Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park
Wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park: Kidepo valley national park, also known as the ‘Masai Mara of Uganda’, is one of the most beautiful national parks in Uganda. It is located in the northeastern part of the country in Kaboong district. It was declared a national park in 1962 and covers approximately 1442 square kilometers. The park is home to over 465 species of birds, about 76 mammals with 28 endemic to the national park.
Wildlife in Kidepo valley national park
Over 76 mammal species live in Kidepo valley national park including the big four mammals which are the lions, leopards, buffaloes and elephants. Among the mammal species there are 28 species that are not found anywhere in Uganda except this national park including the mountain reedbuck, greater and lesser kudu, aardwolf, cheetah, caracal, greater eland, Gunther’s DikDik, stripped hyenas, carnivores , The park has carnivores that are only viewed in the park and not found in any part in Uganda such as the hunting dog, bat eared fox, predators, the park has predator animals like lions, leopards, black backed jackal, side striped jackal, bat eared fox, white tailed mongoose among others and they can easily be seen at night during the night game drive. There are other animals in the park like the zebras, giraffes, 12 antelope species such as eland, klipspringer, oribis, Jackson’s hartebeest, waterbucks, bushbucks, Uganda kobs primates such as the patas monkeys, Kavirondo bush baby among others.
Kidepo valley national park is one of the top birding destinations in Uganda. The park is home to over 465 bird species with about 20 species endemic to Karamoja region. Commonly sighted bird species in the park include ostrich, Karamoja Apalis, red throated bee-eater, pygmy falcon, Verreaux’s eagle, Abyssinian ground hornbill, secretary bird, yellow necked spur fowl, Ethiopian swallow, white bellied bustard, pygmy falcon, African swallow tailed kite, black headed plover, superb starling, Clapperton’s francolin, fox kestrel, red winged lark, African grey flycatcher, long tailed nightjar, red pate cisticola, yellow billed shrike, chestnut sparrow, red and yellow barbet among others.
Activities to do on your wildlife safari in Kidepo valley national park
It is through taking part in activities offered in Kidepo national park that you will be able to see a wide variety of wildlife species in the national park. Some of the activities offered in Kidepo valley national park include;
Game drive, this is one of the most popular activities done in the park. Game drives in Kidepo valley national park in Uganda are conducted early in the morning or in the evening. During your game drive safari in the park, you will have a chance to explore different areas in the park like Narus valley and Kidepo valley area. The Narus valley is a permanent water body in the park which attracts a large number of wild animals which come to drink water during the dry season and Kidepo valley is also composed of Kidepo River which is a seasonal river that dries up completely during the dry season and floods during the rainy season. Kidepo also has a number of wild animals though mostly seen during the wet/ rainy season. Both areas are good for game drives in that they provide great views for wild animals such as giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, lions, leopards, Uganda kobs among others.
Night game drive; The nocturnal game drive in Kidepo valley national park is done at night with spotlight torches for clear viewing and a park ranger who will help you to spot the nocturnal animals. On your night game drive you will view nocturnal animals like lions, leopards, hyenas among others.
Birding, The national park is a home of over 465 bird species hence known as a birders paradise for bird viewing. Birding is either done early in the morning or late in the afternoon at the edges of Namamukweny and Narus valley, Apoka Rest Camp among others. during birding you will be able to view bird species like purple heron, super staling, pygmy falcon, Abyssinian roller, Egyptian vulture, Clapperton’s francolin, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Verreaux’s eagle, red and yellow barbet, dark chanting goshawk, ostrich, little bee-eater, Kori bustard, scarlet chested sunbird, little weaver, Jackson’s hornbill, red fronted barbet, African grey flycatcher, yellow billed shrike, singing bush lark, white bellied go-away bird among others.
Nature walk/hiking; A nature walk in Kidepo Valley national park is a thrilling activity where visitors walk on foot around the park as they explore beautiful scenery, wildlife, and savannah landscape. There are different areas for nature walk such as Lomej Mountains, Narus valley, Kidepo valley, Namamukweny valley, Morungole Mountain where you will visit the IK people among others. during the nature walk you will view different tree species, plants, bird species hoopoe Nubian woodpecker, superb starling, vinaceous dove, yellow billed shrike, walk meters away from wild animals such as zebras, warthogs, elephants, buffaloes, waterbucks, giraffes, Uganda kobs among others. Nature walk relieves you from stress as you breathe fresh air in a quiet and relaxed environment.
Best time to view wildlife in Kidepo valley national park
Wildlife viewing in Kidepo Valley national park can be done all year round although the best time is during the dry season in the months of June to September and December to February. During the dry season, the park receives less rainfall therefore access roads to the park will be passable. There will be short vegetation which gives you clear views of wild animals; and the seasonal water bodies like Kidepo river will be dry therefore large concentration of animals will gather around Narus valley which is a permanent water body to drink water which gives you great views for photos.
How to Get to Kidepo Valley National Park.
The national park can be accessed by road and air transport means. The park can be accessed by road from Kampala via Karuma, Gulu, Kitgum, and Kaboong which is a 10 hours’ drive. Alternatively, you can always escape the long road trip to the park by boarding a domestic flight from Entebbe International Airport to Apoka airstrip in Kidepo valley national park which takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes.