Distance from Kampala: 700 km. Estimated transit time: 12-14 hours
Kidepo Valley National Park is 1,442 square kilometers of true wilderness lying in the extreme northeastern corner of Uganda along the borders with South Sudan and Kenya.
This is the most remote of all Uganda’s tourist destinations. The vast savannah plains and rugged mountain landscape of Kidepo Valley National Park make it by far the most spectacular of Uganda’s parks. Covered in dry Savannah, this park is more reminiscent of Kenya's Eastern Rift Valley parks.
Mount Morungole at 2,750m is the highest point in the park and makes the park's southern boundary. To the north with the South Sudanese border, lies the Loukei mountain range. Situated in the southwest of the park is the Narus Valley and along the western boundary is the rugged Napore-Nyagia mountain range. The Natira and Lokayot Hills separate the park in the northeast from the Kidepo Valley. While mountain forest dominate the high places, the areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia forest.
Kidepo is home to more than 80 mammal species including 28 species found in no other Ugandan park. Dry plains game can be found here such as the greater Kudu and Cheetah along with bat-eared foxes, caracals and Klipspringers.
Kidepo Valley National Park is recovering from years of neglect and insurgency; poaching and indiscriminate killing of game severely depleted herd numbers. Some less common animals include the Striped Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant’s gazelle and Beisa Oryx. However, other large mammals have made excellent recovery and healthy populations of Elephant, Burchell’s zebra, buffalo, Rothschild's Giraffe, Eland, Jackson’s hartebeest, oribi, bonhor reedbuck, waterbuck and kongoni are often seen. The dry thorn thicket landscape in the north of the park is home to Guenther’s dik dik and Senegal galago.
Plentiful numbers of carnivores such as leopard, lion, spotted hyena, black-backed and side-striped jackals are supported by these ungulates. Five different species of primate, including the Kavirondo bushbaby, which is endemic to this area, can been spotted by the keen observer.
There have been confirmed sightings of 475 bird species in this park, second only in number to the 660+ recorded in Queen Elizabeth Park. Some rare, highly sought after birds are found here such as the black-breasted barbet and Karamoja apallis. 58 species of birds of prey are recorded, with 14 are believed to be endemic to the Park and the wider Karamoja region. These include Verreaux’s eagle, the Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon. Four species of hornbills have been recorded and the red-billed, yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbill are peculiar to Kidepo and the giant Abyssinia ground hornbill is also common.
Kidepo is an animal safari adventurers and birdwatchers' paradise as well as hikers' climbing challenge. Hiking trips to the Lamoj Mountains, a few kilometers from the park headquarters, are available. Spectacular views of Kidepo River Valley and Borassus palm forest can be seen, and from Kidepo Valley you can make a trip to the Kanangorok Hot Springs located just 11kms from the river valley.
If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of local Ugandan culture, visits can be arranged to the local Karamajong manyattas (homesteads) to see traditional costumes and jewelry making. Locally produced craft items can be purchased from the park tourist office.
This park is usually accessed by air, but overland travel is increasing safe. Charter flights are available daily. Set departures are scheduled approximately once a month. Full details available at time of booking.
The route by road from Kampala, via Mbale, Soroti and Moroto is an 700 -- 800 kilometer journey and takes 12 hours or more in good weather. Road conditions can be difficult and a sturdy 4WD is required. We recommend that you schedule two days journey to Kidepo if traveling by road. Road travel is also dependent on the security situation. Pearl of Africa Tours and Travel Ltd (PATT) will offer all necessary advice and recommendations at the time of travel.
- Apoka Safari Lodge, up-market
- Apoka Hostel, budget