Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park wildlife is most active during the early mornings and late afternoons, making 6 am and 4 pm the ideal time for game drives. Rangers are available at all times to help tourists spot the myriad wildlife found in the park. Lions are often seen sitting on Narus’ various rocks. Elephants, bush duikers, bush babies, buffaloes, jackals, bushbucks, bush pigs and leopards are also seen during these drives. A game drive in Kidepo Valley takes you to the Kanangorok hot springs, passing through the magnificent landscapes. The track goes beyond the river, and passes between rock outcrops and hills prior to descending into the valley, and crossing the Kidepo sand river and traversing the open plains that extend beyond the hot springs towards the mountains across the Sudanese border.
Kidepo Valley National Park has over 400 bird species spread across its various birding spots. The park’s major bird watching spots include; Apoka Rest Camp and the water pools around it, the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny valleys.
The places to go for a guided hike/nature walk include; the Lomej mountains which can be trekked in four hours on foot, shorter walks (around 2 hours) can be taken through the Narus Valley, extending over a 5 kilometers radius from Apoka Tourism Center. Tourists can also take a guided walk along Kidepo river valley between the banks of the attractive borassus Palm forest. Also, treks can be arranged to Namamkwenyi valley and the Morungole mountains where you can encounter the members of the IK tribe.
The people to encounter during cultural excursions include the pastoral Karamojong, a tribe of indigenous cattle keepers whose main livelihood is herding livestock. Through their organized Lorukul cultural group, found just outside the park, you will understand the importance the Karamojong attach to their cattle through dramatized performances. Tourists are able to see the manyattas, the traditional Karamojong homesteads, their granaries and cattle enclosures. The IK people, an ethnic group numbering about 10000 people living in the mountains near the border with Kenya are the other group to encounter.
Kidepo Valley National Park can be visited all year but the best time to visit is in the middle of the dry season between the months of November and February when the animal population is concentrated around reliable water sources. During the wet season, from April – August, animals disperse from the valleys and relocate to higher ground where it is somewhat difficult to locate them.
Kidepo Valley National Park can be accessed by road or air. By road, there are several routes that can be taken;
Kampala – Karuma – Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo. This route is 571km and lasts approximately 10 hours.
Kampala – Mbale – Sironko – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo is 740km and lasts 12 hours.