Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species. Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.
The park’s altitude ranges between 914m and 2,750m above sea level. The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife. The local communities around the park include pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.
Best Time to Visit
The prime time to see wildlife in Kidepo Valley NP is during the Dry season (September to March). Kidepo is however located in a semi-arid region and can be visited throughout the year. The Wet season months (April to August) are pleasantly less hot and bring beautiful scenery. Bird watching is at its best at this time as well.
September to March (Dry season)
September to March (The park rarely gets crowded)
April, May (Camps and lodges may close)
September, October & November (End of the rains and beginning of the Dry season)
December to February (It is very hot and dusty)
September to March –Dry Season
Wildlife viewing is easier as animals tend to seek out reliable water sources and vegetation thins
It is sunny with few cloudy days
Skies are hazy and the views are not so great
It is very arid and dusty
During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.
April to August –Wet Season
Even though animals are easier to spot in the Dry season, you’ll still see a decent amount of wildlife
Migratory birds can be found, and birding is at its best
The scenery is lush and green, and the air is crisp
The heat is less oppressive
The best way to get to Kidepo Valley NP is by a scheduled plane flight. Another option is to go by chartered flight. It is also possible to drive to Kidepo through the remote Karamoja region. The region has been subject to banditry in the past but is now locally considered safe. There are several routes. The best and most direct route, through Gulu and Kitgum to Lokumoit Gate, takes about 10 hours. The trip can be broken up with an overnight stop at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Chobe Safari Lodge, Gulu or Kitgum. Two longer routes pass through Karamoja subregion, arriving at Nataba Gate. Domestic flights between parks are usually scheduled by your tour operator. They will also arrange for your pick-up from the airport or your hotel in most cases. You will enter Uganda by way of Entebbe International Airport (EBB), which is near the town of Entebbe and 46km/29mi from Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
- Game Drives
- Hiking/Nature Walks
- Cultural Encounters
- Karamojong Village
- A Visit to the Ik People
Kidepo national park is a true gem with huge abundance in wildlife. It remains a true rendition of tourism in Uganda but remains unknown to many! All these fall in a prime game viewing location. This national park is situated in Kaabong district in Northeastern Uganda.