Bird Watching Safaris; Kidepo valley national park is a semi arid habitat dominated by grasslands in the open plains, woodlands in plateaus, palm forests along the shores of Kidepo valley and montane forests in the highlands. In the rainy season, swamp, marsh and wetland vegetation sprout and a carpet of green covers entire Kidepo valley national park. In dry season, the temperatures hit the roof, vegetation withers, dries and some patches of bare ground are visible in many places. Each of these patterns of vegetation hosts unique sets of resident bird species. Kidepo national park has a high collection of bird species with around 450 different species ever encountered. The pride of Kidepo valley national park as a dream bird watching safari destination lies in 50 record birds of prey and a dozen of them restricted to this natural habitat in Uganda. It is for this reason amongst others that Kidepo valley national park is an Important Birding Area in Uganda. Some of the birds spotted in the park include the Kori bustard, secretary birds, ostriches, Jackson’s hornbill to mention but a few.
The bird watching safaris start from the Apoka reservations’ office where the bird watching team picks up ranger guide that escorts you on the expedition. The ranger is conversant with the terrain, vegetation patterns, has bird watching experiences, is a data bank with bird information and special skills in spotting birds from a distance. The area around Apoka tourism zone and the Narus is open plains dominated by short grass. Few trees are scattered in some spots and it is not a hard task spotting birds from a distance. The Kidepo valley has open sandbanks much of the year amid desert palm forest surrounded by woodland. This habitat hosts unique bird species that are restricted to Kidepo valley national park. The ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, pygmy falcon and many others are endemic in this vegetation set up. The montane forests in Morungole Mountain range though outside the park is a big factor in the movement and distribution of bird species in Kidepo valley national park.
The bird watching expeditions start early morning when temperatures are generally low, traverse the wilderness and explore the beauty of Kidepo valley national park. The ideal wear for bird watching expedition includes amongst others pair of trousers tucked in strong socks, light tops in dull color, safari hut or cap, sunglasses, safari boots and rain gear in rainy season. Please pack drinking water, snack, bird guidebook, binocular, insect repellant, sun scream, camera, map and first aid kit. A walking stick is appropriate in high altitude areas and during rainy season. Bird watching safari costs Non-foreign residents $30, Foreign residents, Foreign residents $30, East African citizens 10,000=. Note that it is mandatory to move with a ranger for bird watching expedition within Kidepo valley national park.