“The True African Wilderness” One of Africa’s most magnificent wilderness.
Park lies in the far northeast of Uganda, isolated from the rest of the country by the sparsely populated, arid badlands of Karamoja region. It covers an area of 1,442km and it has an altitude range of between 914m and 2,750m above sea level. When you move around the park, it is ringed by mountains but its area is dominated by the broad valleys of the Kidepo River to the north and the Narus River in the south. Apoka, the site of the park’s headquarters, lodge and hostel, overlooks the Narus Valley which is the prime game-viewing area.
The dominant habitat is open or lightly wooded savanna, interspersed with patches of montane forest, riparian woodland, thick Miombo woodland, borassus palms and rocky koppies. Five primates have been recorded in this park including the localized patas monkey. Predators are particularly well represented, with 20 species resident. Of these, the black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, cheetah and caracal are found in no other Uganda national park. Other antelope species are Jackson’s hartebeest, eland, bushbuck, common duiker, klipspringer, oribi, Defassa waterbuck and bohor reedbuck. The park also supports populations of elephant, Burchell’s zebra, warthog, bush pigs and buffalo.
Kidepo’s long bird checklist is made even more impressive by the relatively small size of the park and the fact that as many as 100 of birds listed are either dry-country species which within Uganda are particularly confined in Kidepo. It is noted that there are 56 bird species in total of which the most commonly observed are the dark chanting goshawk, pygmy falcon, tawny eagle, bataleur, secretary bird and several types of vulture. Other birds include; the ostrich, kori bustard, fox and white-eyed kestrels to mention but a few.
The Uganda Wildlife Authority is always available to provide game drives on a park truck. Guided walks can also be arranged which gives a chance of viewing more common species such as buffalos, zebras, waterbucks, hartebeests and elephants.
Kidepo has accommodation facilities where tourists can have their stay during their safari. Luxury tourists can book with Apoka lodge, tourists who would prefer budget accommodation book with Apoka Rest Camp and kakine campsite.i[
Now that peace has broken out across northern Uganda, driving to Kidepo is once again a feasible option. Historically, the route to Kidepo ran through Mbale, Soroti and Moroto. However, this is subject to recurrent banditry and should not be attempted. It is not worth the risk since safer alternative route exists round the western side of Lake Kyoga, approaching the park via Gulu.
Kidepo is about three and a-half hours’ drive from Kitgum on a dirt road which passes through some magnificent mountain scenery. There’s no need to pass through kaabong, the direct route runs from Kitgum to Orom, where a signposted left turn follows a scenic route through mountains to Kidepo’s katurum Gate via Kalenga. It is possible to reach Kidepo without your own vehicle. The most basic option is a bumpy ride in a pick up or truck to karenga, a few kilometers outside the park.