KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK.
700km away from the city of Kampala-Uganda, bordering Sudan and Kenya in the semi-Arid region is Kidepo valley National park (the most isolated park in Uganda). Declared a park in the year 1962, with good population of game, inclusive of 77 mammal species plus 475 families of birds.
A savannah landscape stretches past the designated area all the way from Apoka towards the distant Morungole mountain ranges. The waterlogged areas of Narus Valley are the only hope to the park residents during a long dry spell. A joint effort of the seasonal oases and savannah terrain form the Narus valley; the heart of Kidepo and life blood of animals therein.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK?
Flora and Fauna.
Large woodland and forest dominate Kidepo thus a reflection of open tree savannah, hills under the conquest of Dry Mountain forest whereas multiple watercourses enhance growth of Acacia forests. Rock kopjes (hilltop capes) offer homage to the elusive klipspringers.
Like other parks in Uganda, Kidepo’s fauna has 77 species of mammals, some restricted only to Karamoja and Kidepo areas. Localized carnivores include the stripped hyena, aardwolf, bat-eared fox caracal. Other carnivorous animals are black-backed and side-stripped jackal, leopards, black-spotted hyenas and lions. Rothschild’s Giraffe, bush duiker, greater and lesser kudu, klipspringer, Burch ell’s Zebra, Guenther’s dik-dik, bush pig, Cape buffalo, Defassa waterbuck, Reedbuck, etc. are some of the less common angulates. Kidepo owns five primate species including the common Kavirondo bush baby.
Only second to Queen Elizabeth NP, Kidepo national park is home to one of the largest population of birds, including 463 confirmed species and 26 unconfirmed bird species respectively.
Forget not Kidepo while talking about carnivorous birds, 25% of total bird species include Egyptian vulture, Verreaux Eagle and Pygmy falcon. However, No comprehensive survey has been conducted regarding the actual population and particular types of birds in the Kidepo giving visitors a chance to add on the checklist.
The dominant tribe here is Karamojong people, predominantly cattle keepers. Visitors have a chance to visit Karamojong manyattas (homesteads) to enjoy the unique traditional customs and tools. The karamanjong and nature are inseparable. Feelings of untouched life are hidden in the kraal.
Alongside herding cattle, you learn about gathering wild vegetables, playing local games, preparing dairy products and traditional extraction of blood.
This is a congregation center for wildlife. Exploration of this valley is provided by the 3 loop circuits. The views towards north across the valley overlooking the towering Morungule mountain ranges are made possible by Katurum kopje.
A foot exploration along the Morungule range is done in the morning and can only be made with the help of ranger escorts. The lower slopes of this magical mountains are inhabited by the rare IK tribe.
The fact that kidepo valley runs short of wildlife due to lack of surface water does not make a seasonal drive on the 50metre white sand covered with Borussus palm forest and a tour of hot springs near the South Sudanese border river about 11kilometres impossible.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN KIDEPO VALLEY N/PARK.
Apoka Safari Lodge.
The three star Apoka safari lodge lies in the middle of Kidepo. This is arguably the oldest lodge in Kidepo, first used as a state lodge during the era of Idi Amin Dada in 1970s. Now it stuns with amazing wilderness views in the heart of Kidepo valley.
Apoka Rest Camp.
This is a basic camp, which offers a true African wilderness experience. Bringing your own food is allowed and individual preparation is legal depending on one’s choice. The camp is run and operated by the Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Nga’moru Wilderness Camp.
Situated on a hill neighboring the park 4km from Katarum entrance, Nga’moru offers an ample stay in either thatched Cabanas or safari tents. Nga’moru presents gorgeous views of Narus valley and savannah plains to Morungole mountain ranges. Different animals offer daily visits to this camp.