Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s primeval tourism destinations. Found in the far northeastern corner and sharing borders with Kenya and South Sudan, the park is acknowledged by many as a top tourism destination in Africa a fact that was reinstated by CNN. Reserved as a national park in 1962, the park stretches over a 1442 square kilometers of rich savannah, acacia and montane forest that results in a variety of mammals, bird and reptile species residing in the park
Kidepo experiences semi-arid climate which makes it dry all year round with only one rainy season annually from April to September and it’s usually light. The Narus river valley is the permanent water place in the park and this attracts most game to concentrate in the valley. Park residents range from about 470 bird types, up to 86 animal species including buffalo, lion, cheetah, elephants, giraffe, common eland, jackals and African hunting dogs as well as the stunning savannah grasslands rolling to the far horizons offering a spectacular site for game watching.
Kidepo valley national park offers mainly three(3) exciting game drives which happen in the morning, afternoon and nocturnal drives through the park. Morning drives usually start at 6:00 am and is listed as the best time for game drive as most animals are very active at this time trying to fill their bellies and recharge for the day.
Here you will encounter numerous species especially grazers like elephants, the largest herds of buffalo in the world, giraffes, antelopes and their predators following close by; including lions, cheetahs and if lucky even the elusive leopard.
These are normally held at 2:00pm after your refreshing lunchbreak and it will take you across the Narus river valley that has the only permanent water sources in the park where you will meet large concentrations of mammals more so during the dry season. This game drive will introduce you to large herds of buffaloes, Rothschild giraffes, waterbucks and antelopes with sightings of cats like lions, cheetahs and leopards as they rest trying to hide from the extreme afternoon heat.
After dinner, visitors can arrange a night game drive with the main purpose of catching the nocturnal species in action especiallyleopards, hyenas, wild dogs, aardwolf and striped jackals to list a few. This is more exciting as it’s enhanced with spotlight for perfect views even at night.
Visitors in Kidepo national park have an opportunity to engagein culture encounters were they can relish the rich culture of the ethnic tribes that reside in the park. Visits to either the Karamajongs or even the more secluded IK who are still living a typical life of fruit gathering and hunting on the foothills of mount. Morungole. Interact with these curious locals who will entertain you with their traditional dance and songs. You will be enriched more after learning about their history, way of living in homesteads called Manyattas.
You can easily acquire yourself a few beautiful souvenirs from them to carry memories from your encounter with some of the intriguing cultures on the African continent.
The park is a haven for over 475 bird species and though overlooked the park holds a spot as one of the best leading sites to bird watch in Uganda. The park boasts of savannah, a few endemic and rare migratory bird species that can either be met on game drives and nature walks in the park. Species like ostrich, Karamoja apalis, kori bustard, red billed oxpecker, black breasted barbet, secretary birds and numerous others that leaves birding lovers with guaranteed satisfaction on a bird watching safari in Kidepo.
Kidepo valley national park is a suited for all year visitations and better recommended for during the dry months of February, January, December, September, august, July and finally June. These months offer the best safaris in Kidepo due to thinner vegetation and higher concentration of animals in the Narus valley where they can get to water more easily.
The park is more ideal for birding in the rainy season;during months of March through May and November. During this season, birders can meet more species with addition of migratory species from other different countries. This season also gives a chance to guests who preferexclusivity and privacy as the park receives fewer visitors at this time of the year.
Plan a trip in Kidepo and experience one of the remaining true and pristine wildernesses on the African continent.