Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park might be the most isolated national park in Uganda, but it has placed itself on the world travel map as the most beautiful national park in the country. If you are planning to travel to Uganda amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, here are some of the reasons why you should include Kidepo national park on your 2021 Travel Checklist;

Kidepo Valley National Park

About Kidepo Valley National Park.

Also referred to as the “Masai Mara of Uganda,” Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda has been blessed with a great variety of wildlife species especially most of Africa’s Big Five which includes; lions, buffalos, leopards and elephants.

Kidepo Valley national park is located in the far northeastern part of Uganda, in Kaboong district. The national park is strategically situated on Uganda’s borders with Kenya and Sudan.

The national park spans over an area of 1,442 square kilometers and was gazetted as a national park in 1962. Aside from its stunning wildlife, other unique attractions in the national park include the 2,750 meters Mount Morungole and rivers like Kidepo and Narus. The park is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority along with nine other national parks in the country.

Kidepo national park derives its name from the Dodoth word ‘akidep’, which means ‘to pick up’ in the English. The national park was previously a game reserve in 1958 during the British colonial times, and later when it was elevated to the status of a national park, its first appointed chief warden was Ian Ross and later replaced by Paul Ssali in 1972.

Kidepo Valley national park in Uganda is home to more than 77 mammal species and about 475 species of birds. Its location in the far northern region makes it the most isolated national park in Uganda. 

Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda.

There is so much for visitors to see on a visit to Kidepo national park and these include;

  • Wildlife: Kidepo Valley National Park is the perfect destination for wildlife viewing during Uganda Safaris. The national park is home to over 77 species of mammals including; elephants, ostriches, leopards, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes and so much more.
  • Kanangorok Hot springs: The Kanangorok hot springs in Kidepo Valley national park are one of the interesting tourist attractions in the park. The hot springs are located about 11 kilometers from Kidepo River near Uganda’s border with Sudan. The water in Kanangorok hot springs boils at a temperature of about 50 degrees Celsius, which is hot enough for one to boil an egg in.
  • Kidepo Valley: The Kidepo Valley is one of the places in the park where visitors can view savannah wildlife. Wildlife in this part of the national park usually converge around the Kidepo River, a seasonal river which flows through the valley.
  • Narus Valley: The Narus Valley in Kidepo National Park is another unique attraction in the national park. This valley is dominated by the Narus River which flows through the valley and is ideal for viewing wildlife in the park.
  • Lomej Hills:  The Lomej Hills, which are found near the park’s headquarters in Apoka, are ideal for wildlife viewing, hiking and guided nature walks, as well as birding activities in the national park.
  • Mount Morungule: Mount Morungule is a 2,750 meter tall mountain located within Kidepo Valley National Park. This mountain is ideal for carrying out hiking expeditions in the park, with the highlight of the activity being a community visit to the surrounding IK communities. The IK people are a unique ethnic group in Uganda, who are believed to be the first inhabitants of this country and have a unique culture and language.
  • Apoka Tourism Center: The Apoka Tourism Center is where the headquarters of Kidepo Valley National Park are located. It is also where most of the activities in that are conducted in the national park begin.

Activities Offered in Kidepo Valley National Park.

Kidepo National Park in Uganda offers visitors a wide range of activities that you can participate in along with friends and family. These include;

Game drives: 

Game drives in Kidepo Valley National Park are conducted in the morning, evening and at night. Morning game drives in the national park commence as early as 6am and night game drives start at 6pm in the evening. Some of the wildlife animals that visitors can sight on a game drive include; zebras, buffalo, lions, leopards, giraffes, jackals, hyenas, elephants, duikers, and so many more.

Birding Watching: 

Birding in Kidepo National Park costs USD 30 dollars per person, and some of  the bird species that visitors can sight in the national park include; the Yellow-billed Shrike, Taita Fiscal, Rufous Chatterer,  the Karamoja Apalis and Ostriches to mention but a few. There are over 475 bird species in the park and about 23 species are endemic to the national park.

Hiking and Guided nature walks: 

Kidepo National Park in Uganda offers hiking and guided nature walks within the national park. Hiking expeditions in the national park start from Apoka Tourism Center and take visitors as far as the Lomej Hills and Mount Morungole. 

Community Cultural Tours:

Community Cultural tours in Kidepo national park offer visitors an opportunity to embark on a unique cultural experience during their Uganda Safaris to the park. Visitors can interact with the local people in the neighboring IK and Karamojong communities and get to learn more about their unique cultures.

Other activities carried out in Kidepo National Park include Camping.

Accommodation in Kidepo National Park.

Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley  Wildlife Species

Accessing the National Park.

Visitors planning to travel to Kidepo national park come 2021 can easily access the park by road or air. 

Travelling to Kidepo National Park by Road.

The national park can be accessed by visitors travelling from Kampala City by road. The national Park is located about 700 kilometers from Kampala via Kotido, and approximately 571 kilometers via Gulu- Kitgum. 

Travel to the Park by Air.

Alternatively, visitors can use a faster and more convenient option of traveling to Kidepo national park by air. Visitors can charter flights from Kajjansi Airfield or board domestic flights by Aerolink Aviation from Entebbe International Airport.

Conclusion: Don’t forget to include Kidepo National Park in your 2021 Travel Bucket list because this national park is a jewel in the wilderness that is worth exploring.

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