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Kidepo National Park

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About Kidepo National Park
True African Wilderness

Among all the national parks in Uganda, Kidepo Valley national park is the most isolated one in the far north of the semi-arid areas of Uganda bordered by south Sudan in the Northwest and Kenya in the eastern side by only 5km and 700km from Kampala making the park the most less visited but those who make through the long journey from Kampala always remark the experience offered by Kidepo as the most unique one ever.

Kidepo valley national park became a national park in 1962 hosting big game like lions, leopards, and over 77 other mammals including cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, and ostriches. Kidepo valley national park is home to over 476 bird species including the famous little green bee-eater, northern carmine bee-eater, ostrich, secretary bird, etc.

Kidepo valley national park has two rivers – Kidepo and Narus Rivers that normally reduce to wild remnant pools during the dry season that act as a source of water for the wildlife, so around the pools, you will find a population of animals like the buffaloes, elephant, and lions among others.

According to statistics, Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wilderness as its slogan is  “True African Wilderness” and its game is notably increasing from 200 elephants in the mid-90s to 650 to 1000 elephants today also the change in the number of buffaloes from 10000 to 15000 and the increase in the Rothschild Giraffes.

The park is an indigenous home to the pastoral Karamojong people with a similar lifestyle as the Masai of Kenya and the IK tribe.

Attractions

GAME DRIVES

Kidepo Valley National Park Game Viewing Safari provides guests with an opportunity to see some of the large collections of mammal species residing in the national park, including greater Kudu, Chandler’s Mountain reedbuck, elephant, and bush pig to name a few. The game drives give you a great exploration of the dry savanna lands and magical sceneries of the Kidepo Valley.

The area receives no rainfall making it dry most parts of the year, which makes animals move from one place to another for fresh pasture and water

NATURE WALKS

In the company of a ranger guide, embark on a morning nature walk in Kidepo Valley National Park where you will have the chance to venture along dry river beds, over rocky outcrops, and through bushland to track the resident wildlife.

Set out for an afternoon game drive,  Kidepo Valley National Park is rich with wildlife including cheetahs, lions, leopards, hyenas, giraffes, ostriches and elephants, and hundreds of other mammal and bird species. This difficult-to-reach park, located in the far northeast part of Uganda, is best known for its abundance of predators, making it a spectacular place to find animals hard to spot elsewhere in the country. The vast panoramic views of Kidepo are truly spectacular and will give you a true sense of being in the wild, open savannah.

VISITING THE IK TRIBE

This is a cultural visit to the IK people and it involves an all-day hike up the scenic Morungole mountains that are near to the Kidepo Valley Park. The Ik People are a small lineage between 10,000 to 11,000 in number. It’s said that they migrated from Ethiopia and first settled in Kenya and migrated to what’s now Kidepo Valley Park.

As you reach the townlets you’ll be welcomed warmly with traditional dancing. The Ik people are benefiting from tourism as it’s adding a bit of income for the community and actually may sustain the continuity of the Tribe as it has for the Batwa People in southwest Uganda. As you’re guided around the village, ask questions about the life of the Ik people, the caregiving of children is different there as it is communal, polygamy is part of family life and there isn’t relevance of a formal education besides learning to forfend for yourself.

Getting to the Ik village is no easy feat but thanks to a trail marked by the US Forest Service it has become easier. There’s indeed a path if you take hours to lift my vehicle. Nonetheless, it’s an every- day adventure over and down the steep mountains with interpreters who speak the Ik Language. You have to be physically fit to climb the mountains – the peak of Mount Murongole is 2,749 measures above and hiking above may be torture for those who aren’t fit. The trail is 8 kilometers long (16-kilometer round trip) and quite a tough walk to the village.

BIRD WATCHING

Kidepo valley national park is home to over 450 species and the fact that Kidepo is located between different borders creates a great chance to see different birds from different geographical regions of Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda. Kidepo has over 50 bird species endemic and can only be seen in Kidepo Valley.

The bird sightings include green bee-eater, northern carmine bee-eater, ostrich, secretary bird, Verreaux’s eagle, Yellow-billed hornbill, Egyptian Vulture, Karamojong Apalis, Jackson’s hornbill, etc.

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