Exploring Kidepo Valley National Park

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Exploring Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is located in North Eastern Uganda near Karenga in the Kaabongo district. The Park is approximately 220 kilometres by road northwest of Moroto the largest town in the sub-region, and 520 kilometers from Kampala, the largest capital city of Uganda. Kidepo Valley National Park covers a total area of 1,442 km². The altitudes range from 914 meters above the sea level on the valley floor to the 2,750-meter peak of Mount Morungole which Surpasses the horizon.

History of Kidepo Valley National Park
To begin with, the name Kidepo came from the Dodoth verb ‘akidep; which means “to pick up, “The Dodoth pastoralists and the IK farmers were the inhabitants of the park before the British colonial government gazetted it as a game reserve in 1958, and the purpose was both to protect animals from hunting and to prevent further clearing of the bush to control tsetse flies. Kidepo Valley National Park was later converted into a national park in 1962, the year when Uganda gained its independence.

Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park
Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park are the most incredible features that have driven a good number of travelers to come and visit the park. Many visitors to Kidepo Valley National Park have experienced what is known as a truly African wilderness. Apart from that, Kidepo Valley National Park has the most breathtaking savannah grassland beauty of any national park in East Africa and It is also renowned for its rare wildlife species not found in any other national park in Uganda.
Kidepo Valley National Park offers a variety of year-round attractions. While conditions are more challenging in the rainy season from (June to September), the park is still very warm and sunny during the warmer months. It is also generally advised to use 4×4 vehicles during this time. The Kidepo Valley and Narus Valley are both well-known for their spotted palms and acacia bushes and are the places where one can discover the wildlife species of the region. You may come across lions, elephants, cape African buffaloes, wild dogs, giraffes, zebras, African buffalo, bat-eared foxes, Rothschild’s giraffes, leopards, spotted hyenas, lions, and cheetahs among other animals along this adventure.

Attractions in Kidepo Valley National Park include;

Mount Morungole
Mount Morungole is a few kilometers from Apoka and is situated in the southern section of Kidepo Valley National Park. Tourists can better appreciate the park’s breathtaking beauty because Mount Morungole elevates roughly 2,750 meters. The Ik people, who are regarded as one of the smaller tribes in Uganda, live atop Mount Morungole, which is regularly visited and is one of the park’s most popular tourist destinations. Numerous animal and bird species can be found on Mount Morungole, as their native habitat is the lush flora of the slopes. In addition, visitors to this mountain participate in activities including climbing, visiting local communities, and seeing culture.

Kidepo Valley.
Kidepo Valley is one of the park’s key draws because it is home to several different bird species, making it a popular destination for avian enthusiasts. The Kidepo River, the valley’s primary water supply, is noted for being more well-known due to the Kanangorok hot springs.

Apoka tourism centre
Apoka is a hub for tourism in Kidepo Valley National Park, with a luxurious lodge and a view of the Narus Valley, which is abundant in wildlife. The center is the primary administrative hub where you can make activity reservations and pay for the ranger escorts who can join you on nature hikes and game-watching around the park. For individuals without a means of transportation, rental trucks are available here. You can also purchase mementos for your friends that you had to say goodbye to in the craft shop. Books, bottled water, sodas, and alcoholic beverages can also be purchased from this location. Here is where you may place your order for cooked cuisine.

Namamukweny Valley
This valley sits in the northwest of the park and can be reached by road or on foot, the word Namamukweny’’ is in literally word Napore which means a place with no birds or minority people. The valley is home to a large number of bird species including the Common Bulbul, White-crested Turaco, Eastern Paradise Whydah, Greenwood Hoopoe, Abyssinian Roller, and many more.

Narus valley
The Narus River, which runs through the valley, is a constant source of water for the rolling grasslands that make up Kidepo National Park’s impressive game-watching location. Many creatures call the valley home, including lions, cheetahs, Jackson’s hartebeest, giraffes, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, reedbucks, and Oribis. This is due to the valley’s water content. Game viewing is available on several of the four-loop circuit game courses in Narus Valley, including Katurum Loop, Katurum Kopje, and many more.

Kanangorok Hot springs
The Kanangorok hot springs are situated next to the Kidepo River in the northern section of Kidepo National Park. The distinctive aspect of the Kanangorok hot springs is that they release 50 degrees Celsius of boiling water. The Masai people believe that the water in this hot spring has miraculous healing properties, which draws a lot of visitors. Furthermore, it is worth exploring and taking gorgeous photos of the picturesque scenery at the Kanangorok hot springs, which are a very remarkable feature.

Lomej hills
The Lomej Hills are a remarkable and captivating feature of Kidepo National Park. Just a short drive from the park headquarters, the hills offer breathtaking vistas and are excellent places to observe birds. Many bird species, including the black-breasted barbet, the Abyssinian scimitar bill, the Karamoja apalis, and the chestnut weaver, can be seen at Lomej Hills. In addition to having beautiful streams like Kapeta and Kaikem streams and water holes like Lokimait and Lopitapar that supply water to the park and its fauna, Lomej Hills is a great place to see animals.

Top activities to do in Kidepo Valley National Park
Activities in Kidepo National Park: Among the national parks in Uganda that will provide wonderful safari experiences is Kidepo Valley National Park. The Park is home to a multitude of exciting attractions, including a large number of migratory and endemic bird species, making it the best place in Uganda to go birding. A variety of activities in Kidepo Valley National Park offer you the opportunity to see a variety of animal species, including some of the big five animals of Uganda, such as buffaloes, lions, and elephants, as well as rare species like bat-eared foxes, striped hyenas, caracals, cheetahs, and hunting dogs.

Game drives
The most rewarding activities in Kidepo Valley National Park for an unforgettable Uganda safari are the game drives, which offer a plethora of rewarding sights to behold. The Park is home to over 500 bird species and 86 mammal species, some of which are buffaloes, giraffes, black-headed jackals, bat-eared cheetahs, caracals, lions, zebras, elephants, and other mammal species. Along the park’s various tracks, one may view every attraction. A variety of animal species can be seen while driving through the Narus Valley, which has permanent watering spots.

Bird watching in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is one of the best places to go birding because it is home to over 480 species of recorded birds, including 28 species from the Somali-Masai biome, savannah birds, forest birds, and migratory birds. The best places to go bird watching in Kidepo Valley National Park are Apoka Rest Camp and the surrounding areas of Narus and Namukwenyi Valley. Here, you can see a variety of bird species, including red-billed oxpecker, greater kestrel, black-breasted barbet, northern carmine bee-eater, Abyssinian ground hornbill, scarlet chested sunbird, Verreaux’s eagle, purple grenadier, golden pipit, dark chanting goshawk, pygmy falcon, superb starling, Clappertons francolin, white-bellied go-away bird, fox kestrel, Jackson’s hornbill, red-billed oxpecker, Karamoja apalis, and ostrich, among others.

Cultural Encounters in Kidepo Valley National Park
During your safari in Kidepo National Park, you can also visit several cultural groups by participating in cultural tours. The Leopard Village, Muhokya Village, and Karamojong Village are a few of the communities you will get to see. These are wonderful communities to visit. The activity is interesting since it will allow you to learn more about many communities and their fascinating cultures, among many other rewarding aspects. Visitors to the Karamojong will notice the Manyatta, a well-known architectural style where families construct huts in the same location as a means of strengthening their bonds with one another.

Nature walks or hiking in Kidepo Valley National Park
The Kidepo Valley National Park offers an intriguing pastime that allows tourists to go throughout the area on foot. A knowledgeable guide who is familiar with the park’s walking routes will accompany you on the nature walks, and an armed park ranger will watch out for you in case of danger. Kidepo Plains, which lead to the Morungole Mountains, where you will encounter the IK people, Narus Valley, Namamukweny Valley, and the Lomej Mountains are just a few of the locations where nature walks are offered in the Kidepo Valley National Park. You will get the chance to see animals including elephants, buffaloes, warthogs, reedbucks, waterbucks, zebras, and giraffes during the guided nature walks that begin at 7:00 am at the Apoka tourism office.

Cultural experience in Kidepo Valley National Park
One of the best things to do in Kidepo Valley National Park and around Uganda is the cultural experience or cultural tourism which involves seeing the Karamojong and the Ik People. Visiting the Karamojong tribe and their unique homesteads is one of the best opportunities to discover more about Uganda’s pastoralist nomads. Here in this wild park, you will learn much more about African culture, especially when you engage with a group of people who are closely linked to the Turkana or Masai people of Kenya.
The most exciting cultural entertainment available to the locals is a traditional dance show that is performed to the sounds of the Uganda safari and these dances include the Emuya of the Nyangia, Naporre known as the ethnic groups as well as Apili, and Lara Karaka the other two distinctive forms of the Acholi traditional dance, which makes a wonderful and inspiring performance and everyone who joins the team, earns some money which helps them in their community and other aspects of life.