Tourist Attractions in Kidepo National Park
Named Africa’s 3rd best wilderness national park in the 2013 CNN Travel Awards, Kidepo Valley National Park is situated in the jagged drylands in the valley between Uganda’s frontiers with South Sudan to the northeast and Kenya to the east. The protected area was first gazetted as a game reserve in 1958, with two main aims of clearing the bush to control tsetse flies and protecting its wildlife from hunters. Following independence in 1962, Kidepo was upgraded to a national park status and seven years later expanded to span over 1,442 square kilometers, making it the 3rd largest national park in the country. Kidepo derives its name from the river Kidepo, a derivative of the local word “aKidep” which means “to pick” and relates to the fruits of the Borassus palms along the waterways of the seasonal river Kidepo, which formed an important water source during the times of drought. The park is the most isolated protected area in Uganda but the most captivating, combining both sceneries of jagged mountain scenery and an evoking wilderness aura, perfect for game viewing particularly in the Narus valley which harbors a wealth of lions, buffaloes, elephants to mention a few. Kidepo boasts of about 75 mammal and 470 bird species, including over 60 birds not recorded in any other National in Uganda. The Kidepo specials include the common ostrich, fox kestrel, red-billed hornbill to mention a few. Kidepo is also inhabited by the Karamojong pastoral communities renowned for their love of cattle and cattle rustling.
Kidepo Valley National Park is open for tourism all year round. However, for the best wildlife viewing, it is advisable to visit in the dry season from the months of June to September and December to February. During this time, the access roads are easily passable, the vegetation is short to allow clear viewing of wildlife and wildlife usually gather in the waterhole thus providing an opportunity to watch them. However, this is the hottest and most dusty time of the year, especially between the months of December and February.
Visitors can also visit Kidepo during the wet season from March to May and November when there are fewer crowds. This will allow them to enjoy the park and it is also during this time that migratory species are present therefore presenting birding opportunities for avid birders. Let’s explore the tourist attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park.
This beautiful valley with rolling grassland plains surrounded by distant mountains has a permanent water hole that attracts most of the wildlife to drink water thus making it the wildlife’s favorite point and also an area serviced with several game tracks, with four loop circuits exploring the valley around Apoka. Many wildlife species such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, oribis and reedbucks can be seen in the valley.
Less commonly seen are cheetahs and leopards. The Narus dam and the water hole near the Tourism Centre are perfect observation points for game, especially during the dry season. At the southern end of the Katurum loop, Katurum kopje (the site of a derelict lodge) is an attractive destination with superb views north across the valley towards the Morungole mountain range. This is the home to most of the wildlife species and will blend up your stay in Kidepo Valley National Park with endless thrilling moments. Want to see all these?! Book your safari to Kidepo Valley National Park today by sending your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org to get the best experiential memories for you and your loved ones.
Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
Worthy a drive, exploration, and above all, having fun moments at this glorious place visited by many and view mountains at the frontier. For most of the year, a lack of surface water means that little wildlife is found in Kidepo Valley, though it is still worth the drive to visit the dry Kidepo River to stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between the banks covered with Borassus palms.
As already mentioned, Kidepo derives its name from river Kidepo, a derivative of the local word “akidep” which means “to pick” and relates to the fruits of the Borassus palms along the waterways of the seasonal river Kidepo. The valley was visited by people coming to gather fallen Borassus fruits for fermenting to make palm beer. Your visit to the marvelous Kanangorok Hot Springs lying 11km beyond the Kidepo River, along the Uganda-South Sudan border will be the best moment observing different attractions afar the frontier. The locals believe that the waters of the hot springs contain healing properties as well as a spiritual cleansing and therefore it is common to find people immersed in it. Giant ostriches are also common in this place and on a lucky day, you will be able to see some. While here, you can sit and relax as you boil some eggs while also having spectacular views of this untouched wilderness. Therefore book your trip today with Jewel Safaris Limited to have the best time exploring the gem in the “True African Wilderness”.
Apoka Tourism Centre
Overlooking the wildlife-rich Narus Valley and home to an upmarket lodge and simple UWA-run cottages, Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. Ranger guides are stationed at Apoka to escort tourists on game drives and walks. For those without their own transport means, park trucks can be hired.
There is also a craft shop with books and souvenirs. You can also buy bottled water, sodas, and alcoholic beverages here. Food is cooked on request and cooking gas and utensils can be hired by individuals who wish to cook for themselves.
When we talk about culture, Kidepo offers cultural tours to the Karamojong people living next to the park or the IK who live on Mount Morungole. You can explore the areas like; the house structures called “Manyatta” which are grass thatched household structures of the Karimojong people of northeastern Uganda, the architecture and design of these houses is so beautiful that they are made up of artificial wood and grass fences that separate the main compounds that can have over 10 families depending on the number of sons. Furthermore, you can participate in the famous traditional Karimojong dance called “Mori” dance which is almost similar to that of the Maasai and the Turkana. There is a thrill in the joy of dancing together with them that will heal the soul and make remember this park always. The Ik minority tribe of Uganda living in the extreme mountains of the Uganda and Kenya border, next to the Turkana of Kenya are endowed with divergent characteristics that you ought to reach and find out on sight so that you can spread the story about this unique tribe to the rest of the world.
Mount Morungole stands at 2,750m and is crossed by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers which nourish the park’s wildlife and its natural habitats as a whole. The Morungole Range marks the southern boundary of the park and rises from the plains a few kilometres northeast of Apoka. This region can be explored on foot in the company of an armed ranger. The mountain slopes are home to the IK people, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with a unique culture that you wouldn’t want to miss exploring. Let Jewel Safaris Limited plan your next safari to have the best travel experiences.
Accessible by both road and on foot, Namamukweny valley is found in the northwest of the park. The word “Namamukweny” is a local word that literally means a place with no birds or a lonely place with few/ minority people. On the contrary, the opposite is quite true because the valley is inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller, and Green-Wood Hoopoe among others. All these attractions in the valley will boost your stay while in Kidepo Valley National Park.
Lomej hills are a birder’s point of interest whenever they are doing bird watching in Kidepo Valley National Park. Lomej hills are ideal not only for bird viewing but also for the wildlife inclusive of the mountain reedbuck. Lomej Hills are a short drive from the headquarters hence the best starting point for the activities.
Lying between Kitgum and the South-Sudan border, Lonyili Mountain is wholly surrounded by montane forest kind of vegetation that offers shelter to primates such as colobus monkeys. However, the road network to this attraction is in an unpleasant state but works are on to improve the road network in Kidepo Valley National Park. Aircrafts scheduled for flights to Kidepo Valley National Park can reach here and the aerial view is spectacular, it’s one of a kind attraction that you ought to reach when in this park.
Gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park makes any Uganda Safari complete. The savannah-rich national parks like Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Kidepo Valley National Park can add up to your gorilla trekking safari. There is a thrill embedded in gorilla trekking in southwestern Uganda. The great experience begins today. Kindly contact Jewel Safaris through email@example.com for further inquiries and bookings for your safari.
Welcome to the Pearl of Africa with Jewel Safaris Limited.