The Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular national parks. Located in Uganda’s remote north-eastern corner, some 700km from Kampala and tucked between the borders with Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo Valley is our most isolated park. Lying in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of Karamoja province, the Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks.
It covers 1,442 square kilometers and harbors scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. ‘It could not be any better’ is a common comment on the scenery by visitors who often promise and do come back to Kidepo. Tucked into the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, the park offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes, which end in rugged horizon. A huge latitudinal range and correspondingly wide climatic conditions have evolved an extremely diverse flora.
As a result the variety of animal species in the park is equally abundant including many which are found no where else in Uganda. Kidepo Valley National park is Uganda ‘s best safari destination for taking wildlife safaris / game viewing tours. It harbours scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa as well as great numbers of wild animals, birds and plant species. The park contains one of the most exciting faunas of any Uganda’s national park with 77 species of mammal, several of which are (in Uganda) restricted to the Kidepo and Karamoja region. Localized carnivores include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal and cheetah. Other carnivores present are lion, leopard, and spotted hyena. 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 large ungulates include elephant, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Rothschild’s giraffe, Cape buffalo, eland, bushbuck, bush duiker, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribi. Five species of primates are found in the park including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby.
In terms of bird life, the park boasts an extensive bird list of 463 species confirmed and 26 unconfirmed- second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note, at least in a Ugandan context, are the ostrich, kori bustard, secretary bird, carmine, little green and red-throated bee eaters, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Abyssinian roller and Abyssinian scimitar bill, 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. There has however been no comprehensive survey of birds in Kidepo and visitors stand a good chance of adding to the current list.
The vegetation can best be described as open tree Savannah which varies much in structure and composition. Mountain forest dominates some of the high places, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest. The flora and fauna of the park are more typical of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The landscape throughout the park is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs from which one can obtain stunning views in all directions.
Things to Do in Kidepo Valley National Park
Hiking can be carried out on Lamoj Mountains just a few kilometers from the Park Headquarters. Visitors can also go to view the splendid Kidepo River Valley dominated by Borassus palm forest; its wide flat bed is dry for most of the year. From Kidepo Valley, you may also visit the Kanangorok Hot Springs, which are located only 11 km from Kidepo river valley.
The mountain and Savannah landscape of the park is spectacular. The Narus valley is situated in the South West of the park; the rugged Napore-Nyagia mountain range forms its western boundary. Separating it from the Kidepo Valley in the northeast, are the Natira and Lokayot Hills. To the north in the Sudan are the Lotukei mountains and the Morungole range marks the southern boundary of the park. To add flavor to your visit to Kidepo River, a visit to the picnic site located on the sand is spectacular. The sound of palm leaves in constant motion in the wind and glimpses of wild game is thrilling. The walking safaris are an absolute pleasure and an unforgettable experience.
Local Community Tours
The local community has a group of cultural entertainers who on request are always available to perform. The performers have a large menu for you, traditional dances such as the Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia, ethnic groups and Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi are waiting for you. The money that this group earns is used for uplifting their welfare. If you are interested in increasing your knowledge on African culture, visits to the Karimajong manyattas (homesteads) and probably kraals to see traditional costume, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows and arrows and jewelry can be arranged. Visitors who choose to follow the Soroti-Moroto road will be enthralled by the view of the steep volcano of Alekilek about midway Moroti and Soroti. And for those who take the Lira-Kotido road will enjoy the scenery of the Labwor hills and in particular the massive and bare Alerek (Kidi Rwot) rock about 55 km to Kotido.