With great joy, I bring you our full experience at Kidepo Valley National Park this weekend. Endless views of remarkable plains and surrounding mountains define Kidepo Valley National park. Kidepo valley, arguably Uganda’s finest wildlife preserve, contains rolling savannahs stretching into mountain ranges in 3 countries, Uganda, Kenya and south Sudan.
As one of Uganda’s most beautiful parks, located in the North Eastern corner of Uganda on the Sudan border, Kidepo Valley National Park covers 1,442 square kilometres, located in Karamoja region with an abundance of wildlife including lions, cheetah, and large herds of buffalo, elephant, zebra, bush backs, giraffes and leopards.
Kidepo has rugged stunning savannah, with two major valley systems of the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. It is interspersed with sausage trees and borassus palms with broken granite kopjes. Resting on the south eastern border of the park, is the highest mountain, Mt. Morungole.
It is approximately 700km from Kampala by car (Kitgum via Gulu was a smooth drive all the way). A four wheel drive is best to manage the roads as you will want to go on a game drive. We stopped at Acholi Pride Guesthouse for lunch which was conveniently next to UWA offices where we inquired about the road state. Driving through Karamoja, presents a chance to see the Karamajong, go by gardens of sunflowers, tall peaks and miles of plains.
Another option is to fly there, as there is an airfield in the park served by several charter companies, including Eagle Air and Ndege from Entebbe and Kajjansi Airport by plane.
Long gone are the previously armed Karamajong warriors, as the government has disarmed them and made significant improvements to the roads with wide mobile network coverage. This goes for both routes leading to Karamoja.
Driving into the park, we were welcomed by zebras and buffaloes! Which later proved right what we had read about the variety of 77 mammal species here. There are 463 bird species, 58 of these are birds of prey and 14 of these are endemic to the region, with a small variety of butterflies and other smaller creatures. A highlight for us was stumbling upon this dung beetle on her daily grind!
In the middle of the road, she pushed her eggs neatly wrapped in a ball of dung which was very fascinating to watch the way she made tiny yet great strides.
Not only that, but driving for miles with the sounds of the wind sweeping through the valley which end up leaving you in awe of the beauty in your country.
We also saw elephants, rothschild giraffe, a lioness, nile buffalo, burchell’s zebra, oribi, Uganda kob, greater and lesser kudu, warthog, bush pig, topi, grant’s gazelle, eland, bushbuck, roan antelope, beisa oryx, dik dik, Defassa Waterbuck, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal.
What better way to spend Sunday morning, than simply walking out into the stunning scenery that takes your breath away. The wilderness atmosphere came alive here as we tracked a lionesses’ paw-prints on foot. This for me was a first, watching her lie on a rock few feet away, and staring back at us.
If you decide to go during the rainy season, opt for the nature walk as well as you might discover loads more. This is done with an armed ranger and a guide. Our guide, Julius gets 5 stars in my book, not only for being knowledgeable about the mammals and birds, but for taking us on the 2 hour walk and sharing so many interesting facts.
Where to Stay:
- Apoka Safari Lodge (where we stayed) has endless amazing views of the rolling plains and Narus valley, plus a bathtub view of the animals! Here we got to enjoy a sun-downer in the wild, organized by the lodge, as well as had many animals walk around and wake us in the morning. A full blog review is coming up!
- Apoka Rest Camp is another more pocket-friendly, 500m from the lodge where you can hire cooking equipment and take a game drive.
- Nga Moru Wilderness Camp is another good option, overlooking the Narus Valley with spacious cottages and furnished tents. They also offer discounts for East African residents 😉
- Buffalo Rock also offers a selection of tented accommodation, with a great view from the Narus valley.
- Camping sites are also available, such as Kakine and Nagusokopire which are in the Narus Valley.
I hope you enjoyed re-living this amazing experience with me as much as i did! Have you been to Kidepo National park, or are you planning to visit soon? Let me know about your experience. What’s your favourite time to visit? Any more tips?
I’d be happy to assist answer any further questions about the national park in the best way I can 🙂