Although it carries the status as Uganda’s most isolated national park, Kidepo Valley National Park is most rewarding for the safari-goer who ventures to this wilderness area. It lies in the Karamoja region in the northeast of the country and occupies an area nearly 1 500 square kilometers.
The park is bordered in the northwest by South Sudan while it also shares a boundary with Kenya and the Kidepo Game Reserve. The waters of the Kidepo and Narus Rivers glistens brightly while the valleys that flow from them team with unique fauna and flora. Wetlands and remaining pools are main source of liquid for the park’s inhabitants.
Mount Morungole stands in the centre where it rises to 2 750 meters. The rest of the landscape consists of savannah with other mountain ranges visible in the distance.
There are several local tribes that make a living outside the park. They are the pastoral Karamojong people and the hunter-gather tribe, the IK.
Getting to and from the park can be done with relative ease. Chartered flights are available from Kampala and Entebbe to Kidepo while the drive is utterly scenic. Be aware though that road conditions may require the use of a 4×4.
The best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park and go on a safari, is during the dry season in July and August.
Several localised species are carving out an existence in the Kidepo Valley National Park, including cheetah, bat-eared fox, stripped hyena and caracal. A sight that will undoubtedly delight visitors are the tree-climbing lions. Mountain reedbucks, Burchell’s zebra, Rothschild giraffe, bushbucks, buffalo and elephants account for some of the other 77 mammal species.
An extensive bird list counting more than 475 species makes the park only second to the Queen Elizabeth National Park when it comes to the feathered kind. These include the kori bustard, secretary bird, ostrich as well as red throated bee eaters, Abyssinian ground hornbills and birds of prey like the Verreaux eagle and Egyptian vulture.
The best time to visit Kidepo Valley National Park and go on a safari, is during the dry season in July and August. The longer rain season lasts from February till June with the shorter rains occurring between September and December. Temperatures can reach as high as 40 degrees Celsius during the day and dips to around 17 degrees Celsius at nigh.
There are countless safari activities apart from game viewing and bird watching that visitors to Kidepo Valley National Park can partake in. A hike to the Lomej mountains and walks in the Kidepo River Valley will give a different perspective of the natural world. A visit to the Lorokul cultural group just outside the park provides visitors a glimpse into the world of the local tribes.
There are a handful of eco-friendly accommodations to suit backpackers and the middle range budget. On the higher end of the scale some of the finest luxury lodges can be found in and around Kidepo Valley National Park.