Kidepo National Park
Kidepo national park is located in the northern East region of Uganda in Kaabong district. Kidepo national park is considered one of the most scenic and magnificent national parks in Uganda. The park managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority is ranked among Africa’s finest wilderness. Kidepo national park is an area of 1442 square kilometer situated approximately 705 kilometers from Kampala the capital city of Uganda
History of Kidepo National Park
The Park was home to the Ik group of people, Karamojong pastoralists, Jie, Tepeth, Kadama, Dodoth, Pokot, Labwor, Mening, and Nyangia before it was gazetted as a national park. In 1958 the area was gazetted as a game reserve which resulted in the eviction of all the tribal groups of people who used this area as a home and cultivation field. These people relocated to areas like Kalo, Kadu, Namosingo, and Loriwo. In these areas, these people faced low lifestyles as they were faced by famine.
1962 after Uganda getting its independence from the British colonialist, under the regime of doctor Milton of Obote the reserve was elevated to a national park with Ian Ross a Briton as a warden.
Attractions in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo is a protected area of many wonders which has made it be ranked among the best national parks in the world, attractions in kidepo national include
Wildlife: The park is home to a variety of wildlife species approximately 700 species with unique animals which restricted only to this location such as klipspringer, lesser kudu, greater kudu, Chandler’s Mountain reedbuck, and Guenther’s dik-dik. Other animals found in kidepo national park include elephant, buffalo, Burchell’s zebra, Rothschild’s giraffe, eland, bushbuck, duiker, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbuck, Uganda kob, bush pig, warthog, Oribi and many more.
Birds: Kidepo is an interesting birding site with many bird species which can be seen while in the park, the presence birds in this park is greatly influenced by the semi-arid climatic conditions received by the park and the various vegetation types such as open savannah woodland, wood, montane forests which are a home to these birds. Many bird species are encountered in kidepo national park such as Egyptian vulture, Pygmy falcon, Ostrich, Verreaux’s eagle, Black coucal, Yellow-rumped Seedeater, Clapperton’s Francolin, Karamoja apalis, Black-breasted Barbet, Broad-tailed Warbler, Silver bird, Yellow-billed Shrike, Marsh Tchagra, Crimson-rumped Waxbill. African Moustached francolin, Black-headed Plover, Red-winged Ptyilia, Yellow-spotted Petronia, White-billed Buffalo Weavers, Straw-tailed Whydahs, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Red-billed Oxpecker, Scarlet-chested Sunbird and many more.
Scenic rugged landscape: Kidepo is dotted with rugged landscapes which is made up of valleys, hill, and mountain. The park contains three valleys that is Kidepo valley, Narus valley, and Namamukweny valley. Kidepo valley is found in the east and north east region of the park. This valley contains kanangorok hot spring, Namamukweny valley is an important birding site containing many bird species such as crested Turaco, Abyssinian Roller and many more. Narus Valley is situated in the south and west region of the park and well known for being home to many wildlife species, these valleys are where game drives take place in kidepo national park
Kidepo is made up of Lomej hills situated adjacent to the park’s headquarters and mountain Morungule is a magnificent feature that is home to the Ik minority group of people.
Activities in Kidepo
Kidepo National Park is a breath taking tourist destination offering exciting safari activities such as
Nature Walks: Nature walk is a relaxing activity which can be participated into after a game drive, nature walk kidepo national park is takes you through the breathtaking wilderness of kidepo national park which is filled with the scenic rugged landscape
Bird watching: Kidepo national park is an important birding area perfect for an authentic birding experience, kidepo national park is a habitat to many amazing colored birds such as Egyptian vulture, pygmy falcon, Verreaux’s eagle, secretary birds, Jackson’s bill, Kori bustard, Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Clapper ton’s Francolin the giant ostrich and many more. These fascinating birds are encountered while on game drives and nature walks, short vegetation cover and relatively flat landscape make bird watching experience amazing.
Cultural encounters: Cultural encounters in Kidepo take place in two tribal groups that is the Karamojong pastoralists and minority IK people, cultural encounter in the Karamojong community you get to encounter, learn and be informed more about the cultural practices, values and briefs of the pastoral Karamojong through their cultural dances, songs and poems which are performed and recited. Visiting the Ik group of people requires you to hike to mountain Morungule to reach to the community of these people
Game drive: Kidepo offers the best game drive experience in Uganda, there are two kinds of game drives offered in this wonderful national park that is night game drive and day game drive. Game drives in kidepo national park take place in kidepo valley and Narus where you get to see a variety of wildlife such as giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, elephants, the giant majestic ostrich and the beautiful scenic rugged terrain of the park. On the game drive, you also get to visit the fascinating hot springs where you will enjoy hot water springing from the ground.
Hiking: Hiking in kidepo national park takes place on mountain Morungule while on a cultural encounter to the IK group of people who live on the high altitudes of this mountain while hiking on this mountain you get to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding and animals in kidepo national park. Hiking on this mountain is not easy as it takes a full day but very worth it.
Best time to visit kidepo national park
The best time to visit kidepo national park for a Uganda safari is during the dry months of December-March and June to Late August, in the dry months the vegetation is still short which makes it easy for wildlife viewing. Kidepo national park is open throughout the year but during the wet months of April-May and September to November the valleys tend to be filled with water and the routes are unpassable.