Kidepo Valley National Park Activities : Kidepo Valley National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is renowned as the untouched wilderness located in the Northeastern region of Uganda in the semi-arid region of Karamoja, approximately less than 12 drive. Alternatively, can be accessed by the chartered or scheduled domestic flight ‘’Aerolink Uganda or Bar Aviation from Entebbe International Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to fly you to lomej Airstrip. More to that, Kidepo Valley National Park gazette into a national park in 1958, and currently covers an area of about 1442 square kilometers habitat to a diversity of wildlife species over 86 mammals like wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebra, African buffalo ,bat-eared foxes , Rothschild’s giraffes, spotted hyenas ,lions ,cheetah, leopards among many and 500 bird species among others. However, the park is one of the least visited parks in the country due to its long journey drive but remains among the most popular and true African wilderness on Uganda Safari. For that great reason, CNN Travel ranked it as one of Africa’s best parks with the most beautiful landscape.
More so, Kidepo Valley National Park is comprised of two main biomes that are; savannah -acacia grassland in the Narus Valley which is found in the southern area of the park, and semi–arid short grass area in the northern Kidepo Valley. Generally, Kidepo sits in dry areas that experience only one rainy season April –September. More then, the park has two useful rivers –Kidepo and Narus both of which flow water during the rainy season. During the long dry season, water can only be found in wetlands and remnants pools in the Narus Valley.
Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park
Interestingly, Kidepo Valley National Park is a great home to the biomass of animals and supports the biodiversity of mammals to over 86 animal species and 28 of them cannot be found in any other park in Uganda including; Stripped Hyenas, Aardwolf, Cheetah, Bat-eared Fox, hunting dog are carnivore species unique to Karamoja region and are found within the park. Still, the park hosts 5 species of primates such as the Kavirondo Bush Baby very rare in the area. The park also harbors a variety of rare ungulates including the Greater and Lesser Kudu, Klipspringer, Chandlers Mountain Reedbuck, Bright Gazelle, Beisa Oryx, Dikdik, and Roan antelopes among others. Kidepo is also home to small crocodiles with a maximum length of 2.5 meters compared to the Nile crocodile which raises 4m. Their small size is a result of the limited food availability in the area.
The common animals to explore in the Kidepo Valley National Park includes; Zebra, Bush pigs, Eland, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Oribis, Lion, Leopard, spotted hyena, Black-backed and Side-backed Jackal, herds of buffalos, and elephants among others.
Commonly spotted bird species in Kidepo includes; Ostriches, Rufous chatterer, Rose-throated bee-eater, Pygmy falcon, Karamoja Apalis, Greater kestrel, Golden pipit, Fox Kestrel, Chestnut weaver, Abyssinian scimitar bill, Black-breasted barbet among many.
Activities to do on a visit to Kidepo Valley National Park
Game drive /Game viewing
Game drives in Kidepo Valley national park are more rewarding while driving along Narus valley since it’s a watered area that supports wildlife species, especially in the dry season. Visitors are recommended to use a 4×4 wheel for clear views of herbivores grazing in the open savanna plains. Lions and other cats are often viewed on the top of rocks and Kopjes looking out for food-prey in the vast plains.
The best time for the game drive is in the early morning hours when herbivores animals can be seen grazing and during morning hours the cats are on the hunt. The afternoon game drives are also the best time to see a large number of animals gathering around the water source.
Game viewing can also be done along Kidepo Valley where you expect to enjoy the sand bed river, especially during the dry seasons. The sand bed harbors palm trees and attracts various bird species.
Visitors here, it’s advisable to visit the northern area in the morning as the afternoon is unbearably hot and the area experiences more of tsetse flies. If you cross the sand bed river, you will get to view the thrilling Kanangorok Hot Springs where you enjoy the beautiful landscape and can also stun near the springs which the local people believe have charming powers.
The Sandbed along River Kidepo
The sand bed during the dry season on river Kidepo can very rewarding. One can enjoy the wilderness experience while listening to the sweet melodies of different bird calls.
The Kidepo river is a fitful sand river found in the northern part of the park. This is because the sand is lined by Borasus palms which make it appear like an oasis in the Sahara.
Birding in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National park ranks as one of Uganda’s best birding sites on Uganda’s birding safari destination. The park boasts more than 500 bird species. The most sought-after birds here include Black-breasted Barbet and the Karamoja Apalis, Ostriches and it’s a great location to see prey birds with 58 bird species recorded in the area, Kidepo Valley National Park Activities
Guided Nature walks
The guided nature walks in the park can be done around Apoka camp at any time of the day and visitors can sightsee various animals like Zebra, Elephants, Reedbuck, Buffalo many more. In the Kidepo there are stunning trails and circuits which visitors follow on a walk and be able to view species at close range and enjoy the beautiful wilderness and best done in the early morning.
Visit the IK Tribe –Climbing Mount Morungole
Visitors to the park who engage in trekking on Morungole Mountain can be able to reach out to the IK tribe where they will enjoy their beautiful lifestyle, and their unique settlements as well as learn their unique migratory history.
Karamojong Community Tour
On a visit to kidepo, you can enjoy the Karamojong culture tour by visiting their traditional houses called manyatta and their setting of homesteads, traditional handcraft stools, traditional dances, and hand bungles from beads.
Note; A traveler you are advised to design an itinerary combined with a visit to Kidepo –for a wildlife safari with a visit to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park for Gorilla trekking safari which goes with a valid permit costs USD700 per person per day.
Accommodations in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the top attractive safari destinations in Uganda for wildlife viewing though it’s less visited due to its long driving journey. Moreso, the park hosts excellent and comfortable accommodations ranging from budget, Mid-range, and Luxury.
Budget – UWA Bandas
Mid-range – Kidepo Savannah Lodge
Luxury –Apoka Safari Lodge