Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most exciting parks sitting in the far northeastern part of Uganda in Kaabong district. Kidepo valley national park was opened in 1958 and it is under the Uganda Wild Life Authority. Kidepo valley national park covers an area of 1,442 square kilometers with harbors and scenery which is rare in any other park in East Africa. Kidepo valley National Park consists of a semi arid climate, the park experiences one rainy season per year which is April to September. The park Stretches into the far corners of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, the park offers amazing Savannah landscapes, enormous scope and the wide corresponding climatic conditions have led to the growth of extremely diverse vegetation. Kidepo valley national is blessed with a variety of animal species which nurture in the park. There are a variety of species that are not easily found in East Africa as well. Kidepo Valley National Park is also a home to about 86 mammal species, including species of global conservation concern such as the lion, cheetah, leopard, bat-eared fox, wild dogs, African elephant, Rothschild giraﬀe and Nile crocodile, 28 of these species are not found in any of the other Ugandan parks.
HISTORY OF THE PARK KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK.
The name kidepo comes from a Dodoth verb “akidep” meaning to pick up, Dodoth was a pastoral tribe that lived near the park before it was gazetted as a game reserve by the British colonial government in 1958, since it was communal land for cattle keeping and hunting for the community, it was put under the management of the chiefs and the community and they were not supposed to kill or hunt from the park for the purpose of protecting the wildlife from being hunted or killed, the newly independent government of Uganda under Milton Obote converted the reserve into Kidepo valley national park in 1962 which has since made the park rich of wildlife species thus making it one of the most amazing national parks in Uganda and East Africa at large.
ACTIVITIES IN KIDEPO VALLLEY NATIONAL PARK.
Game drive in Narus valley is best set off in morning and afternoon hours that is from. This will enable visitors to spot wildlife and bird species in Narus valley. In the southern Narus valley, you find all wildlife and permanent water points. Elephants and buffaloes are in swampy areas across the valley floor. Eland and giraffe are in drier slopes of the Narus valley while lions are spotted in the rocky out crops. In Kidepo valley national park there are different mammal species like lions, leopard, elephants, jackal, bush dicker, bush buck, bush pig, buffalo and ostrich.
There are also other activities which are done in Kidepo valley national park for example birding where species like Purple Heron, Abyssinian Roller, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and Clapperton’s Francolin spotted in this area. Birding can start from morning and end in evening.
NATURE WALK/ HIKE THROUGH KIDEPO VALLEY
Hike to the Lomej Mountains, take leisurely walks through narus, meet members of the endangered IK tribe and wander the splendid Kidepo River Valley between banks of borassus palm forest.
The cattle-herding Karamojong occupy the north-east of Uganda; discover the unique culture of this remote tribe with the Lorukul Cultural Group, located just outside Kidepo Valley National Park.
HOW TO ACCESS KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK.
The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is more rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes difficult and 4 wheel drive vehicles are usually essential. Visitors should note that the road mainly in use from Kotido to Kaabong passes via Kanawat not via Losilang as indicated on most maps. Enquire at Kotido. Prospective visitors should contact UWA Headquarters or Wild places (the Apoka lodge operator) to obtain up to date advice about the road conditions and safety to identify the preferred choice of route before departure to the park.
Charter flights to Kidepo valley national park can be arranged from Kampala at Kajjansi, Kampala Aero club, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority has plans to make Lomej, to the east of Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.
ACCOMODATION AT KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK.
Accommodation is concentrated at Apoka which is on the shallow slopes of the scenic narus valley. Apoka lodge offers spacious and luxurious cottages with expansive views across the plains. UWA provides simple cottages nearby at a self catering hostel. Adere safari lodge is another safari lodge that offers accommodation in Kidepo valley national park for tourist.
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