Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the best kept secrets of Uganda. Located in the extreme northeastern part of Uganda, Kidepo is a less known but highly gifted national park. Though few travelers taking Uganda tours visit the park, there are lots of exciting activities and lifetime experiences to enjoy that you will not easily find elsewhere in the world. Safaris to the spectacular wilderness in the extreme northeastern part of Uganda expose you to the beautiful rocks, beautiful hills and a variety of wildlife. Ranked as Africa’s 3rd best national park, Kidepo Valley National Park is the best of the best national parks associated with magnificent green trails and variety of wildlife. The remote location of kidepo is an added advantage that has kept it natural to offer travelers with the off beaten kind of experience hardly found elsewhere.
Things to Do in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo’s Wildlife safari experiences range from game viewing, walking safaris, sight seeing and community visits all, which make a safari fantastic. A wide range of vegetation comprised of open wood savannah grassland, Miombo woodland, montane forests; Riparian woodland, rocky koppies and swampy vegetation favor the habitation of wild and bird life. The top things to see and do in kidepo valley national park include among others:
Done in the open savannah grasslands, game driving is a suitable way to see herbivores browse while predators hunt down their preys. Game driving exposé travelers to a variety of wildlife such as giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, lions, warthogs, and Uganda kobs along with various bird species done in the morning and evening hours. Travelers together with experienced guides follow various tracks and the starting point depend on the location of their accommodation facilities. Night game drives are also done to experience nocturnal animals such as the cheetahs and pattas. Wildlife is mostly seen in the Narus valley due to the remnant water pools that survive in the dry season as the source of water in the entire national park drawing a high a concentration of wildlife for fresh grass and drinking water.
Kidepo valley national park is a home to over 486 bird species some of which are endemic to the area. Birds are mostly seen in the swampy vegetation and in the forested areas of the park. The most seen birds include lesser kesrel, Egyptian vulture, karamoja appalls, pygmy falcon, yellow-billed stork, kori bustard, sand grouse, red-billed hornbill, and Jackson’s horn bill among others. Interestingly, travelers to kidepo valley national park are blessed to see the common ostriches, which are only seen in kidepo in the whole of Uganda. Ostriches are one of the rare bird species and the Uganda wildlife authority has put strategies to ensure all ostrich eggs are harvested for breeding purposes all aimed at increasing the population of this bird specie in the country hence promoting avian tourism.
Karamoja region also known as the wild west of Africa is one of the regions with rich traditional cultural experiences that was left out by the British in the times of colonization. Cattle grazing is the major activity done in the region where people feed mainly on cattle products such as meat, milk and blood as their source of food and income thug people arte presently practicing subsistence farming. In community visits, travelers interact with local people and stay in their Manyattas, which make them feel as part of the local community. Interestingly, travelers are allowed to take part in local activities such as milking, grazing, preparing local foods, which provide them with an extensive understanding of traditional local life.
Since karamoja is semi arid land with little rain fall, there is inadequate water and pasture for cattle which force people to move from one place to another in search of fresh pastures and water.
Not only does kidepo valley national park offer best wildlife views but also a best place for bush walks. Bush walks can be done both inside and outside the park on foot. Areas outside the park where nature walks can be done include the Morungole mountains where travelers interact with the IK people the first dwellers of the karamoja region. The other site visited on foot is the never accomplished Idi Amin’s dream lodge. Bush walks are done with the help of an experienced armed ranger approved by the Uganda wildlife authority.