Kidepo Valley National Park is found in rocky, semi-arid valleys on Uganda’s borders with Kenya and Sudan which takes about 700km from Kampala. Kidepo national park was established as a national park as in 1962, it has abundance of variety of game and hosts around 475 bird species and 77 mammals.
Kidepo valley national park is one of the most Uganda’s isolated park, although the few tourists that have been able to travel that long journey north through the wild borderline areas of Karamoja would accept that it is also the most wonderful, for Kidepo grades among Africa’s best wildernesses. From Apoka, in the center of the park, Savannah scenery ranges far past the preserved area, towards horizons bordered by detached mountain ranges.
In the dry seasons, the only everlasting water body in the park is found in wetlands and remnant ponds in the comprehensive Narus Valley close to Apoka. During these seasonal oases, together with the open, Savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s main game viewing location.
Before the establishment of this national park in 1958 by the British colonial government, it was an inhabitant for the local pastoralists (Dodoth) and local famers(IK famers)occupied the area and they could graze their domestic animals in the region at the same time carry out their human activities, later after the coming of the British in Uganda the area was being preserved in-order to protect wild animals that were being hunt down and also to clear the bush to reduce on the number of tsetse flies that had become a problem to human beings.
The park was officially established and named Kidepo valley national park in 1962.new management team was also formed and the chief warden was Ian Ross who was later succeeded by Ugandan Paul Sali.
Climate and When to Visit
Kidepo receives an annual rainfall of 800mm. The extensive rainy season starts from February to June and little rains begins from September to December, leaving three months of dry The rains are rather unpredictable, but the rainiest months are commonly in April and November and the hottest months in July and August. The average temperature is 27.5°C with day-to-day deviations from 21.5°C to 34°C.
The best time for game drives is the dry season where you find most of the animals are focused near water bodies. Throughout the rainy seasons, animals scatter from the valleys, and in the dry seasons, transfer to higher on top of the valleys where they can be hardly seen. ,
Areas of Interest
Apoka Tourism Centre
Overseeing the game-rich Narus Valley and home-based to an high-class lodge and modest UWA-run cottages, Apoka is the park’s tourism center. Ranger guides are based at Apoka to ` accompany tourists on game drives and walks. The park has trucks can be hired. There is a craft shop with souvenirs, books. Plus shops where one can get sodas, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages can also be purchased here. Food can be prepared on request made, utensils and cooking can be borrowed by individuals who wish to cook for themselves.
Narus Valley is systematic, savannah plain surrounded by detached mountains. The valley has everlasting water, and for much of the year the park’s wildlife assembles here. Thus, the area is well provided with game tracks, with four ring trails sightseeing the valley around Apoka. Many wild animals such as buffaloes, lion’s hartebeest, giraffes, oribi, Jackson’s and reedbucks can be viewed in the valley. Fewer frequently observed are the leopards and cheetahs. The Narus dam and the water hole next to the Tourism Centre are the best observation points for wildlife, particularly during the dry season. At the southern close of the Katurum ring, Katurum kopje (the site of a neglected lodge) is an nice-looking destination with excellent outlooks in the north across the valley on the way to the Morungule mountain range.
Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
For many years, unavailability of water means that little wildlife is found in Kidepo Valley, however it is quiet worth to drive and visit the dry Kidepo River to wander long its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks sheltered with borassus palms. Kidepo means to pick from below and the valley was visited by people coming to collect dropped borassus fruit for agitating to make palm beer. The Kanangorok Hot Springs is 11km away from Kidepo River on the Sudan border. This is a magnificent site to relax as you see mountains beyond their boards.
Mount Morungole attitudes at 2,750m and is intersected by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers that feed the park’s wildlife and this natural home as a unabridged. The Morungole Range grades the southern borderline of the park and upsurges from the grasslands a few kilometers northeast of Apoka. This region can be visited on foot with a ranger. The mountain hills are habitant to the IK people, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with their own unique culture.
Namamukweny is a Napore word that’s means a place with no birds or a isolated place with few people however concerning the birds, quite the reverse is right. The valley is occupied by a big sum of bird species such as the White-crested Turaco Eastern Paradise Whydah, , Abyssinian Roller , Common Bulbul and Green Wood Hoopoe among others. It is situated in the north-west of the park and can be retrieved by car or on foot.
The Lomej Hills is found near the headquarters a short drive. They are a virtuous looking point for wildlife and birds together with the mountain reedbuck.
The mountain lies between Kitgum and the Sudan boundary, Lonyili Mountain is basically enclosed in montane forest and inhabitant to primates such as colobus monkeys. Because of the bad conditions in this area the road is presently out of use. Though very soon the road swill be under reconstruction soon.
The park can be accessed by air and road, 4x4a vehicles are highly recommended. Below are routes to Kidepo national park.
Flying to Kidepo can be organized Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aero club, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take roughly 2 hours. The Civil Aviation Authority has a proposal to make Lomej airfield nearby Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.
Currently there are no flights to Apoka.
Roads that pass west of Lake Kyoga through Acholi land are mainly two.one starts from Kampala covering a distance of 571 kilometers and takes about 10 hours. And this is shortest route that goes through Karuma, Gulu, and Kotido and reach Kidepo. The second road also departs from Kampala and this takes 12 hour drive and 705kilometers to reach the park. This is the longest route and it goes through karuma, lira, Kotido, Kaabong to Kidepo national park.
ACTIVITIES IN KIDEPO NATIONAL PARK.
Game Drives in Kidepo Valley
Animals are greatest vigorous activity carried out in the Narus Valley through timely daylights and late afternoon at around 6am to 4pm are finest times to go for game drives. You are recommended to use a ranger at most times; they will help you spot some of the park’s animals such as lions that are found on the top of the astounds. Other wildlife in the park is leopards, elephants, bushbuck, bush duiker, jackal, bush pig, Kavirondo bush baby, buffalo and so many others.
Kidepo Valley Scenic Drive
though wildlife is rare in the dry Kidepo Valley, the long drive to Kanangorok Hot Springs passes via some splendid sceneries. North of Apoka, outside the river crossing, the road goes through rock outcrops and hills before sliding down into the Kidepo Valley, crossing the Kidepo Sand River and navigating open grasslands that spreads beyond Kanangorok Hot Springs towards mountains across the Sudanese boundary. Ostriches are commonly viewed here.
Birding in Kidepo Valley
Apoka Rest Camp is a countless spot to start birding in Kidepo. Birding experience can also be done on the borders of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys. Some of the birds that are viewed here include, Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, Abyssinian, Clapperton’s Francolin Ground Hornbill and other bird species. Bird watching is more preferred in the morning and late evening.
Hiking/Nature Walks in Kidepo Valley
The Lomej Mountains can be accessed on foot for about 4 hours, hiking starts at 7am early in the morning. Smaller guided walks of about 2 hours can be taken through the Narus Valley lengthening over a 5km radius from Apoka Tourism Centre.
Tourists can also walk along the impressive Kidepo River Valley between banks of striking borassus palm forest. Namamkweny Valley can be accessed within 1 hour from Apoka. Tourists can also meet members of the IK tribe during programmed hikes to the Morungole Mountains which is found outside the park.
WITHIN THE PARK
Apoka Safari Lodge
Apoka Rest Camp
Kakine Self-catering Campsites
OUTSIDE THE PARK
Nga Moru Wilderness Camp