Kidepo Valley National Park
Approximately 1000 mountain gorillas remaining in the world and only found in East African mountain rain forests in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, Virunga National Park in DR Congo and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest protects a little more than half of the total number of mountain gorillas in the world.
To see the mountain gorillas, it’s mandatory that you acquire a gorilla permit which will cost you US$600 in Uganda and US$1500 in Rwanda from the governments.
A wilderness park; dry, hot and isolated, yet spectacular’ magnificent and virgin, waiting to be discovered. Traversed by large sand rivers, the park is renowned for its distinctive composition of wild game co-existing with the dry mountain forests, open savanna and hilltops capped by the rock kopjes. Enjoy the isolated wilderness dominated by the 2,750m Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and great Narus rivers.
Perennial rains may make Kidepo an Oasis in the semi-desert, but its tract of rugged savannah is home to 77 mammal species and almost 500 birds. Game viewing is exciting all year round and so is bird watching, foot safari and mountain climbing. And even in the dry season, it is worth the drive just to visit the seasonal Kidepo River and stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with Borassus palm trees. The 1,442km2 is located in the Karamoja region of northern Uganda and borders the Sudan in the North West and Kenya in the north east.
There are four routed by road. The 705km journey from Kampala via Lira, Kotido, Kaabong and then to Kidepo. The 740km journey via Mbale, Soroti, Mororto, Kotido, Kaabong and then Kidepo; the 780km journey from Kampala via Mbale, Soroti, mantany, Kotido, Kaabong and onto Kidepo, and the 571km journey from Kampala through Gulu, Kitigum and to Kidepo. Driving through the wilderness is an exciting experience as one gets the chance of better scenery. One will need a good 4×4 vehicle especially during the rainy season.
Chartered aircrafts to Kidepo nay be arranged from Kajjansi or from Entebbe International airport to Lomel airstrip near the park headquarters. Flight takes two hours. Civil Aviation Authority plans to make Lomel airstrip, to the east of Apoka tourism center, an international airport to enable visitors fly in direct to Kidepo from abroad.
GAME DRIVERS/ VIEWING
Game drives can be done along Narus valley as the park’s wildlife congregates here much of the year. This area has adequate track circuit enabling visitors view the animals at a close range. The Katurum kopie provides superb via north across the valley towards Morungole mountain range.
Nature walks can be done around Apoka camp at any time of the day and visitors will be able to view different species of animals like elephants, Bulbul, zebra’s and Reedbucks. At the eastern Kakine circuit, visitors can see wildlife at a close range of up to 50-70 meters. Nature walks can also be done along Rionomoe trail and around this hill where one can view the lower side of the Narus valley.
Community walks are one of the ways you can get to know more about the Karamojong lifestyle, culture, dressing style, dancing and the tools used. The Karamojong are traditionally cattle raiders and hunters. However, through community conservation education, their lifestyle is gradually changing and most of them now know the value of conservation of the park.
The Morungole ranges rise from the plains a few kilometers north of Apoka. A trip to Kidepo valley is needed to get a good view of Morungole Mountain, the highest peak in Kidepo. Even at 2,749m, this peak is not easily seen from most vantage points in the Nasus valley. This can be explored in foot with a ranger guide escort.
SAND ALONG RIVER KIDEPO
Kidepo River is an intermittent sand river found in the northern part of the park. It stands out because it is lined by Borassus palms, making it look like an oasis in the Sahara. The sand bed experience on river Kidepo can be found around this area and one can enjoy the wilderness experience while listening to the different bird calls.
This activity can be done either in the morning or afternoon and the park has got a variety of birds. The experienced guides will show you around.