Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the best virgin places everyone good at wildlife viewing can visit while on a safari in Uganda. The national park was gazette in 1962 and has an area cover of 1,442 square kilometers. The national park is a home to 75 mammal species and over 470 bird species and these can be spotted while on a game drive within the national park while on a Uganda safari.
This is a rolling, grassland plain that is enclosed by distant mountains. The valley has permanent water and animals converge at the valley to drink water. Therefore the area has game tracks with loop circuits to explore the valley. Animals such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, oribis and giraffes are spotted in the valley and the less spotted are the cheetahs and leopards.
APOKA TOURISM CENTRE
Apoka is the national parks tourism hub where the ranger guides are stationed to help the tourists while on game drives and nature walks. There’s a craft shop with souvenirs and books, bottled water, soda and alcoholic drinks that can be purchased. Food is cooked on request and those who wish to cook for themselves utensils and gas can be hired.
KIDEPO VALLEY AND KANANGOROK HOTSPRING
Due to lack of water within the national park makes it to have less wildlife but it’s worth the visit to the dry kidepo river. The valley is visited by the people who come to gather the fallen borassus fruits for fermenting to make palm beer. The kanangorok hot springs lies 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border. This is an amazing place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier.
The mountain is crossed by kidepo and Narus Rivers that nourish the parks wildlife and the natural habitat as a whole. The mountain sands at 2,750m and the morungole range marks the southern boundary of the park. The region can be explored on foot with a ranger. The mountain slopes are a home to the Ik people which is the smallest ethnic group in Uganda with their unique culture.
The Namamukweny is a word that means a place with no birds or a lonely place with a few people though it’s the opposite. The valley is a home to a number of bird species such as the common bulbul, white-crested turaco, paradise whydah and green wood hoopoe among others. The valley can be accessed by foot or car and it’s found in the north-west of the national park.
The mountain lies in between the Sudan border and kitgum and is largely covered in the montane forest. The mountain is a home to primates such as the colobus monkeys and due to the poor conditions of the area the road is no longer used.
The lomej hills are just next to the national parks headquarters and are good for viewing birds as well as wildlife as well as the mountain reedbuck.
ACTIVITIES IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Game drives within the national park are conducted in a 4WD safari vehicle with a professional guide who will help in spotting different animals. The game drives are conducted in different phases that is the morning game drive, evening game drive and the night game drives. The morning game drives are conducted at 6am where you have a chance to spot animals in their active state whereas the evening game drives are conducted at 2pm but its less rewarding as animals be hiding from the sun and the night game drives are conducted after dinner where you will be accompanied by the park guide who helps in spotting the nocturnal animals. Animals spotted on the game drive include leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, lions, bat eared fox and caracal as well as bird species.
The national park is a home to over 475 bird species including the endemic birds, savannah birds, migratory birds which make the national park one of the best birding areas in Uganda best for a birding safari. While on the game drive and nature walks, you will watch birds such as yellow rumped seed eater, white bellied bustard, African swallow tailed kite, African grey flycatcher, rufous crowned roller, red billed oxpecker and brown backed woodpecker among others.
While on the nature walk, you will explore the national park on foot and you will be accompanied by the experienced guide who is well conversant with the walking trails within the park. The nature walks are conducted in the Narus valley, Namamukweny valley, kidepo plains that lead you to the Morungole Mountains. While on the nature walks, you will spot animals like warthogs, reedbucks, zebras, giraffes, elephants as they are grazing, bird species such as ostriches, as you enjoy the cool breeze and landscape.
While on a safari in kidepo valley national park, you will have an opportunity to interact with the local people such as the karamajong who stay in the neighboring villages and the IK people who are found in the Morungole Mountain. While on the cultural encounter, you will be able to learn more about their culture, lifestyle, history, way of living, visit the locally built Manyatta homesteads, how to make their traditional instruments such as beads, stools, spears, buy some of the craft items from the gift shop and enjoy cultural entertainments inform of music, dance and drama