Kidepo Valley National Park (Things to do and see – Accommodation)
Kidepo Valley National park, also managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority was gazetted as a game reserve in 1958 and later became a national park in 1962. It is 1,442 km2 and ranges from 900 to 2.750 m in altitude.
Kidepo Valley national park is the most wild of all the national parks in Uganda with breath taking savannah landscapes and endless views of the horizon. It is one of the less visited national parks in Uganda and so you experience the feeling of having the whole national park by yourself. On guided game drives, you will see many elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, lions, baboons, and a variety of antelopes, warthogs, jackals and countless savannah birds. It is the only national park in Uganda where you can see cheetahs. The park has the largest buffalo population with a herd of about 1,700 buffaloes, not recorded any where else on earth. You may also go for bird watching, a guided walking safari and a nocturnal game drive.
There are different types of accommodation for each traveller from high end to budget accommodations and camping is also available for the more adventurous ones.
A Uganda safari to this scenic park is a must. It is a long distance from Kampala to Kidepo but our safaris to Kidepo have a stopover in Gulu or Kitgum to breakdown the journey and you can also fly-into Kidepo Valley National park for an experience that should not be missed.
For a traveller who loves getting off the ‘tourist track’, then you should not miss visiting Kidepo Valley National park on your Uganda Safari
From Kidepo Valley National park, you can easily connect to Murchison falls national park, Uganda’s biggest conservation area named after the famous Murchison falls. Bird’s Nest Safaris has designed Uganda wildlife safaris that combine these two national parks and if you are interested, contact us.
Because of its uniqueness and spectacular wilderness, Kidepo Valley National Park was recently rated 3rd-best National Park in Africa by CNN
Top things to do and see in Kidepo Valley National park- Wilderness safaris:
Kidepo Valley National park is Africa’s finest wilderness and visitors can choose from different activities as below. The Narus Valley is Kidepo’s major area of interest for game drive safari.
Game drive safaris in the Narus Valley: The most popular place for safari game drives in Kidepo Valley National park is the Narus Valley which is in the southern part of the park. It has water throughout the year and many animals gather in this grass rolling plains for water giving travelers the opportunity to enjoy their game drive safari with views of many animals like the elephants, buffaloes, zebras, hartebeest, bush pigs, warthogs and different types of antelopes. The park has well developed game tracks to make game drives easy but a 4 x4 WD vehicle is recommended. Kidepo Valley National park inhabits about 80 mammals of which 28 are only found here. Apart from the animals mentioned above, there are predators such as the lions, leopards, cheetahs. Kidepo is the only national park with cheetahs in Uganda, but you can also find them in one of the biggest wildlife reserve known as Pian Up wildlife reserve in Eastern Uganda.
Game drives in Kidepo Valley National park are guided by an armed ranger of Uganda Wildlife Authority. These rangers are very knowledgeable and most of them are locals who will educate you a lot about the wildlife, birds of the national park and the history of the people in the surrounding communities.
A traveler can go for full day games, or choose between morning games and evening game drives.
To be able to see animals that are only active in the night and lions hunting, you can go for a guided nocturnal game drive safari. Night game drives are only possible in four national parks in Uganda.
Birding in Kidepo Valley National park: Kidepo Valley National park is a birder’s paradise and perfect for bird watching. About 58 bird species have been recorded in the park and you can go for bird watching in the morning, afternoon and late evening a long the Narus and Namamukweny valleys. Some of the birds watched are the purple heron, Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture, pygmy falcon, super starling, Abyssinian roller and Abyssinian ground hornbill. Clapperton’s Francolin is only found in Kidepo Valley National park.
Picnics at Kidepo Valley River banks: Kidepo river bank has a beautiful picnic site that visitors can go to. Because the Valley hardly has water throughout the year, there are a handful of animals in this area but it is still worth a visit and walk a long its bed of white sand surrounded by beautiful palm trees.
Hikes and nature walks in Kidepo Valley National park: Travelers can go for a 4 hours hike to Lomej Mountains or go for short guided walks for two hours. These guided walks can take you to Narus valley where most of the animals gather for water. Visitors can also go for hikes to Morungole Mountains to meet the special IK tribe.
Cultural community walks: Cultural community walks are a great way to interact and learn more about local cultures of people in Uganda. Walks in Kidepo Valley National park take you to the Karamajong Manyattas which are homesteads to the local people. Visitors will learn about their way of dancing, traditional clothes, hunting and their cherished jewellery.
How to get to Kidepo Valley National park
Road transport: The Park can be easily accessed by road, offering scenic landscape and local communities. It is advisable that you break down the journey from Gulu or Kitgum. The roads have been worked on and are now easy to drive on.
Air transport: There are chartered and scheduled air flights from Entebbe International Airport to the park Headquarters. There is an airstrip located at Lomej which is about 3km south of the Headquarters. Bird’s Nest Safaris partners with Aerolink Uganda for your scheduled flights to Kidepo Valley National park.
What to bring for a safari in Kidepo Valley National park
- Light clothing
- Wide rimmed hat
- Cotton underwear
- Insect repellent
- A flash light
- A camera with spare batteries
- Binoculars for wildlife and bird viewing
- A lot of water
- Food if staying at the rest camps
Accommodation inside Kidepo Valley National park
Apoka Safari LodgeLocated in Kidepo Valley National park, which is Uganda’s most remote national park, this high end safari lodge is perfect for visitors who want to experience wilderness combined with luxury. The lodge has 10 spacious rooms each with a private veranda to offer great savannah views of the park. The lodge was built using local materials and by local craftsmen. The rooms have big hand hewn beds with draping mosquito nets and hand woven carpets. The lodge has a swimming pool carved out of the big rock perfect for a dip on those hot days after a safari in the park.
Apoka Rest Camp This rest camp is managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda’s conservation body. It has clean self contained cottages and in the evenings, many animals come around. It is also possible to hitch your own tent or hire one; at the camp grounds. The rest camp is the perfect place for starting all the activities of the park that include wildlife game drives and bird watching. If booked in advance, you can get basic meals from the camp, but alternatively, you may bring your food and request a chef to prepare it for you as you enjoy the wilderness.
Kakine Self-catering Campsite This camp is so basic and only has tents but offers the greatest wilderness views. It has a basic toilet and bathing area. You will be guarded by a ranger from Uganda Wildlife Authority at all times. You will have to bring all your food and provisions
Accommodation outside Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Savannah Lodge– Kidepo Savannah lodge is Kidepo’s new lodge on the block. It is located 500 M away from the park gate, and it feels like one is inside the national park. The lodge has a thatched dining and bar with great views of the Kidepo National park. Lunches are two course meals while dinners are a 4 course meals. Clients with special diet requirements are considered.
The lodge has 8 self contained tents each on a raised deck and a private veranda and the tents have hot showers. It has 9 non self contained lodges for the budget option with a communal block that has hot showers and flushing toilets.
Bird’s Nest Safaris recommends Uganda wildlife safaris to Kidepo National park as mentioned below. These are just suggested itineraries which can be customized to fit the client’s interests. You can combine a wildlife safari from Kidepo Valley National park, to other national parks in Uganda.
Recommended Wildlife safaris to Kidepo Valley National park