History of Kidepo National Park

The name Kidepo comes from a Dodoth verb ‘akidep’, meaning ‘to pick up’. The park was inhabited by Dodoth pastoralists and the Ik farmers before it was gazetted as a game reserve by the British colonial government in 1958 as a game reserve. The intention was both to protect the animals from hunting and prevent further clearing of bush for tsetse fly control. The game reserve was later converted into the Kidepo Valley National Park in 1962 – the year Uganda acquired its sovereignty.

As a result of the eviction, terrible famine struck the area especially among the IK and the calamity is cited in contemporary protected areas management as an example of the unacceptable consequences that result in failure to account for the community interests when designating reserves.

The IK community was close to extinction until they got their first member of parliament in the history of Uganda in the last concluded February 18th Elections!

The first Chief Warden of the National Park was Briton called Ian Ross and was replaced in 1972 by a Ugandan named Paul Ssali. Their handover and training was the subject of the 1974 American documentary film; “The Wild and the Brave.”