- Found in Northeast Uganda bordering Kenya and Sudan covering 1442 sq km.
- Referred to as Uganda’s most remote national park in the semi–arid valley of Karamoja region.
- Over 475 species including East Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apallis.
To do list: Game drives, Visiting Kanangarok Hot Springs, Birding, Hiking Mt. Morungule, Cultural trip meeting the IK/Karimojong Tribes Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species. Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, albeit it’s most magnificent, for its among Africa’s finest wildernesses.
During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley. These seasonal oases, combined with the open savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location as all wildlife congregates around the precious water point- attracting predators as well.
Among the animals of Kidepo are 28 species found in no other Ugandan National park. These are: the Bat eared Fox, Klipspringer, Carcal, Strait Hyena and Cheetah. Other mammals in Kidepo include Buffaloes, Bohor Reedbuck, Zebra, Spotted Hyena, lion, leopard and Waterbuck. Oribis are common in the Narus valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s DikDik. Senegal Galago and Ostriches. Side-striped Jackal may be found around Apoka at night. White-tailed Mongoose are common but more likely to be found on a night drive. The park also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna that include dwarf crocodiles.
The birds in Kidepo include: Ostriches that are not found in any other park in the country save in Pian Upe Game Reserve located in the same Karamoja region. The list of special birds includes: Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Stone Partridge, Kori, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, African Swallow-tailed Kite, White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-bellied Go-away bird Four-banded Sand Grouse, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars, Eastern Yellow and Jackson’s Hornbills, Pygmy Fox Kestrel, Falcon, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Abyssinian Ground, White-crested Turaco, Clapperton’s and Heuglin’s Francolins, Violet-tipped Courser, Black-headed Plover, Singing Bush Lark, White-faced Scoops Owl, Little Green Bee-eater, Pied, Isabelline and Heuglin’s Wheaters, African Grey Flycatcher, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, White-bellied Tit, Northern White-crowned and Yellow-billed Shrikes, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Superb Starling, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbirds, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Red-winged Lark, Foxy and Red pate Cisticolas, Green-winged Orange-winged and Red-winged Pytilias, White-browed and Chestnut- crowned Sparrow Weavers, Grey-capped Social and Speckle-fronted Weavers, White-headed and White-billed Buffalo Weavers, Ethiopian Swallow, Karamoja Apalis, Brown-rumped Bunting, Steel-blue and Strawtailed Whydahs, Red billed Oxpecker, Black-bellied and Black-faded Waxbill, Eastern Violet backed and Yellow-spotted Petronia.
Other resident birds are: Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, African Moustached and Broad-tailed Warblers, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbill may be seen in the rank grass along the normally dry stream bed adjacent to camp or along the track to Apoka lodge.
Community and Culture
The Karimojong tribe are found in North-Eastern part of Uganda ( Karamoja) where Kidepo is located. A visit to the community helps you to learn about the closed culture of the Karimojong as the tribe is called. The Karimojong, who are traditionally conservative have tried to resist external influences on their nomadic lifestyle but are now torn tradition and modernity. They stay in communal enclosed traditional homesteads called “Manyattas. They wear colourful attire and decorate their faces with tattoos. Its worth taking their portraits and photographing their dances especially Edonga where dancers compete for the highest leap in the air. The cultural trip fee contributes to putting up essential facilities in the region like clinics. Up in the Mulongole Mountains live the IK, one of Uganda’s smallest and marginalized tribes.
Kampala – Karuma – Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo = 571km (10 hours) Kampala – Mbale – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 740km (12 hours) Kampala – Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kotido – Kabong – Kidepo = 792km (13 hours) Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority plans to make Lomej airstrip near Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.