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Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo valley National Park is Uganda’s most isolated national park located in the Northwestern part of the country. It was gazetted in 1962 and its one of the best places you can ever be in Uganda. Being most isolated, Kidepo valley national park offers exclusive and classic safari experiences.

The Park covers a land area of 1442 square Kilometers that are a home to diverse wildlife species. Its crossed by two main Rivers that are Kidepo and Narus Rivers. Being in semi arid area, Kidepo valley national park is dry and most of its rivers dry out in the dry season.

In the dry season, the only place in the park with water is the Narus Valley and because of that it has the highest animal concentration. Most game drives are done in this region as you get to see the parks different animal species at water points.

Wildlife In Kidepo Valley National Park

Popularly referred to as the True African wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park is home to a number of wildlife species. There are over 77 mammals and over 450 birds most of which seen while on safari game drives.

When it comes to numbers, the park has the second largest giraffe population in Uganda. African buffaloes here have the highest numbers so many that they are compered to the number of wildebeest in Serengeti National park.

Zebras also occur in large numbers here as well and Kidepo and Lake Mburo National parks are the only two safari destinations in Uganda with zebras. The park also has a number of predators including lions, cheetahs, leopards, jackals and many others.

Tourist Activities

Game Drives

Kidepo Valley National Park is one ultimate place for classic African safari game drives. While here look out for animals like Elephants, herds of Buffaloes, Leopard, Lions, Bushbacks, giraffes among others.

Most Game drives here are done in the Narus Valley exclusively as there no much tourists traffic in the park. The best time for game drives is early morning from 6:00 am and late evening from 4:00 pm. With this you can catch the sunrise and also take photos of the beautiful sunset.

Other game drives are done in the Kidepo Valley that offers scenic views of the beautiful landscapes. Here you get to Visit the Kanangorok Hot springs or the Morungule Mountains.

Lion in Kidepo Valley National Park
Lion in Kidepo Valley NP. Photo by Jonathan Benaiah
Birding

Kidepo Valley National Park is home to over 450 birds making it one of the best birding destinations in Uganda. Commonly seen birds include Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, Clipperton’s Francolin, Ostriches, Karamoja Apalis, Black-breasted Barbet, Heuglin’s francolin and others. Some of the birds are endemic to the Kidepo region and its the only place where you can see them.

Birding Safari can be done in the morning alongside game drives or late in the evening. Remember to carry your binoculars as birds freely roam the park and those that are far can be easily spotted by the help of binoculars.

Guided Nature Walks

These are most rewarding as they bring you closer to nature enjoying the sights and sounds. You can have guided nature walks in the Kidepo Valley, and hike up to the Karomojong community. You can also hike to Lomej Mountains or in the Narus valley. 

There are a number of view points offering a 360 degrees view of the parks endless plains. While here you spot a number of birds, big game like buffaloes, zebras and even small wildlife like lizards. The views of Kidepo are immense and breathtaking, quite a sight to see while on a safari there.

African Sunset in Kidepo National Park Uganda
African Sunset in Kidepo Valley NP

Best time to Visit

Kidepo Valley National Park wildlife can best be enjoyed in the dry season from June to July and December to February. During this time, the game drive trails are dry and very passable easing the game drives and general wildlife activities.

Getting There

The Park can be accessed by both road and air transport. The road drives takes a full day through the beautiful Ugandan countryside but can be tiring.

In-case you want to get there early then you can fly from Entebbe Airport or Kajjansi Airstrip to Apoka Airstrip. Apoka airstrip is within Kidepo Valley National Park therefore from there you can easily connect to your lodge.

Accommodation

Kidepo national park has a number of accommodation facilities ranging from Budget to high-end luxury lodges. Some are located with the national park while others are situated right outside the park boundary thus very accessible to and from the park.

For Budget, you can stay at the Uganda Wildlife Authority bandas or cottages located at Apoka. Bandas are basic though some are self contained and are clean and comfortable. The cottages are better than bandas in standard, they are very spacious and self contained.

Other beautiful lodges include Apoka safari lodge a high-end luxury lodge, Adere Safari Lodge, Kidepo savanna lodge and others.

Adere Safari Lodge. Kidepo Valley National Park
Luxury Cottage at Adere Safari Lodge Kidepo. Courtesy Photo