of Apoka. You can explore this region on foot with a ranger. The mountain slopes are also home to the IK people. They are the smallest ethnic group in Uganda with their own unique culture.
- Namamukweny Valley – The valley is inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller and Green Wood Hoopoe among others. You can access the park on foot or by car.
- Apoka Tourism Centre – Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. Ranger guides are also stationed at Apoka to escort tourists on game drives and walks. You can also hire safari vehicles here if you don’t have one.
ACCOMMODATION IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Just like any other park, the lodges and hotels here are also in three categories – Budget, mid-range and Luxury. All the hotels and lodges are strategically located within the park. Although Kidepo Valley Park has fewer accommodation options compared to the other large parks in Uganda, we foresee more individuals and companies investing in lodges, campsites and hotels.