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Kidepo Valley National Park covers an area of 1,442 km2, Uganda’s most spectacular wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park. Gazetted in 1962, the same year Uganda got its independence, it is the most authentic of the African wildernesses in Uganda and probably the least visited park due to the long-haul journey of travel. The Kidepo valley is located in the northeastern part of Uganda, bordering Sudan and Kenya in the Karamoja region. It lies at an altitude range between 914 m and 2,750 m above sea level. This consideration, combined with the valley’s open savanna habitat, makes it the park’s prime game viewing location.

Indeed, it is possible to sight a good variety of wildlife simply by scanning the valley with binoculars from the comfort of the Apoka lodge. It is much more interesting to take a trip to Kidepo by surface transport, which provides en-route view drives and charter flights are booked from Entebbe-Kajjansi airstrip to reach Kidepo.

Species found in Kidepo Valley National Park

The vegetation is dominated by open savanna, with dry mountain forests and acacia forests. The park hosts at least 86 mammal species (elephants, zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, bush pigs), including many predators. like black-backed jackals, African hunting dogs, bat-eared foxes, cheetahs, caracals, lions, and leopards. There are 17 antelope species. The bird checklist includes 475 recorded species, including 56 raptors, like a pygmy falcon, ostriches, tawny eagle, secretary bird, and vultures.

Activities in Kidepo Valley National Park

Game drive loops direct visitors to wildlife viewing locations in the Narus valley in the South West of the park; mountain hiking; bird watching; camping; community visits; and cultural performance participation.

Accessibility to the Park

The park can be reached by both air and road. Driving is more rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and untouched wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes difficult and 4WD vehicles are usually essential.

There are four possible routes by road: routes via Mbale pass to the east of Lake Kyoga to reach northern Uganda; routes via Karuma pass to the west.

Kampala-Karuma-Gulu-Kitgum-Kidepo = 571 kms.
Kampala-Karuma-Karuma-Kira-Kotido-Kidepo = 705kms
Kampala-Mbale-Sironko-Kotido-Kaabong-Kidepo = 740kms
Kampala-Mbale-Soroti-Moroto-Kidepo = 792kms

Visitors should note that the main road mainly in use from Kotido to Kaabong passes via Kanawat and not via Losilang as indicated on most maps. Inquire at Kotido. Prospective visitors should contact UWA Headquarters or Wild (the Apoka lodge operator) to obtain up-to-date advice about road conditions and safety to identify the preferred choice of route.

Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aero Club, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority has plans to make Lomej, to the east of Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.

Accommodation facilities in the park

At Kidepo Valley National Park, accommodation is provided at Apoka lodge, N’gamoru wilderness camp (luxury), and Uganda wildlife authority Banda’s luxury and mid-range respectively. There is an option of camping in the park as well.

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