The Kidepo Valley National Park is among Uganda’s most magnificent parks along the border of Uganda with Southern Sudan in the northeast. It covers 1,442 sq kilometers and offers scenery unparalleled in any other national park within East Africa. A common comment made by the visitors in regards to its scenery is that “It couldn’t be any better!”, and often times the visitors promise and actually return to Kidepo. Hidden into the corner of the border of Uganda with Kenya and South Sudan, this park offers spectacular Savannah landscapes that end in rocky horizon.
What to expect in Kidepo Valley National Park
Narus Valley is a rising and falling grassland plain surrounded by faraway mountains. This valley provides permanent water, and through most of the year its wildlife gathers here. Therefore, this area is properly supplied with game tracks, having 4 loop circuits that explore the valley close to Apoka. Several creatures for example lions, reedbucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, oribis, buffaloes and giraffes are visible within the valley. Cheetahs plus leopards are as well seen but in smaller numbers. The Narus dam together with the water hole close to the Tourism Centre are ideal observation places for game
particularly throughout the dry season. At the far southern tip of the Katurum loop, there is the Katurum kopje which is an eye-catching destination with outstanding views north of the valley in the direction of the Morungule Mountain range.
Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
Through most of the year, shortage of surface water implies that less wildlife is seen within Kidepo Valley, although it is still definitely worth the drive to go to the dried out Kidepo River to walk along its 50 meter wide river bed comprised of white sand in between the banks blanketed with borassus palms. “Kidepo” means “to pick from below” and this valley was frequented by people traveling to collect fallen borassus fruits to use for fermenting when making palm beer. Kanangorok Hot Springs are located 11 kilometers past the Kidepo River along the Sudan border. It is a marvelous place to sit down and observe the mountains far past the frontier.
Mount Morungule towers to 2,750 meters and it is crossed by River Kidepo and River Narus which nourish the wildlife plus the natural habitat of this park. The Morungule Range defines the southern boundary of this park and soars from these plains a couple of kilometers north-east of Apoka. This area may be visited on foot in the company of a ranger. The slopes of the mountain are habitat to the IK people, who are the tiniest ethnic group found in Uganda, and have their own special culture.
“Namamukweny” is a native Napore word for “a place having no birds or perhaps a lonely place with very few people” – although concerning the birds, pretty the contrary is true! This valley is populated by a huge amount of bird species for example the Eastern Paradise Whydah, Green Wood Hoopoe, White-crested Turacco, Abyssinian Roller and the Common Bulbul, among others. It’s found in the northwest part of the park and may be accessed on foot or using a car.
The Lomej Hills are found just a brief drive from the park headquarters. These hills are a great viewing point to see wild animals and birds such as the mountain reedbucks.
Hiking and Sightseeing in Kidepo
Hiking may be conducted on Lamoj Mountains only a couple of kilometers from the Headquarters of the Park. Visitors may as well go to see the marvelous Kidepo River Valley covered with Borassus palm forest; its broad flat bed is dried out through the biggest part of the year. From the Kidepo Valley, also you can visit Kanangorok Hot Springs that are situated just 11 km from the Kidepo river valley.
The mountain as well as the Savannah landscape of this park is breathtaking. The Narus valley is found within the South West part of this park; the rocky Napore Nyagia mountain range actually forms the western boundary. Splitting it from Kidepo Valley in the north-east, are the stunning Natira plus Lokayot Hills. Then to the north in South Sudan are Lotukei Mountains as well as the Morungule range which represents the southern border of this park.
Game viewing in Kidepo
Among the various species to see within this park are: the Hunting dog, Bat-eared Fox, Cheetah, Striped Hyena, Caracal, the aard Wolf, elephants, oribi, burchell’s zebras, Jackson’s hartebeests, bush pigs, bohor reed buck, warthogs, rothschild giraffes, defassa water bucks, cape buffaloes, elands, bush duskier, bush bucks, lions, side-striped jackals, leopards, black-backed jackals, various small cats as well as spotted hyenas.
Bird Watching in Kidepo
The park is renowned for its exceptional variety of birds. Out of the Fifty eight recorded birds of prey, fourteen are thought to be specifically endemic to the Kidepo as well as the Karamoja region. Included in these are: the pygmy Falcon, Varreaux’s Eagle plus the Egyptian Vulture, in addition to many other species.
The nearby local communities possess teams of cultural entertainers that are normally accessible to offer performances on request. These performers have a wide range of traditional dances as well as songs for example the Emuya of the Nyangia as well as the Naporre ethnic groups along with Larakaraka plus Apiti dances performed by the native Acholi people.