Kidepo valley National Park was gazetted as a national park in 1962. The park is found in karamoja northeastern part of Uganda. Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through Karamoja region would agree that it is also the most magnificent, Kidepo is one the Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka, in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges. The park contains two rivers – Kidepo and Narus – which disappear in the dry season, leaving just pools for the wildlife.kidepo Valley National park is located in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is located approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi), by road northwest of Moroto. The local communities around the kidepo valley National park are pastoral Karamojong people just like the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose survival is threatened. Most of the park is open tree savannah, this is because of differences in rainfall — with annual averages of 89 centimetres (35 in) in Narus and 64 centimetres (25 in) in the Kidepo basin — vegetation and animal populations vary between the two valleys.
Kidepo National Park hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species. Narus Valley is a rising and falling grassland plain surrounded by mountains. The valley rich with permanent water and wildlife gathers here. Therefore, this area is purely supplied with game tracks, still the valley has 4 loop circuits which explore the valley close to Apoka. Wildlife in here include buffaloes,oribis, lions, reedbucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, and giraffes are seen within the valley. Cheetahs and leopards are also seen but in smaller numbers. The Narus dam and water hole close to the Tourism Centre are good observation places for game, particularly throughout the dry season. At the far southern tip of the Katurum loop, there is the Katurum kopje is an eye-catching destination with outstanding views north over the valley in the direction of the Morungule mountain range. The Lomej Hills is also another attraction in kidepo ,these hills are found just near the park headquarters. These hills are a great viewing point to see wild animals and birds such as the mountain reedbucks.
Activities with in kidepo National Park include cultural entertainment which is offered on normally on request. These performers have a wide range of traditional dances and songs for example the Emuya of the Nyangia and the Naporre ethnic groups along with Larakaraka and Apiti dances performed by the Acholi people. There are also a lot of species to see within this park like the Hunting dog, Cheetah, Striped Hyena, Bat-eared Fox Caracal, the aard Wolf, oribi, burchell’s zebras, elephants Jackson’s hartebeests, bush pigs, bohor reed buck, warthogs, rothschild giraffes, defassa water bucks, cape buffaloes, elands, bush duskier, leopards, black-backed jackals, various small and spotted hyenas. These can easily be reached upon after agame drive.
Accommodations at kidepo National park is sufficient ,there are 10 self-contained chalets at Apoka safari lodge .Also there is a hostel which has 14 bandas each with two beds though these bandas are not self contained. Apoka Lodge and the Bandas are managed by the park. For visitors who like camping there is enough space for camping with in the park.
Reaching the park by drivingwould be more interesting because some parts of Karamoja are scenic and total wilderness. However the conditions of the roads are sometimes difficult, so 4-wheel drive vehicles (4WD) are recommended and security is not guaranteed. Visitors should use theroad ofKotido to Kaabong which passes via Kanawauat. Visitors who wish to travel by road are advised to contact Uganda wild life Authority (UWA) headquarters to seek advice about conditions and safety on the roads. From Kampala-Lira-Kotido-Kidepo-it’s about 705 km, Kampala-Mbale-Sironko-Kotido-Kideop is about 740 km, Kampala-Soroti -Kotido via Amuria 656 km and Kampala-Mbale-Soroti-Moroto-Kidepo-792 km.
ACTIVITIES IN KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK.
Nature Walks in Kidepo Valley
Here a visitor walks through the Narus Vally and meet members of the endangered IK tribe and wander the splendid Kidepo River Valley between banks of borassus palm forest.
Birding in Kidepo Valley
Apoka Rest Camp is a great spot to begin your Kidepo birding experience. Birding can also be done on the fringes of the Narus and Namamukweny Valleys.
Game Drives in Kidepo Valley
Trough game drives a visitor may be in position to see wildlife like elephants, leopard, bush duiker, jackal, bushbuck, bush pig, ostrich, buffalo and much more wild life in the wild Narus Valley.