The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife. The local communities around the park include pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya.
Kidepo Valley National Park lies in north-eastern part of Uganda, the area is semi-arid and was gazetted as a national park in 1962. The park has a large concentration of wildlife and a wide variety of bird species. It is not only the most isolated national park but also the least visited. The few who dare to go can testify to its beauty and the most unique game sightings as well as views. CNN has ranked Kidepo among Africa’s finest wildernesses. The savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.
- Game drive: In the Narus Valley, the best time for a game drive is early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This area is known for elephants, leopards, ostrich etc. The lions in the park are mostly seen sitting on the rocks. At the waterpoint, you will always find animals congregated there. The Kidepo Valley track takes you through the park’s most beautiful landscapes. Visit the hotsprings and look out for cheetahs and ostriches.
There is also a possibility of a night game drive in the Narus Valley. Nocturnal animals to look out for include cheetah and reedbuck.
- Walking / Hiking safari: Starting at the park’s headquarters at 7:00 am, you will set off with your ranger-guide to the Narus Valley. This walk is popular because of its beautiful scenery and wildlife and offers wonderful photo opportunities.
Duration of the walk will depend on the prevailing weather conditions, physical fitness levels of the walkers, and sightings of the day.
For hikers, the most rewarding is the Morungol Mountain ranges. This is a tough one and is meant for experienced hikers because the hike to the top can take up to 9 hours. Beautiful mountain forest and rough terrain, the hike offers breathtaking views of the Karamoja plains, and you will be able to meet the Ik people on the hike.
- The Karamojong are similar to the Masai of Kenya described by their nomadic pastoral lifestyle. They live on the boundaries of the park and a visit to a homestead is highly recommended. The locally built Manyattas along with their impressive vast cattle kraals they are famously known for, the range of traditional instruments and costumes, jewelry, spears, bows, beads among other bring out the true typical African experience.
During the community tour, you will be welcomed with a traditional folk song and dance, you will learn how bride wealth is determined, marriage, and the general way of life in this area.
These villages are supported by the existence of Kidepo Valley NP through community tours.