Kidepo Valley National Park

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Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP) is situated in North Eastern Uganda and is one of Uganda’s finest wildlife preserve covering 1442 sq kms. With its vast savannahs extending towards mountain ranges in three countries, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan, rugged mountain scenery and a wilderness thrill.

Off the beaten track, Kidepo National Park is nestled among the rugged hills and valleys of Northern Uganda. It’s a place so hidden away it’s beauty has mostly gone unnoticed… The 540-square-mile park contains diverse landscape, from lush mountain ranges to vast plains, and is home to almost 500 bird species and 77 different mammals. Roam the savannahs, and you’d likely see an impressive collection of fauna including ostriches, hartebeest and giraffes.

The park’s altitude ranges between 914m to 2750m of which the highest peak is Mt. Morungole at 2750m on the south eastern border. Mt. Lotukei that lies within the Sudanese Border is at 2797m and spotted from various points in the park. The mountain ranges are broken up by the Narus Valley in the south west and Kidepo Valley in the north east part. The Narus Valley has 2 game loops the Kakine and Katurum Circuits. There are 86 mammal species, 500 bird species with the rare Ostriches, Pygmy Falcons, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill and 5 primate species including the Patas Monkey, Kidepo is famed for harboring a number of animals found nowhere else in Uganda including the Cheetahs, Bat eared foxes, Aardwolves, Greater and Lesser Kudus, Black -backed Jackals and Antelope Species Klipspringer, Elands and Hartebeest. Kidepo Valley National Park is managed and operated by Uganda Wildlife Authority.

History & Culture

Kidepo National Park is home to one the smallest ethnic groups in Africa, a people called the Ik. According to folklore, the Ik have wandered through much of East Africa, and came from Ethiopia hundreds of years ago.
Praying to ancient gods, the Ik believe they will one day have to move on from Kidepo Valley. But they are fighting to preserve their unique culture and language, which no rival tribes understand.

 

Ik People in Kidepo Valley National Park

Ik People in Kidepo Valley

In a hidden pocket of the park, a small collection of pools bubble away with the heat of an ancient volcano. These are The Kanangorok Hot Springs, an unexpected attraction just a short walk away from the international border between Uganda and South Sudan.

Further south, the flat Kidepo Valley is dramatically shaped by the river that runs through it. During heavy rains, the river flash floods and flows through the park into South Sudan. Hours later, it disappears, leaving a river of sand as wide as 165 feet in some parts.

“You find that underground the sand there is still water. This can be dug out by some animals, (like) baboons and elephants,” says park guide Phillip Akorongimoe.

“There is plenty of water… and that is why there are more animals in Kidepo Valley.”

Kidepo Valley Activities:

Kidepo park was nomintaed for the World Travel Awards in 2017 as Africa’s Leading National Park and below is what to expect.

Game drives / Wildlife Drives in the Narus Valley, the south Narus Valley contains the park’s only permanent water points and wildlife congregates in this area for much of the year. The dry Kidepo Valley is short on big game but has got magnificent scenery. The hour-long drive to Kanangorok Hot Springs passes some amazing landscapes along the katurum kopje.

Guided nature walks with opportunities for wildlife viewing along the eastern kakine circuit at a close range of upto 50m-70 meters. The Lomeji mountain trail and the lower Narus Valley can offer amazing game to view.

Community Interaction with the Ik can be visited up the morungole mountain. Discover the unique culture of this remote tribe with the Lorukul Cultural Group located just outside Kidepo Valley National Park as well.

Birdwatching mainly at the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys offers opprotunties to view some of the 475 species recorded and about 60 species recorded in on other parks.

Mountain Hiking – the morungole mountain stands at 2750m and is the highest point in Kidepo. It can be explored on foot with a ranger guide for about 4 hours and it is strenous hike and this is where the IK community stays as well.

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Best Time to Visit

The prime time to visit Kidepo Valley NP is during the dry season (September to March) although it can be visited throughout the year.

Best time to go: September to March (Dry season)
High Season: September to March (The park rarely gets crowded)
Low Season: April, May (Camps and lodges may close)
Best Weather: September, October & November (End of the rains and beginning of the dry season)
Worst Weather: December to February (It is very hot and dusty)

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