Kidepo National Park - a cultural highlight

Posted on Fri April 3, 2020 in Uganda's National Parks.

Kidepo Valley National Park – Uganda’s most remote national park – offers you Africa’s finest wilderness, pristine nature and fascinating cultural encounters.

Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent. The park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. It contains two rivers, Kidepo and Narus, which disappear in the dry season. During these months, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools along the Narus valley near Apoka and as a result, wildlife is concentrated in this area. The park has a semi-arid climate with just one rainy season per year (April-September) and rainfall is light.

The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is more rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes difficult and 4WD vehicles are usually essential for a safari in Uganda.

Over 77 mammal species and around 475 bird species can be found in the park. Wildlife spotting opportunities include wild dogs, hyenas, jackals and cheetahs. There are many carnivorous species that are unique to the Kidepo and Karamoja regions within Uganda, including the bat-eared fox, aardwolf, striped hyena, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog. The Narus Valley in the southwest is the area with the highest concentration of animals and birds due to the water source and you may see buffalo, lion, cheetah, zebra, giraffe (it is the only of Uganda’s parks where giraffe and zebra can be seen), hartebeest, waterbuck and bushbuck.

The activities in the park aren’t limited to game drives. There are also multiple hiking trails around Morungole Mountain and plenty of nature walks in the park. The Kanangorok Hot Springs give you the chance to relax and take a little break. And, last but not least, you can also witness the nomadic lifestyle around Karenga and Kadepo and visit the Karamajong - the local communities around the park include pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.

The Kidepo National Park is not on everybody's Uganda itinerary but we think that the park is worth each and every extra hour of driving. If you do not want to miss out on the park - just let us know and we will organize the perfect Uganda safari for you!