Tourist activities in kidepo national park
Tourist activities in kidepo national park: Kidepo national park is Africa’s hidden gem according to CNN found in the north eastern region of Uganda in Kaabong district, Kidepo national park is a very scenic national park covering an area of 1441 kilometers with a rugged terrain filled with tiny hills, inselbergs, rocky out crops, valleys and Morungule Mountain. The park was declared as a national park in 1972 as a way of protecting and conservation the great portion of ecological system in the area.
Kidepo national park is situated at a distance of 410 kilometers from Kampala which makes it easy to be accessed by a tourist going for a safari, the park is a safari haven offering many exciting and breathtaking safari activities to tourists. tourist activities to do in kidepo national park are as listed below.
Kidepo national park is one of the top ranked protected area in East offering the most amazing game driving activity, kidepo national park is dominated with both hills, valley and flat landscapes. It is the valley and flat plains where the amazing game drive activity takes place most especially in Narus valley which is which crossed by 2 rivers that is Narus and kidepo valley, due to the semi-arid nature of the park these rivers are always filled with a high concentration of animals which come to the river banks to drink water. Driving through Narus valley you encounter many animals such as lions, zebras, Burchell’s zebras, giraffes, cheetah, aardwolf, caracal, mountain reedbuck, Guenther’s dik-dik, buffaloes, Oribi, Eland, side stripped jackal, wild dogs and many more.
kidepo national park game drives start at 3 time intervals at 7:00 am for morning game drive, 4:00 pm for afternoon game drive and at around 6:00 for a night game. All these game drives are best experiences to take. Morning game drives are amazing as you get a golden opportunity of animals like lions, leopards and many more before they disperse off due to sunlight and night game drive is amazing as you encounter many nocturnal animals and predators such as lions, cheetah, and leopards as they look for their prey with a help of a spot light.
Kidepo national park is one of the most important birding sites in Uganda, the park is a habitant to over 450 bird species both permanent and temporary kind thus making it a birding paradise. Birding experience in kidepo national park is done either in the morning or in the afternoon and usually starts rest camp or you can drive to both from Namamukweny and Narus valley which are habitant to high concentration of birds in the park. In these area you will be amazed by a collection of birds you will encounter such as the biggest bird on earth the ostrich, Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon which are believed to endemics to kidepo valley and karamoja regions. Other birds seen on a birding safari include secretary birds, Jackson’s bill, Kori bustard, Abyssinian roller, purple heron, common bulbul, Kori bustard, buffalo weavers, white crested turaco, black-breasted barbets and many more.
Hiking and nature walks
Kidepo national park is one of the most scenic tourist destinations in Uganda, the park’s scenic landscape is dotted with valleys and hills. Valleys in the park include Narus, kidepo and Namamukweny valley and mountains in mountain Morungule and Lomej hills. It is these hills and valleys where hiking and nature walks take place which is an amazing retreat because the valleys and hills are crowded by many wildlife and vegetation for example kidepo valley is a habitant for ostriches and the valley is filled with dunes of white sand on the river banks and borussus palm trees. Guided nature walks through the valleys is an activity of 2 hours is a very breathtaking experience as you encounter many birds and animals as they come to Narus river to drink water, taking a straw in Namamukweny valley is like walking in a bird paradise as it is filled with birds of different kinds and colorful features.
Hiking in kidepo national park is done on both mountain Morungule and Lomej hill, hiking mountain Morungule is a full day activity leading you to the top of the mountain where you meet the Ik group of people and from the top of the mountain you views the beautiful sights of the park, its animals and the surrounding. Hiking on Lomej hill is approximately a 4 hours’ activity and as you hike the hills you sight many animals and birds.
Kidepo national park is situated in the karamoja region the most cultured regions in Uganda with people who still hold their cultural norms, values and traditions with high pride. In kidepo national park cultural encounters takes place in two cultural communities that is the Karamojong community which shares its boundaries with the park and the Ik group of people who live on the top of mountain Morungule found in the park.
- visiting the Karamojong people
Visiting the Karamojong people is an exciting and interesting experience, the Karamojong people are one of the communities in Uganda with their cultures still kept intact from technology and modernity. Karamojong people are nomadic people deriving their name from a local phrase “ekar ngimojong” meaning “the old man can walk”, these people share a lot of similarities in their life style with the Masai people of Kenya and Tanzania. When visiting these people tourists enjoy sights of Karamojong traditional performances, their unique dressing code of stripped fabrics, traditional tools like knives, stools, bows, arrows and also get to interact with the elders.
- visiting the Ik people
The Ik people also known as the mountain people are of the small ethic groups in Uganda living on top mountain Morungole and like the Karamojong people the Ik people still have their culture intact. Since these people live on the top of the mountain Morungole, the only way to visit their community is by hiking to the mountain top. Hiking mountain Morungule starts early in the morning and takes about 8 hours of hike to get to the community, in the IK community your will be blown away by their building style of manyattas built in a circular form surrounding a kraal of cattle, you are also entertained by local dances, songs and stories.
How to get to kidepo valley national park
Kidepo national park is easily accessed by tourists on a safari, the park is situated in the north eastern region of Uganda and from Kampala where most safaris start it is a distance of approximately 705 kilometers using various routes. By road routes used to get to the park include Kampala via Gulu and Kitgum, Kampala via lira and Kotido route and Kampala via Soroti and kaabong route. Kidepo national park is also accessible using flying option, by flying there is scheduled flights from both Entebbe international airport and kajjansi airstrip to Lomej airstrip.
As you go for a safari in kidepo national park there is many facilities where you can get accommodation from, these facilities include Apoka safari lodge, Apoka rest camp, Kakine self-catering camp and Nga’Moru wilderness camp.