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History of Kidepo valley national park

History of Kidepo valley national park one of the best national parks in Uganda that has abundant wildlife with beautiful scenery

History of Kidepo valley national park

History of Kidepo valley national park: The history of Kidepo valley national park is a key point that tourists would love to know because this is some of the information that gives you little information about the park. Kidepo park is one of the best national parks in Uganda that has abundant wildlife. With the variety of attractions in Kidepo valley park, the national park is nested in the Kaabong district of northeastern Uganda and is said to be one of those that has beautiful scenery.

Kidepo valley national park derives its name from Kidepo Valley which is found right inside the park. It’s the locals who named this valley “Kidepo” a local word to mean “to pick”. A long time ago, this valley had palm trees that bared fruits for elephants at the same time locals in the surrounding communities. The fruits could be scattered around the valley and locals used to come and pick them for palm beer, especially in the dry season.

The history of Kidepo valley national park goes back as far as 1958. This is the time the British colonial government gazetted the area as a game reserve and a few people were evicted. Local people were chased from the park to give animals their freedom, reduce bush burning, and prevent hunting of some of the wild animals.

Eviction of people from the present day Kidepo valley national park caused famine and hunger in the lives of different people. This is because people were forced to live the park and move to areas where there were nothing like crops for them or free food to eat. They left their gardens behind and moved with nothing in the new places.

Some people were forced to move to areas such as Kalo Kudu, Napotpot, Loriwo, Naurkoi, and Namosingo in South Sudan. Among the evicted people from the park were the IK, Dodoth, and the Karamajong who now live at the park boundaries. The Ik were subsistence farmers so they were forced to leave their gardens but left with goats to stay on the slopes of mountain Morungule. The Karamajong who also live around the park had to live with their cattle.

Years later in 1962, the Obote government went back and converted the reserve into a national park. At the time Kidepo Valley game reserve was turned into a national park, the warden was Ian Ross but he was later replaced by Paul Ssali in 1972.  In 1996, Uganda Wildlife Authority was established and it has been playing a big role in protecting and managing park activities.

Uganda Wildlife Authority had to train security personnel who are called rangers to take care of the park. Rangers play different roles in the park among which include monitoring wild animals, protecting tourists, and much more. The same government body had to go around the villages to teach people how important tourism was to the government and community.

The Karamajong knew that strangers were cattle raiders so they had to be convinced that these were tourists coming to see the different attractions in kidepo valley. In the end, they had to agree that a certain amount of money collected from tourism in a year had to go to the community so that locals expand their project and also improve their way of living.

Kidepo valley national park would be bigger than today had it been gazetted so many years ago. As of today, Kidepo valley national park covers a total area of 1442 sq. km and mainly consists of savannah vegetation. The savannah is dominated by a mixture of acacia and dry thickets with numerous short trees and shrubs. Kidepo valley national park is protected and managed by Uganda Wildlife Authority a government body that protects all the national parks in the country.

The present day Kidepo valley national park protects over 76 mammals, 5 primates, and 476 bird species in the savannah vegetation.  The wildlife of Kidepo valley national park is seen when one takes part in activities that happen in Kidepo Valley, Narus Valley, and areas around Apoka. Game drives, bird watching, nature walks, hiking, and cultural tours are the most done activities in the park.

Tourists who want to visit Kidepo valley national park can always do at any time of the year for the park is open. The dry season from June to September and December to February are the best to visit the park and this is because of the good weather. The park receives little or no rainfall keeping the game tracks dry and easier to drive through, the vegetation is short and scatted with good views of attractions in kidepo valley and the roads leading to the park are in good condition.

The low season or rainy season from March to May and October to November are also good to visit the park, especially for tourists that want discounts. A few people travel so lodges and tour operators reduce prices to attract the few that want to visit. Tourists should however know that the park receives too much rainfall and little sunshine during the rainy season.

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