In the north near the border with the Sudan, is the dramatic Kidepo Valley National Park. This 1,442 sq. km park in Karamoja land is a striking contrast to Uganda’s other wildlife reserves. Its seclusion lends the park a certain air of peace and tranquillity in which to enjoy its majestic scenery.
Kidepo Valley National Park is one of those out of the ordinary places in East Africa. A park with less than 10 new visitors a day, you will experience Africa at its best. The sounds of the winds sweeping through the valley – you are amazed that such a place as Kidepo Valley Park even exists – an abundance of wildlife – rough-hewn scenery and an absence of people, no caravans of vehicles meandering down the game tracks.
The park consists of the two shallow valleys, the Kidepo and Narus, with rugged dry mountain terrain. With only one rainy season from April to September, and temperatures that can reach 40oC, this can be a harsh climate. However, with 80 species, Kidepo supports a wider diversity of mammals than any other Ugandan park. Twenty-eight of these species do not exist elsewhere in Uganda. They include the cheetah , Greater Kudu and Bright’s gazelle. Bird watchers will be enchanted at the range of birds , officially listed at 462 species including the Kori Bustard. It is also the only Ugandan park where the ostrich is found.
Activities in the Park
There are several game viewing loops close to the main camp at Apoka in the Narus Valley. Visitors to the park may also visit Karamojong manyattas (homesteads), by arrangement with the park headquarters at Apoka, and see the traditional costumes and dances.
Come ready for the game drive which will expose you to Lions in abundance-especially during the dry season of the year (even some tree climbing ones) – Elephant and Buffalo herds roaming – Giraffe – leopards – cheetahs – wild dogs – ostriches-pangolins –the bat eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, and hunting dog – antelopes such as eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, jackson’s hartebeest and oribi.
There is an abundance of birds including many raptors – Kidepo Valley National Park has much to offer to the visitor who flies in or the stamina to drive in – but what awaits the visitor here is well worth the flight or drive here.
Nature Walks and Bush Walks
Kidepo Valley Park has some great places for Nature and Bush Walks. There is nothing like taking in the African Wild on foot and there are not many better places to do so than Kidepo Valley Park. There are also places outside of the park area where you can go for a hike such as an all day hike up the Morungole Mountains to visit the Ik People, one of the smallest tribes in Uganda.
There are many places within the park where you can hike and or climb including Idi Amin’s dream lodge that was never completed while he was president of Uganda – maybe in the future as more visitors come to the park it will be. All Nature Walks and Hikes within the Park will guided by Uganda Wildlife Authority Rangers, you cannot wander off on your own in this remote park.
Amazing Cultural Tours
The local people, the Karamoja, are traditional pastoralists. Their traditions include unique dances such as the Emuya and Ekajaro.
At Apoka Lodge there are 16 small banda suites and eight tents each containing two beds. A simple camp site is available at Kakine. Bring your own tents.
How to Reach the Park
Kidepo can be reached by road or air. Driving is not recommended but is possible in a 4WD. It takes two days to reach Kidepo from Kampala, either via Mbale and Moroto (840 km) or Gulu/Kitgum (600 km). Chartered light aircraft can fly into the airstrip at the park headquarters. Aircraft from Kenya must arrange immigration clearance in advance.
Getting here is a bit tough, or expensive if you fly in, however what awaits you far outweighs the cost of a flight or the long journey to the long forgotten Eden. Kidepo Valley Park is a Tapestry of rugged scenery, vibrant wildlife, Warrior Herdsmen Tribe, and the Ik people on remote Mount Morungole.
Therefore some of the tour operators have opened a new service that is kind of cheap providing 4×4 car rental in Uganda to tourists that are willing to visit this park on their own pace and they go on advising tourists combining the visit to Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park which both offers pure wildlife and other unforgettable landscapes in Uganda.
The drive takes a lot of time due to the distance from Kampala, the more scenic route from Sipi Falls to Kidepo Parks break up the journey. Kidepo Valley Park where the stunning scenery simply takes your breath away. It is just you and a stillness only broken by the cry from the wild.
VISITORS – Entrance Fees in US $ per 24 Hour Visit
Foreign Non-resident 14.29 2.86
Foreign Resident 9.52 2.86
Citizen Resident 1.90 0.48
MOTOR VEHICLES – Entrance Fees in US $ per visit
Motorcycle 1.90 7.62
Motor Car or Pickup 4.76 19.05
Bus or Lorry 11.43 45.71
ACCOMMODATION (BANDAS) – in US $ per person per night
Foreign Resident or Non-resident 20.95
Foreign Resident 11.43
CAMPING FEES – in US $ per person, per night
Foreign Non-resident 9.52
Foreign Resident 4.76
Citizen Resident 1.90
RANGER GUIDE – Per half day
Foreign or Non-resident 6.67
Citizen Resident 1.90
AIRCRAFT LANDING FEES – in US $ per each landing
Single or double-engined aircraft 38.10
VEHICLE HIRE – in US $ per kilometre
Land Rover 1.90
PHOTOGRAPHIC FEES – in US $ for commercial filming
Where the size of the filming party is:
1-5 persons 190.48
6-20 persons 476.19
Over 20 persons 952.38
These figures do not include Entrance Fees
For fuller details, please contact:
The Warden in Charge,
Kidepo Valley National Park,
Park Office, Kotido, Uganda.