Kidepo Valley National Park, renowned for its spectacular scenery and huge buffalo herds was voted third best national park in Africa by CNN travel news 2013. The Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks. It is 1,442 square kilometers and harbors’ scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. Tucked into the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, the park offers breathtaking Savannah landscapes, which end in rugged horizon
The vegetation can best be described as open tree Savannah which varies much in structure and composition. Mountain forest dominates some of the high places, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest. The flora and fauna of the park are more typical of Kenya than the rest of Uganda. The landscape throughout the park is studded with small hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs from which one can obtain stunning views in all directions.
Wildlife: The park contains one of the most exciting wildlife diversity and numbers of any Ugandan national park. Along with the neighboring Karamoja region, it houses many species found nowhere else in Uganda, including the greater and lesser kudu, eland and cheetah. Carnivores here include the lion, leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed and side-striped jackals. Other large species regularly seen here are elephant, Burchell’s zebra, bushpig, warthog, Rothschild’s giraffe, Cape buffalo, bushbuck, bushduiker, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribi.
Birds: The Park boasts an extensive bird list of around 475 species, making it second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note are the Ostrich, Kori Bustard and KaramojaApalis.
Kidepo is notable for its birds of prey. Of the 56 species recorded, 14 – including Verreaux’s Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and Pygmy Falcon – are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region. There has, however, been no comprehensive survey of birds in Kidepo and visitors stand a good chance of adding to the current list.
Access to Kidepo: The Park can be reached by road or by air. But driving is more rewarding as vast parts of Karamoja are scenic and total wilderness. And 4WD vehicles are the only ones required because of the nature of the roads and the distance is very long.
There are four routes by road but the one recommended to tourists is the Kampala via Gulu – Kitgum, Kalenga – kidepo – 7010kms. Most tourists travelling to Kidepo do so on weekends. However with the coming on the market of AeroLink airline with a daily scheduled flight from Entebbe to Kidepo one can enjoy this beautiful park any time of the week. It is also possible to arrange a private aircraft charter from Kajansi Airfield (close to Entebbe) to Kidepo. The Civil Aviation Authority manages an airstrip at Lomej about 3kms south of the park headquarters.