Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park

This park is found in northeast Uganda bordering Kenya and Sudan covering 1442 sq km. It has magnificent scenery featuring Savannah and mount landscape and it lies in a rugged, semi-arid valley of Karamoja province.

It’s referred to as Uganda’s most remote national park. For any birder Kidepo

has over 475 species including East Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apallis. There are 80 species of Mammals recorded which include: the Bat eared Fox, Strait Hyena, Ungulates like Bush Elephant and others.

Bird Watching

The Apoka Rest Camp and Park Headquarters overlooking the swallow, southern Narus Valley is a great spot to begin your Kidepo birding. A small permanent water hole at the edge of camp attracts swallows and a variety of seedeaters including Yellow-rumped Seedeater and is visited at night by Four-banded Sandgrouse, Elephant, Buffalo and occasionally Lion. Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, African Moustached and Broad-tailed Warblers, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbill may be seen in the rank grass along the normally dry stream bed adjacent to camp or along the track to Apoka lodge.

Key Species of Birds

Ostrich, Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Stone Partridge, Kori, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, African Swallow-tailed Kite, White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-bellied Go-away bird Four-banded Sand Grouse, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars, Eastern Yellow and Jackson’s Hornbills, Pygmy Fox Kestrel, Falcon, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, Abyssinian Ground, White-crested Turaco, Clapperton’s and Heuglin’s Francolins, Violet-tipped Courser, Black-headed Plover, Singing Bush Lark, White-faced Scoops Owl, Little Green Bee-eater, Pied, Isabelline and Heuglin’s Wheaters, African Grey Flycatcher, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, White-bellied Tit, Northern White-crowned and Yellow-billed Shrikes, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Superb Starling, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbirds, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Red-winged Lark, Foxy and Red pate Cisticolas, Green-winged Orange-winged and Red-winged Pytilias, White-browed and Chestnut- crowned Sparrow Weavers, Grey-capped Social and Speckle-fronted Weavers, White-headed and White-billed Buffalo Weavers, Ethiopian Swallow, Karamoja Apalis, Brown-rumped Bunting, Steel-blue and Strawtailed Whydahs, Red billed Oxpecker, Black-bellied and Black-faded Waxbill, Eastern Violet backed and Yellow-spotted Petronia.

Wildlife

Kidepo’s mammal list of over 80 species includes 28 that are found in no other Ugandan National park. Amongst these are such captivating African animals as Bat-eared Fox, Carcal, Klipspringer and Cheetah. Unluckily, Kidepo suffered from years of poaching that left game herds depleted,the same fate that happened to many other Ugandan parks during the Idi Amin era and is still recovering. Striped Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant’s gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and are assumed to be locally wiped out. Other mammals in Kidepo include Elephants, Buffalo, Bohor Reedbuck, Zebra, Kongoni, and Spotted Hyena, lion, leopard and Waterbuck

Oribis is plentiful in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s Dik Dik. Senegal Galago and Sidestriped Jackal may be found in the rest camp at night and White-tailed Mongoose is common but more likely to be found on a night drive. The park also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna.

Accommodation

Apoka Rest Camp, run by the Uganda Wildlife Authority, offers comfortable bandas within the national park, including bedding, mosquito netting and showers. It is suggested that you bring all your own food although it can be cooked for you if necessary. A more upmarket option is the exclusive Apoka Lodge. This luxury lodge is located in the middle of Kidepo National Park with spacious rooms and private veranda. Each room has a sitting room and bathroom. A restaurant and swimming pool are available as well. It is recommended that a ranger-guide accompany you at all times whilst at Kidepo Valley National park and this can be arranged on arrival at Apoka. Park officials recommend that all vehicles travelling north into the Kidepo Valley be escorted by multiple armed guards due to the intermittent presence of poachers and cattle rustlers in the area.

Means of Transport

Kidepo Valley National Park is accessible either by road or by air. The most commonly driven route from Kampala is via Gulu and Kitgum, 600 km journey taking a minimum of 12 hours and a strong 4WD to complete.

Additional information