Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park tour is one of the interesting tours a tourist can embark on while carrying out the Uganda national parks tour. The park is located in the North-Eastern part of Uganda in Kaabong district. The park is common for the high numbers of bird species in Uganda making it a number one birding destination as compared to other national parks in Uganda. Aside from being a birding destination, the park is home to a number of animal species like rare carnivores including the bat-eared fox, striped hyena the Aardwolf, bat-eared fox, caracal, cheetah, hunting dog all of which can be seen once you visit the park.
Other animal species in the park include the elephant, Rothschild giraffe, Nile buffalo, Burchell’s zebra, oribi, klipspringer, Uganda kob, greater and lesser kudu, warthog, bush pig, topi, grant’s gazelle, eland, bushbuck, common duiker, bush duskier, roan antelope, beisa Oryx, dik-dik, Defassa Waterbuck, Jackson’s heartbeest, Chandlers Mountain reedbuck and Bohor reedbuck. Carnivores include lion, cheetah, leopard, caracal, serval and many other animal species all of which offer spectacular moments once seen. The park has many relief features like the beautiful mountains, rivers, valleys all of which are there to be discovered by tourists on their kidepo valley national park tour.
How to access Kidepo valley national park
Tourists can travel to Kidepo valley national park by using both roads and air transport by air transport tourists can catch a domestic flight from Entebbe to Kidepo valley national park by either using aero link or Fly Uganda all of which offer excellent services from Entebbe to the park it only takes tourists two hours to reach which is faster compared to road transport which takes about 10 to 13 hours from Kampala depending on the conditions of the vehicle which is quite exhausting.
Attractions in Kidepo National Park
A tourist interested in touring kidepo valley national park will have a chance to participate in a number of activities that will enable his/ her satisfaction and also there are a number of tourist attractions that they can see while on their Uganda national parks tour in kidepo valley national park. With a number of wildlife species, relief features like mountains, hills, valleys, local communities and a number of activities that can be participated in as explained below;
Wildlife: Kidepo national park is home to a number of wildlife species including animals and bird species which can attract tourists while on their tour.
Bird species: The park is home to 475 bird species making it the bird destination among all the Uganda national parks. The park is mainly frequented by birders because of the high numbers of bird species that can be seen on a daily including the Kori bustard, Abyssinian ground hornbill, secretary bird, ostrich, carmine, yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbills Ostriches, Yellow-billed Shrike, Yellow-rumped Seedeater Pale Chanting Goshawk, Slate-coloured Boubou, Green-winged, White-faced Scoops Owl, Orange-winged & Red-winged Pytilias Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Four-banded Sand Grouse, Red-billed Oxpecker, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Abyssinian Ground, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Rufous & Chestnut Sparrow, Black-headed Plover, and many more bird species which makes it a key birding destination in Uganda though other parks have species like the Shoebill Stork in Murchison falls National Park which is close to Kidepo and Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Birding: While in Kidepo national park a tourists will not miss on the chance of seeing the different bird species because the park has different areas where birding can be carried out while in the park, for example, the Apoka rest camp is known for attracting different bird species especially at its edge it has a permanent water hole that attracts a number of bird species like the Yellow-rumped Seedeater, Four-banded Sand grouse, and many more bird species and also some animal species can be seen quenching their thirst at the water hole, for instance, the elephants, buffaloes and many others. Other bird species can be seen at the park headquarters.
Animal species: As the park is home to a number of bird species so it is when it comes to animal species this is a result of a number of reasons, for instance, the large expanse of land has enabled reproduction. The area is a habitat to a number of animal species because of the availability of water and pasture, for example, the herbivores like the zebras, the Rothschild’s giraffe, common eland, Oribi, African buffalo and many more has enabled the existence of the animals in the park. The park is also home to carnivores like cheetahs, bat-eared fox leopards, lions and many other animal species which are usually seen during the game drives.
Game viewing: The park offers beautiful views to tourists while on the kidepo valley national park game drives; during the game drive, the tourists are able to see variety of landscape feature like the Hills Mountains but most importantly the different animal species that can be seen grazing in the plains, for example the zebras, the Rothschild’s giraffe, common eland, Oribi, African buffalo, bush pigs among other animals which can be seen, the park is also blessed with 5 primate species but the most dominant and easy to see is the endemic kavirondo bush baby that cannot be seen elsewhere can only be seen by tourists on their kidepo valley national park tour.
Relief features: The park has got a number of relief features that can be also attractive once seen by tourists carrying out their national parks tour, for example, different features can be seen when a tourist visits the park, for example, the mountains, hills, valleys and so on and interesting about the features is the fact that each feature has unique attractions that can be seen once visited. The park has got the following features;
Narus Valley: The valley is found in between mountains a tour to the valley will leave tourists wanting more of the park. The Narus Valley is a tourist’s paradise with a number of features that can be found once visited for example the valley is characterised by a permanent water body which attracts a number of park animals in order to quench their thirst for example; the lions, antelopes, giraffes lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, Oribi and reedbucks the Narus dam is the place to see the different animal species especially in the dry season of the park.
Namamukweny Valley: The valley is located in the northwestern part of the park and although the word Namamukweny means a ‘’place without birds’’ in the native language of the Karamojong people, once visited tourists will believe that this is wrong because the area is a home to a number of bird species and the area can be another birding spot for tourists interested in birding while in the park. This is because of a number of bird species that can be seen in the area which may include the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller, and Green-Wood Hoopoe among others.
Mount Morungule: The mountain is another interesting attraction once you visit the park because of the numerous attractions that can be found along the slopes that can catch the eyes of the tourists, for instance, the IK people with their unique and interesting cultural values. Others features that can be seen once tourists hike the mountain include the Narus and kidepo rivers which are seen crossing the mountain these rivers are a source of water to the animal species and also nourishment of the park’s vegetation, plains which are used as a source of food to the animals.
Lonyili Mountain: The mountain is characterised by a number of physical features like the montane forests which harbor primate species like the black and white colobus monkeys, the kavirondo bush baby and many others which can be seen when they hike the mountain.
Hiking and scenery viewing: Hiking can be carried out on the different hills and mountains in the park, for instance, the lamej hills, mountain Morungule which offer magnificent views and also gives tourists a chance to see the different attractions like the Narus valley, Namamukweny valley, and others. Hiking in the park begins from the park headquarters tourists will be able to see the kidepo valley which dries u during the dry season. The savannah landscape where different animals can be seen grazing in the plains, The Lotukei Mountains can also be hiked these are found in the southern part of Sudan which form the northern and southern boundary of kidepo valley.
Karamoja village visit: Tourists carrying out their kidepo valley national park tour will have a chance to visit the Karamojong village visit which involves seeing the architectural designs also known as the ‘’Manyatta’’ which involves different families build huts in the same area and put a fence around the hut. The Karamojong are mainly farmers and their pride is in their cattle however they also rear other animals like the goats and also some poultry like chicken. In recent years, they used to carry out cattle raiding like the Masaai people in Kenya however the practice calmed down and nowadays they carry out subsistence farming which was not the case in the early years because they depended more on cattle rearing.
Visiting the IK people: Visiting the IK people is another interesting activity people on their kidepo valley national park tour can participate in order to make their experience in the park memorable. There is a lot n common the IK people have with the Masai of Kenya found in Masai Mara national park like the Masaai people, the Ik people are also indigenous people that have not changed so much even after modernity, for example, they live in grass-thatched houses even after the introduction of new architectural designs.
They have unique dress codes for instance just like the Masai women that decorate themselves with beads and different piercings, the same applies to the Ik people the women wear many bead necklaces as a wa to look beautiful for their men. The IK children are taught survival at an early age whereby children are sent away from their families at a tender age and they are able to teach themselves how to survive on their own without the help of their parents.
Cultural performances: Kidepo valley national park tour will give tourists a variety of activities to participate in that will be rewarding including the cultural performances for instance the people offer entertainment through performing different cultural dances for instance they can perform the larakaraka dance which is the main cultural dance of the Napore people, the Apiti dance from the Acholi people, the Emuya dance from the Nyagia people all of which are exciting once seen and in most cases the tourists participate in the dance which is a memorable experience for them.
Nature/ bush walks: In the park, the tourists can carry out nature and bush walks where they can see different attractions like Idi Amin’s lodge that was never completed, the valley, communities can be seen during nature/ bush walks and tourists can see the Manyatta the grass thatched houses. During nature walks along with the Soroti-Moroto road tourists will be thrilled by the steep Alekilek volcano. On the Lira-Kotido road, they will see the beauty of Labwor hills. Tourists on their kidepo valley national park will not be disappointed by the attractions they are able to see during nature/ bush walks.
There are a number of accommodation facilities tourists can choose from while on their Uganda national parks tours while in kidepo valley national park which can range from budget, mid-range to luxury. The accommodation facilities offer dining services, entertainment, camping, bar services and many more.
In kidepo valley national park, tourists can book in the following accommodation facilities: Apoka rest Uganda safaris camp which catches beautiful views of the Narus valley where a number of different animals like zebras, lions buffalos can be seen. Other facilities include; the Apoka lodge Kakine campsite which tourists can sleep in while inside the park. Other accommodation facilities that are outside the park include the following
- Praim Nile inn guest house
- Palm gardens and guest house
- Etana motel
- Kidepo savannah lodge
- Kawuku Bwerenge
- Val heights hotel
- Kampala forest hotel
Kidepo Valley National Park is a top destination for Uganda wildlife safaris, probably one of the best only that the distance at times scares away visitors from visiting it. If you are willing to take on the long journey or invest in chartered flights then this national park is surely worth your visit and time.