Kidepo Valley National Park
A dry savannah in the northern tip of Uganda
Located in the northern tip of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is a vast wilderness in the remote Karamoja region, on the border of South Sudan. The landscape is compromised by spacious grasslands, seasonal rivers and mountains ranges leading up through Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan.
The game is good up in this park, with around 77 mammal species including elephant, buffalo and zebra, and predators including lion, leopard and cheetah. Interestingly, this is Uganda’s only park where giraffe and zebra are found together. These can be seen during a game drive in open-sided vehicles, with safari picnics, bush breakfasts and sundowner drinks included!
This park has very low tourist numbers so it will often feel like you have the entire park to yourself! Because of the low tourist numbers, the accommodation variety is quite limited but we would highly recommend Apoka Safari Camp which is part of the Wild Places Uganda Portfolio (who own Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge and Semliki Safari Lodge).
Whilst on safari here, you can also do some cultural activities which include spending some time in a Karamojong village learning about their traditional way of life. The Karamojong people are seen by other Ugandans as behind the times and uneducated. They Karamojong people cling on to their traditional beliefs and have resisted formal education and modernization for decades. It is an interesting visit if you want something cultural as well as a safari experience and, unlike the Masai village visits in Tanzania and Kenya which can feel quite commercialized, the few tourist numbers in Kidepo Valley mean that the Karamojong village trips are very authentic.
Kidepo Valley National Park is a semi-arid region with average temperatures around the 30’C. The park tends to get a fair bit more rain than other areas of Uganda, with the main rainy season running from April through to September but that said, the rains are erratic and does not disrupt things too much. During the rainy season, the vegetarian is very green and the grasslands are dense, so it makes game viewing more difficult.