The Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks. It is 1,442 square kilometres and has scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. ‘It could not be any better’ is a common comment on the scenery by visitors who often promise and do come back to Kidepo. Kidep National Park is situated along the border of Uganda with Sudan and Kenya, and offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes. It has a varied latitude and different climatic condition resulting to a diverse flora which result to abundance of animal species in the park.
The vegetation can best be described as open tree Savannah which varies much in structure and composition. Mountain forest dominates some of the high places, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest. The flora and fauna of the park are more typical of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The landscape throughout the park is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and icebergs from which one can obtain stunning views in all directions.
The park has a great diversity of animal species than other parks. Of the 80 species of mammals listed in 1971, 28 were not known to occur in any other Ugandan park. Carnivore species unique to Kidepo and Karamoja region include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog. Less common ungulates include the greater and lesser kudu, Chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, dikdik and bright gazelle; beisa oryx and roan antelope have been severely depleted by poachers in the recent years. Among other large ungulates are elephant, burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Rothschild giraffe, Cape buffalo, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, jackson’s hartbeest and oribi. Five species of primate are found in the park of which the Kavirondo bush baby is endemic. Carnivores present include lion, leopard, several small cats, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal. This park is the easiest to see being the jackals.
One of the spectacles is a chance to encounter the tree climbing lions at Narus valley. Other interesting wildlife includes elephants, leopard, bush duiker, jackal, bush buck, bush pig and Kavirondo bush baby.
The park is outstanding for its birds of prey. The park is known for its 14 endemic species among the 58 species recorded including in the wider Karamoja region. These include Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon. There are four species of hornbills which are peculiar in Kidepo. They are red billed, the yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbill. The giant Abyssinaia ground hornbill is quite common.
Hot To Get To Kidepo National Park.
By Road: The Park is easily reached by both road and air. A drive will give you more rewarding safari experience through Karamoja which is a vast unspoilt wilderness. During the rain seasons, the roads might be difficult to navigate and a 4WD vehicle is recommended. The park is over 700kms from Uganda capital, Kampala and a stopover in between either at Murchison Falls National Park/Karuma Wildlife reserve is recommended. You can also have a stopover in Mt Elgon National Park idf taking the East of Lake Kyoga route. Either route, a direct drive to Kidepo National Park will take in more than 12hrs of driving.
By air: Charter flight can be organized from Kampala or as a circuit safari around Uganda National Parks
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