Isolated from the Ugandan mainstream by the harsh plains to the north of Mount Elgon, Kidepo is Uganda’s most remote Park covering an area of (1440 km2). This national park is one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas, a tract of rugged savannah dominated by Mount Morungole (2750 m) and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Perennial running water in the Narus River makes Kidepo an oasis in the semi desert. The mountainous terrain is divided in the Narus Valley in the southwest and the Kidepo Valley in the northeast. You will find wooded savannah areas, forests, large fields of borassus palms and rocky kopjes.
This Park lies in the rugged, semi-arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, with a distance of about 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, home to 86 mammal species with 28 found nowhere else in the country. Birders can enjoy its 463 recorded species of birds with 60 species being endemic to the park. Predators include lions, cheetah, jackals, leopards, spotted hyena, smaller cats and mongoose.
Here are some interesting facts about Kidepo National Park
- The park’s altitude ranges between 914m and 2,750m above sea level.
- 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, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened.
- In 2018 the Park was listed among 8 of the best safari destination to visit in Africa by CNN, Here is what CNN's Mark Eveleigh wrote "the park's sweeping plains and Narus Valleys overshadowed by the brooding mountain scape of Mount Murongole (the scared peak of the mysterious IK people) has a huge appeal just for the Scenery alone. It might be the most beautiful park in all of Africa"
- Some of the animal species found in this park include Herds of Elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes, 5 kinds of primates, bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog, eland, bush buck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribis.
- Kidepo borders Uganda’s nomadic agro-pastoralists “the Karamojong” known for their love of cattle and their resistance to the trappings of modern civilization. They consist out of numerous tribes and clans that once migrated from modern day Ethiopia including the Maasai, Turkana and Nyangatom living on the Omo Valley of Ethiopia.
- There three other unknown Game Reserves next to Kidepo in the Karamoja region, Pian Upe, Bokora and Matheniko Game Reserves, Pian Upe Game Reserve covers the area from Mt. Kadam in the south to Mt. Napak to the north. Together with the game reserve of Bokora and Matheniko these plains create a larger ecosystem of savanna and mountains. Kidepo Valley Park is the Hidden Gem and a Top Destination in Africa.