Kidepo Valley National Park – Scenic Landscape, Birds & Great wildlifeIt is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks with 1,442 square kilometres and harbours scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. The lies in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of Karamoja province on the far northern border with the Sudan, Kidepo Valley is Uganda’s most remote national park ‘It could not be any better’ is a common comment on the scenery by tourists who often promise and do come back to Kidepo.
A very good example are the under taken pilgrimage to the park but the spectacular beauty of this pristine wilderness impresses all that make it Tucked into the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, the park offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes, which end in rugged horizon. A huge latitudinal range and correspondingly wide climatic conditions have evolved an extremely diverse flora. As a result the variety of animal species in the park is equally abundant including many which are found no where else in Uganda.
Those interested in birding, Kidepo Valley National Park is a palace to over a variety 475 bird species, a total next to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Amongst the host of dry, eastern “specials” not found in any other Ugandan national park are some of East Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apallis.
The open tree Savannah vegetation in the park varies much in structure and composition. The high place dominates some of the Mountain forest, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest. The flora and fauna of the park are more typical of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The landscape throughout the park is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs from which one can obtain stunning views in all directions.
Hikes and Scenic viewing
Hikes are carried out on Lamoj Mountains just a few kilometers from the Park Headquarters. Tourists can also go to view the splendid Kidepo River Valley dominated by Borassus palm forest; its wide flat bed is dry for most of the year. From Kidepo Valley, you may also visit the Kanangorok Hot Springs which are 11 km from Kidepo river valley.
Cultural entertainment (Performance)
A group of cultural entertainers by the local community is always a vailable on request to perform. The performers have a large menu for you, traditional dances such as the Emuya of the Naporre and Nyangia, ethnic groups and Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi are waiting for you. Money form the performance has helped in improving the welfare of the local community.
The park is a habitat to a great and unique diversity of animal species than other parks. Of the 80 species of mammals listed in 1971, 28 were not reported to have been in any other National park in Ugandan. Carnivore species unique to Kidepo and Karamoja region include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog. Less common ungulates include the greater and lesser kudu, Chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, dikdik and bright gazelle; beisa oryx and roan antelope have been severely depleted by poachers in the recent years.
Among other large ungulates are elephant, burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, rothschild giraffe, cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, jackson’s hartbeest and oribi. Five species of primate are found in the park of which the Kavirondo bush baby is endemic. Carnivores present include lion, leopard, several small cats, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal. The easiest to see being the jackals.
There are high chances of viewing tree climbing lions that always sits on sauces trees along Narus valley or on rock just as you enter the Apoka Park Headquarter. Other wildlife include elephants, leopard, bush duiker, jackal, bush buck, bush pig, kavirondo bush baby, buffalo and much more that are some times seen right from the veranda of Apoka Rest Camp.
The park boasts an extensive avifauna. 465 species have been recorded with the ostrich and the Kori bustard being of particular interest in the arid regions.
Another out standing feature in the park species of prey birds. Out of the 58 species recorded 14 are believed to be endemic to Kidepo and the Karamoja region. These include Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon. Also of note are four species of hornbills. The redbilled, the yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbill are peculiar to Kidepo, while the giant Abyssinaia ground hornbill is quite common. There is however no comprehensive survey in Kidepo and keen visitors stand a good chance of adding to the current list.
To make the visiting memorable to Kidepo River, take time and visit the picnic site situated on the sand and you won’t also miss the sound of palm leaves in constant motion in the wind with fresh air.
These help in learning more on African culture, visits to the Karimajong manyattas (homesteads) and probably kraals to see traditional costume, stools, spears headdress, knives, bows and arrows and jewelry can be arranged. You may also buy some of those items from the park tourist office. Arrangements for the nature walk should be made two days in advance.
There is a privately owned Apoka Rest Camp overlooking the Narus Valley with comfortable rooms providing accommodation on full board as well as bed and and break fast as wells as bandas and other camp sites.
Getting to the park by road from Kampala:
Kampala-Soroti -Kotido via Amuria 656 km
By Air Transport:
Chartered aircraft are available from Entebbe International Airport to the Park Headquarters. The Civil Aviation Authority manages an airstrip at Lomej about 3 km south of the Park Headquarters.