Wildlife Group Safaris to Kidepo Valley National Park
Since the park is in a semi-arid region, it is drained by seasonal oases, though there’s are permanent water sources in the wetlands within the broad Narus Valley. Kidepo national park is a paradise of unique and interesting cultures, namely the Ik cultivators and Dodoth pastoralists who have lived in this region before the establishment of the park in 1958. Therefore, the intension of creating the park was both to protect the wildlife and these endangered tribal communities.
Wildlife Safaris in Kidepo
Kidepo Valley National Park is well known for its immense diversity of fauna, comprising over 86 mammal species, third behind Queen Elizabeth and Murchison falls national parks. Of 86 species, 28 of the mammals in Kidepo Valley National Park are not found anywhere else in Uganda. Some of the endemic animals include aardwolf, striped hyena, greater and lesser kudu klipspringer, caracal cheetah, dik-dik, and Chandler’s mountain reed buck, Bright’s gazelle, the beisa Oryx and roan antelope. The African wild dogs are occasionally seen in the park but are non-residents as they come from south Sudan. Majority of other large mammals common elsewhere in Uganda include the African elephant, zebra, water buck, buffaloes, Jackson’s hartebeests, leopard, lions and both black-backed and side-striped jackal.
Cultural visits to the Karamojong & IK People
A rewarding cultural immersion awaits as you meet the cultivating Ik and pastoralist Karamojong communities in the neighborhood of Kidepo Park. Get to learn about their captivating way of life, meet village elders and enjoy a fun-filled activity with the children of the community. Another option is to hike the Morungole Mountains, and mix and mingle with the enchanting Ik people. This remote tribe of subsistence farmers has kept to their traditional way of life, with villagers travelling to the lowlands to trade grain only. These are some of the smallest and marginalized tribes in the country with only about 10,000 people. Known as “Mountain people”, the Ik tour is an out-of-the-ordinary excursion to fully explore one of the remote tribes in Africa. Other populations of Ik people are found in Kabongo district neighbouring Kidepo national park.
Birding in Kidepo
Kidepo valley national park is one of Uganda’s Important Birding Area with a population of close to 450 species of bird and a dream hub for bird watching expeditions. Enjoy the views of hundreds of birds of prey as well as other 50 species in Uganda are unique to the Karamoja region.
Game Drives in Kidepo
Untouched, hidden and brimming with varied landscapes, Kidepo National Park is one of Africa’s treasured gems. With less visitors than any other park in Uganda, you can expect an almost private game drive experience as you traverse through endless plains, only interrupted by craggy outcrops, and a flourishing valley. Cross over the Kidepo Sand River, drive to the Kanangorok hot springs and be amazed by the towering mountains which stand vigil in the distance. Together with your guide, immediately get introduced to the park’s ever green flora as well as its wildlife, ranging from elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, variety of antelopes, giraffes, extensive array of bird species and more. Marked with tiny lush hills, rugged out crops and inselbergs, the vast landscape throughout the park is flawless, and one can enjoy spectacular views in every direction. The ever flowing waters ensure River Kidepo is a sparkling oasis in this semi desert.
Towering to 2,750m above sea level and traversed by Kidepo and Narus rivers, Mount Morungole marks the southern boundary of Kidepo national park and its majestic slopes can be seen from these plains a few kilometers north-east of Apoka. With a ranger, you can take a hiking expedition to explore the slopes of Morungole Mountains and visit the resident IK people. These are some of the rarest and smallest ethnic groups found only in Uganda, and comprise unique and special culture.
When to visit
Visiting during the dry season has its own benefits. These months include June to September and December to February. Wildlife viewing is easier due to thin vegetation and many animals draw closer as they look out for reliable water sources. It is quite sunny with few cloudy days. Skies are fogy and not so clear views. Extreme dry months like June and July are very arid and dusty. Visiting during the wet seasons also comes with its advantages and disadvantages. These months include October to November and March to May. Even though game viewing is easier in the dry season, you’ll still spot a descent amount of wildlife in wet season. Birding is at its best, as well as migratory birds can be spotted in this season. The scenery is green and lush with crisp air. Heat is less harsh. Sometimes animals disperse from the valleys, moving to more hidden places where they are more difficult to spot.
Joining a group tour to Kidepo Valley NP
Generally, the principal period of spotting wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park is during the dry season, June to September and December to February. Fortunately, Kidepo national park is situated in a semi-arid region and so it can be visited throughout the year. Nevertheless, the wet seasons of Kidepo (March – May) are pleasantly less hot and may sometimes bring beautiful scenery. Bird watching is also excellent during wet season, with migratory birds present.