Facts about Kidepo Valley National park
About Kidepo valley national park
Facts about Kidepo Valley National park: Kidepo valley national park is one of the magnificent national parks in Uganda located in the remote Karamoja region in Kaabong district between Uganda and south Sudan border. the national park covers a total land area of 1442 square kilometers and is comprised of savannah vegetation, hills, valleys like Kidepo and Narus valley, Mount Morungole among others. According to CNN Travel, Kidepo valley national park was named the second most attractive and beautiful national parks in Africa due to charming and breathtaking landscape and abundant wildlife. The park is known for its wildlife which includes over 76 mammal species and 480 bird species.
main facts about Kidepo valley national park
Attractions in Kidepo valley national park
Wild animals, the national park is a home of mammal species including the big four mammals which are the elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes plus other animals like the zebras, ostrich, orx, hyenas, bat eared fox, aardwolf, caracal, jackal, klipspringer, bohor reed buck, bushbuck, bush duiker, waterbuck, elands, oribi, Uganda kobs, greater and lesser kudu, Jackson’s hartebeest among others
Bird species, Kidepo valley national park is a home of over 474 bird species which makes it the second destination in Uganda with the highest number of bird species after Kidepo valley national park. bird species in the park include the black breasted barbet, little bee-eater, ostrich, red and yellow barbet, Kori bustard, Karamoja apalis, pygmy falcon, Jackson’s hornbill, Abyssinian roller, white bellied go away bird, purple heron, secretary bird, yellow billed shrike among others.
Apoka tourism Centre, the Centre overlooks Narus valley and it acts as a hub for all activities in the park for example it has vehicles for hire for the travellers, it’s a station for the park guides and rangers, there are many lodges around the Centre, has cooking equipment’s for hire for visitors who are camping, has a canteen which sells beverages and offers great scenic views of animals which will be going to drink water at Narus valley.
Mount Morungole, there mountains act as a boundary between the park and the IK people which is the smallest ethnic tribe in Karamoja region. The IK people live on top of the mountains and visitors who want to visit will walk on foot with a park ranger.
Narus Valley, this valley consists of rolling grassland plains which are surrounded by distant mountains and Narus River which is situated down at the valley. Narus valley has permanent water which attracts abundant wildlife species which gather to drink water especially during the dry season.
Kidepo valley, the valley also attracts wildlife hence good for wildlife viewing and during the dry season it dries up leaving the valley with a long trail of white sand between the river banks covered with Borassus palms
Namamukweny valley, the valley is found in the north western part of the park. the name Namamukwenyi is a Napore word which means a place with no birds but it’s the opposite because the valley is a great birding area with bird species like the white crested turaco, green wood hoopoe, common bulbul, Abyssinian roller, eastern paradise whydah among others.
Lonyili Mountain, the mountain is surrounded by Montane forest and lies between the Sudan border and Kitgum. The mountain is a habitat of primate species such as the black and white colobus monkeys and is best accessed by air transport means which gives you an aerial view of the mountain because its road network is poor.
Things to do in Kidepo valley national park
Game drive, this is the most popular activity carried out in the park, Kidepo valley national park harbors over 76 mammal species with 28 species endemic to only Karamoga region including bat eared fox, caracal, striped hyena, aardwolf, cheetah, hunting dog among others. Game drives in the park are either done early in the morning when the wildlife is still active or in the late afternoon following different game tracks such as game tracks to the Narus valley, Kidepo valley, Apoka tourism Centre among others. During the game drive you will view animal species such as the elephants, bush duiker, bushbuck, jackal, bush pig, buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, Rothschild giraffes, eland, waterbuck, bohor reedbuck, oribi, Jackson’s hartebeest among others which will be seen along the Narus River drinking water especially during the dry season when there is less rainfall in the park.
Night game drive, Kidepo valley national park is one of the national parks in Uganda which offer nocturnal game drives which are carried out at night with spotlight torches for clear viewing and a park ranger for safety. During the night game drive you will get an opportunity to view animals which you will have missed during the day and nocturnal animals such as the white tailed mongoose, spotted hyenas, side striped jackal, black backed jackal, bush baby among others.
Nature walk /hiking, this is an interesting activity in the park where visitors get an opportunity to explore the park on foot, nature walk in Kidepo valley national park can be done around Apoka Rest Camp, Lomej mountains, along Narus valley, Kidepo river valley between the banks of Borassus palm forest, Namamukweny valley which can be reached in one hour from Apoka rest camp, hiking to Morungole mountains which is visit the IK people among others. During the nature walk you will have spectacular views of the animals, birds singing in the trees, beautiful landscape, Kanangorok hot springs among others.
Bird watching, Kidepo valley national park is a home of over 480 bird species which makes it one of the second destinations with the highest number of bird species after Queen Elizabeth national park. Birding in the park has migratory species, Karamoja endemics, Somali Masai biome species, afro tropical highland species, Sudan and Guinea savannah species, Guinea Congo biome among others. birding in Kidepo valley national park can be done on at the edge of Narus and Namamukweny valley where you will look out for bird species like the white bellied go away bird, red spotted barbet, ring necked spur fowl, black winged Pranticole, African pied hornbill, yellow billed shrike, black Rumped waxbill, red winged lark, little rock thrush, brown Parisona, Karamoja Apalis, green bee-eater, standard winged nightjar, African swallow tailed kite, yellow billed shrike, African flycatcher, white bellied tit, brown backed woodpecker, straw tailed whydahs among others.
Cultural encounter, this is a thrilling activity where you have an encounter with the local communities around the park. During the cultural encounter you will visit the Karamojong who are known as fierce warriors and nomadic pastoralists. They consider cattle as their royalty therefore a man is considered rich according to the number of cows he owns. the Karamajong live for cattle therefore they will move from one place to another to find good pasture and water for their cattle and the women stay back in the Manyatta to look after the young ones. Men are polygamous in that they can take as many wives as possible as long as they have dowry to pay. on your cultural encounter you will learn about the Karamojongs rich culture, homesteads, traditional instruments including jewel’s, spears, knives, arrows, beads, stools, craft shops at the entrance, cultural entertainment in form of dances, music among others.
IK people, this is a small group of about 10,000 people living in the northeastern part of Uganda in Morungole Mountains. It’s believed that the IK people migrated from Ethiopia, first settled in Kenya and then migrated to Kidepo valley national park. They were hunters and gatherers but due to cattle raids from other tribes they started subsistence farming, honey production and goat rearing. The IK people are polygamous and men can marry as many wives as they want depending on the number of beehives they own. a visit to the IK people will help you to learn about their culture, how bride price is paid, how polygamy is part of life, taste their local beer among others.
When to visit Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo valley national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best period to visit is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. the dry season is also known as the peak season and during this period there is less rainfall in the park therefore the grass in the park will be short which helps you to clearly view animals grazing in the open savannah grassland access roads to the park will be passable and large concentration of animals will gather around Narus valley to drink water which gives you a clear view of various animals and also take beautiful photos.
Where to stay on your safari in Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo has few luxury, midrange and budget accommodation where visitors can stay on a safari in the park such as Apoka rest camp, Kidepo savannah lodge, Apoka safari lodge, Nga moru wilderness camp, Adere safari lodge among others. the lodges provide amenities and facilities like comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms, restaurant which serves local and international meals, bar, swimming pool, laundry services, power outlet for charging electrical equipment’s, spa, fire place, siting lounge for relaxation and great views of the park, animals and bird species.
with the above facts about kidepo valley national park, one should be posiotion to make concrete decision on when to visit this amazing national park.