Kidepo valley national park

Kidepo Valley National Park

located in the rocky, semi dry  valleys within the Karamoja province on Uganda’s far north border with South Sudan, Kidepo Valley National Park is the most remote wildlife park as well as least visited in the country. Despite its distant location of Kampala the capital, this park prides in a great natural beauty as well as still upholds its pristine wilderness. More than 470 bird species have been recorded here which makes it second to the renowned queen Elizabeth National so birders, this is a destination worth putting into consideration as you plan your Safari in Uganda.  There are a number of eastern endemic species only seen here like the Karamoja Apallis as well as the Black-breasted Barbet.

What to Do in Kidepo Valley National Park

Bird Watching Tours

This is the only park in Uganda where you will have a chance to see the Ostrich in the wilderness and one of the best Bird watching destinations in Uganda. The headquarters of the park which overlook the Narus Valley found in the south, together with Apoka Rest Camp are great places to begin your bird watching tour in Kidepo national Park. The beautiful silver bird and the yellow-billed shrike are often seen around this camp, in addition to various other species such as Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Vinaceous Dove, Little Weaver, Hoopoe, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Nubian Woodpecker, Starlings Mosque Swallow and Ruppell’s weaver. There is a permanent water-hole found at the end of camp which attracts swallows as well as various seedeaters like the Yellow-rumped Seedeater and in the night, its commonly vested by Four-banded Sandgrouse. Several animals also visit this water hole among are elephants and Buffaloes.

Other bird species in this park include: White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-winged Lark, Black-headed Plover, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Clapperton’s Francolin, White-bellied Go-away bird, Long-tailed Nightjars, White-faced Scoops Owl, Standard-winged Nightjars, Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Little Green Bee-eater, Fox Kestrel, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Black Coucal, Eastern Yellow and Jackson’s Hornbills, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Stone Partridge, Pygmy Falcon, Clapperton’s and Heuglin’s, Singing Bush Lark, Black-bellied and Black-faded Waxbill, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Violet-tipped Courser, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, White-crested Turaco, Kori, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Red-winged Pytilias and Heuglin’s Wheaters,

Game Drives / Wildlife Viewing

There are more than 80 different types of mammals that have been recorded within Kidepo National Park. Among these are 28 species that can’t be seen elsewhere in Uganda such as: the Cheetah, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox as well as Carcal. sadly, just as the other parks across the country, Kidepo suffered a similar fate of severe poaching during the regime of president Amin and is also still recovering from it as the large herds of wildlife we depleted. After that time, animals including the Striped Hyena, Beisa Oryx, Lesser Kudu as well as Grant’s Gazelle haven’t been seen over the recent times and are supposed to be locally-extinct.

However other species have since that time been able to thrive and now are in large numbers such as the elephants, Zebras, Buffaloes, Bohor Reedbucks, Waterbucks as well as the Kongonis. There are numerous predators within this park such as lions, spotted hyenas as well as Leopards.  There are large numbers of oribis inside the Narus Valley, while Guenther’s Dik diks can best be seen in the dry thorny-thickets found in the northern part of the park. Jackals, Senegal Galago, White-tailed Mongoose can all be seen inside this park.

Where to Stay / Accommodation

Apoka Rest Camp: this is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority. It is located inside the park and offers comfy bandas with beddings, mosquito net and showers. Guests staying here are advised to carry their own food.

Apoka Lodge: this is a luxury lodge situated in the center of the National Park with nice spacious rooms and a private veranda. The rooms have a sitting room plus en-suite bathroom. The lodge has a swimming pool and a nice restaurant.

How to get there / Access

Kidepo Valley National Park can be accessed either by road or air transport. The most commonly used route when driving from Kampala is 600 kilometer long route through Gulu and Kitgum, that takes at least 12 hours in a good condition 4WD vehicle.