Attractions in Kidepo valley national park
Attractions in Kidepo valley national park are those things that tourists can see while on a visit to the park. Kidepo valley national park is located in the northeastern corner of Uganda’s Kaboong district on the borders with South Sudan and Kenya. The national park was gazetted in 1962 to protect a number of attractions within the area.
Kidepo valley national park covers a total area of 1441 sq. km making it the third national park in the country. Lota of attractions are within Kidepo valley national park and among these include mammals, birds, primates, rivers, and mountains. Over 76 mammals, 5 primates and 476 bird species live in Kidepo valley national park and these are some of the attractions found there. Kidepo valley national park also has other attractions like River Narus, River Kidepo, Mount Morungole, Kanangorok hot springs, and the popular IK as well as Karamajong people.
Attractions in Kidepo valley national park
Kidepo valley national park hosts a variety of animals which include mammals and primates. There are about 5 primates and over 76 mammals in Kidepo valley national park. These animals have attracted lots of tourists from different parts of the world who come to do game drive activities. Some of the mammals in this park are not seen anywhere in the country and among these include the cheetahs, lesser and greater Kuddu, reedbuck, dik-dik, bright gazelle, roan antelope, oryx, and reedbuck among others.
Other animals in Kidepo valley national park include the lions, ostriches, warthogs, crocodiles, olive baboons, side-stripped jackals, hyenas, patas monkeys, leopards, lions, cheetah, elephants, elands, Uganda kob, hartebeest, deffasa waterbuck, cape buffaloes, zebras, Nubian giraffes, and leopards among others.
Over 476 have been so far recorded in Kidepo valley national park and this has made it one of the best birding destinations in the country. Among the birds include the ostrich which is the largest bird in the whole and this is not seen in any other national park in the country. Other rare bird species include the Karamoja apalis, black-breasted barbet, greater kestrel, and clapperton’s francolin among others.
Other common bird species in Kidepo valley national park include purple heron, steel blue whydahs, speckle-fronted weaver, straw-tailed whydahs, white-billed buffalo weaver, grey-capped social weaver, chestnut sparrow, beautiful sunbird, while billed buffalo weaver, yellow-billed shrike, eastern violet backed sunbird, singing bush lark, red plate cisticola, white-bellied tit, African grey flycatcher and little green bee-eater among others
The Narus valley
The Narus Valley is another attraction of its own in Kidepo valley national park. This valley is home to different wildlife species and birds, River Narus goes through this valley and it’s also near Mount Morungule. The Narus Valley is a permanent water source in Kidepo valley national park and in the dry season, animals never live the place because other areas dry up.
The Narus Valley is the best place to find elephants, lions, buffaloes, and giraffes most especially in the dry seasons when they are looking for fresh vegetation cover and water to drink. Game drives are the most done activities in the Narus Valley of Kidepo valley national park organized for tourists that want to see different wildlife living in the park.
Mount Morungule is found inside Kidepo valley national park and is bordered by Kidepo Valley and Narus Valley. The mountain has its highest point at 2,749 meters. Mount Morungule used to be the home of the IK by when the government was gazetting the park they were chased and asked to live in the nearby areas. As of today, tourists can go hiking on Mount Morungule to see the surrounding areas and meet a few animals and birds that live on the slopes of the mountain.
Kanangorok hot springs
Kanangorok hot springs are located 11 km from Kidepo River on the South Sudan border. Kidepo valley national park is not only a place where you go and meet wild animals but also a place where you can go visit other attractions like the Kanangorok hotsprings. These are hot springs are located between hard rocks and the water that gets out is always hot. The hot water can boil an egg and is said to be 50 degrees Celsius. Locals believe that this water has nature powers and can heal different diseases when one bathes it.
When we talk about culture, Kidepo valley national park offers the best cultural tours in Uganda. The national park is surrounded by the Karamojong people and the IK who were once living in the park. The people that were living inside Kidepo were evicted by the government to allow animals to have their peace and freedom. On your safari to Kidepo valley national park, you can always visit any of the tribes and feel the African culture.
A small walk takes you to the homes of the Karamajong or the IK and you get to meet the local people. In their communities you get to know how they live their day to day and life, see the foods they eat, cattle, and get entertained by traditional dancers. The Karamajong are cattle keepers who move places looking for green pastures while their wives stay home looking after children. The IK are farmers who do subsistence farming, honey production, and goat keeping.
There are two main rivers in Kidepo valley national park and these include the Narus River and Kidepo River. These two rivers are habitats for animals such as crocodiles and different types of fish. The same rivers are the main water sources for animals living in the national park. During the dry season, most water sources tend to dry up but River Kidepo and River Narus stay with water. Animals are seen best here during the dry season looking for water and fresh vegetation cover.
Getting to Kidepo Valley Park
Kidepo valley national park is located very far in the northeastern corner of Uganda making it one of the national parks that takes long hours to be accessed. The national park can be accessed using road transport or air transport. Luxury travelers do access the park in less than 3 hours if they fly from Kajjansi Airstrip or Entebbe international airport using local flight companies.
By road transport, tourists do get to Kidepo valley national park in 10 to 12 hours or even more depending on the route used. There are about four routes to Kidepo valley national park and any of the routes used gives you a chance of seeing a few attractions along the way. From Kampala/Entebbe Jinja, Mbale, Kapchorwa, Nakapiripirit, Moroto, Kotido, and Kaabong or Luwero, Nakasongola, Karuma, Gulu, Kitgum, Karenga, and Kaabong