Being Africa’s best national park for spectacular landscape made of rugged mountains and flat valleys, Kidepo Valley National Park is remotely located in the North-Eastern corner of Uganda, 700km from Kampala in the Karamoja region in Kaabong district, bordering Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya. It is one of Africa’s pristine wildernesses, transected by rivers Kidepo and Narus which disappear during the dry season. The only permanent water for the wildlife in the park during the dry season is found in the wetlands and the remnant pools in the Narus valley near Apoka. It has over 77 species of mammals of which 28 are only found in this park, over 470 species of birds and over 690 plant species. Some of the attractions found in this park include the Narus valley, kidepo valley, mountain Morongole, Kanangorok hot springs, Apoka tourism center, Lonyili mountains and wildlife for example Some hyenas, greater and lesser kudu, the roan antelope, African elephants, zebras, lions and many others. There are also many surrounding accommodation facilities like safari lodges for example Apoka lodge, Apoka Rest Camp and Nga’Moru wilderness Camp and many others.
Activities in Kidepo national park
Bird watching in Kidepo valley is a very interesting experience with many great spots like the Apoka Rest Camp and the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny valleys. The activity can be done both in the morning and evening according to one’s preference. Kidepo valley national park has Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds for example the Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apalis, and the Purple Heron, Abyssinian Roller and Clapperton’s Francolon only found in this park. Other bird species include African-pied Hornbills, the Golden Pipit, Ring-necked Spur fowl, yellow and Red Spotted Barbet, Fox’s weaver, Piapiac, Red-winged lark, Black-rumped Waxbill and many others.
Hiking & nature walks.
This is an exciting experience with a four hours’ hike to the Lomej mountains that starts at 7:00a.m and also other shorter guided walks of around two hours through the Narus valley extending to over a 5km radius from Apoka tourism Centre. The hikers can also take leisurely walks through the Narus valley and also get a chance to meet the endangered Ik people.
These are done through the magnificent landscapes to the Kanangorok hot springs, crossing the Kidepo sand river and also traversing the open plains past the Kanangorok hot springs towards the mountains across the Sudanese border where ostriches are seen mostly. Other wildlife species seen within the park include the striped hyena, bush bucks, elephants, warthogs, bush pigs, bush duskier, lions and many others. These can be spotted with the help of a game ranger. This park has less vehicular traffic which greatly enhances the game experience.
Cultural encounters/community tours.
Here the tourists get a chance to meet the villagers neighboring the park for example the Karamojong people where they get to learn how to make their distinctive beads, meet the Karamojong king who narrates their beliefs and customs and also see their traditional way of dressing. These communities also possess teams of cultural entertainers who offer performances with a wide range of traditional dances and songs on the request of the tourists.