Kidepo Valley National Park is located in Northeast Uganda in Karamoja region, stretching to cover 1,442 square kilometers. The park is largely dominated by mount Morungole and is transected by Narus and Kidepo rivers which normally dry up to become mere pools of water during the dry season.
The park is rated as one of Africa’s finest wildernesses, it’s ragged terrain and semi-arid valleys are a habitat to big game and a home to more than 80 mammal species as well as over 475 bird species. The park is the ideal safari destination for satiating game drives, hikes and nature walks.
The uniqueness of Kidepo
Situated within the park, Kidepo Valley is dry for most of the year, a fact that results to a lesser wildlife population. However a drive through this valley is still worthwhile since it offers you a chance to visit the dry Kidepo river, stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sands between banks. The borassus palms along the banks are beautiful to watch as they their leaves move to the aggressive rhythms of the wind. Kidepo Valley is just beautiful!
Narus Valley is famous for its greenery and permanent water supply. Throughout the varying weather and seasons in the wilderness of Kidepo, Narus Valley becomes a congregating centre for the thirsty wildlife. A game drive through the valley allows you chance to spot lions, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, wild dogs, zebras, cape buffalos, giraffes, among which is the endangered Rothschild, and bat-eared foxes.
Mount Morungole is situated in the rugged, semi-arid Karamoja province bordering South Sudan. The mountain stands at 2,750m tall and the Narus and Kidepo rivers appear as beautiful artistic drawings sketched through the mountain. The presence of the invaluable water bodies draws an innumerable number of wildlife which drink from the rivers for survival. The mountain is also a sacred place and ritual site to the karamojongs. A hike to the enchanting Mount Morungole is an exciting one.
Kanangarok hot spring
Kanangarok is a tepid hot spring found in the extreme north of Kidepo Valley National Park besides the South Sudanese boarder. The spring is the most permanent source of water in the park. When the dry seasons hit, the eminent Narus and Kidepo rivers dry up to become mere puddles from which the thirsty animals drink for survival. The Kanangarok hot spring on the other hand stands the trial of the droughts, it remains hot, boiling and flowing. A visit to Kidepo Valley National Park is an opportunity of encountering the enduring hero.
Apoka Tourism Centre
Apoka tourism centre is the hub of the eminent Kidepo Valley National Park. Overlooking the Narus Valley, the centre is the hub of activity at Kidepo. Upmarket and affordable accommodation is found at Apoko and a curio shop stocked with an assortment of African crafts and art where you can purchase a souvenir to remind you of your excursions in the Pearl of Africa. The centre is the epitome of civilisation and sanity in the crude yet beautiful wilderness.
Adventure & Activities
For a great safari experience in Kidepo, a game drive through the park is a ‘must do’ adventure. The isolated wilderness has a wealth of wildlife that is worth encountering. While driving through the park with a professional game range, you will not miss out on seeing large herds of elephants grazing, buffalos, lions – normally spotted sitting on large rocks in the valley, bush pigs, leopards, duikers, bushbucks, jackals, the beautiful ostriches and even the cherished Uganda Kob. The drive is deliberately slow and stops are made at certain places for you take photographs of the awesome wildlife.
Kidepo Valley National Park has over 475 bird species out of 58 are recorded as birds of prey and 14 thought to be endemic to Kidepo and the Karamoja region. Among these species is the pygmy falcon, Egyptian vulture and the varreaux’s eagle. The other birds to see include; the Abyssinian roller, black-breasted barbet, chestnut weaver, jackson’s hornbill, Karamoja apalis, golden pipit, white-eyed kestrel, white-bellied go-away bird, red-throated bee-eater, and the purple grenadier.
Kidepo has some of the smallest ethnic groups in the country, among which is the endangered IK tribe living in Monrungole mountains. They were the initial Northeast dwellers long before the Karamojongs inhabited the land. The tribe numbers to about a measly 10,000 people. The other people to see are the Karamojongs, a tribe of warrior pastoralists who have stuck to the old ways and jealously guard thier cattle. The core of their livelihood is their cattle, they live or die for them; cattle is the symbol of a man’s wealth and social status.
Hikes and nature walks
Kidepo Valley National Park has numerous places to go for a splendid hike and nature walk. There is the lomej mountains, the Narus Valley, the Kidepo river valley through borussus palm forests, the Narus and Kidepo rivers, a hike to Mount Morungole, and a visit to the tepid Kanangarok hot springs. Exploring Kidepo National Park is a fascinating experience not worth missing.