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Kidepo Valley National Park is placed in the far north eastern remote corner of Uganda in the Karamoja sub-region,the national park has two large valleys Kidepo and Narus watered by two seasonal rivers st game viewing in the Narus valley with dense populations of lions, elephants, and buffaloes, it being a distant and at a long distance, the park is less visited, however, recently there has been a great improvement on the number of people that prefer Kidepo valley national park, because of the improvement in the road network to Kidepo, it was gazetted as a game reserve in 1958 as a way of protecting animal species from hunters. The 1442square kilometer national park is comprised of a rugged mountainous area divided by the Narus valley in the south and Kidepo valley to the north, mountain Morungole is the highest peak (2750m), the slightly taller mountain (mount Lutoke 2797m)on the side of South Sudan 50km apart is visible Kidepo valley national park is placed at an altitude ranging from 914m above sea-level.

Kidepo Valley National Park

The national park is in a semi-arid climatic region composed of unique wildlife in each of the park compositions; the Narus valley is an open grassland dotted with Africana kigelia (sausage tree), a valley is a watering place for animals in the park because of the Narus river at the bottom of the valley, the Kidepo valley is much drier supporting acacia woodlands and significant stands of Borassus palms along with watercourses. Kidepo supports a vast variety of animal kinds in Uganda the biggest population of animals are predators including lions (20 residents) leopards, The side stripped jackal is common around the Apoka region with increased sightings of the cheetah, also present is the leopard, side stripped jackal, white black striped jackal, caracal, bat-eared fox, aardwolf most of which are only found in Kidepo. Five species of primates are within the national park for example the localized patas monkey. Other residents include the Rothschild’s giraffes, Burch ells zebras, warthogs, greater and lesser kudus, oribi, Jackson hartebeests to mention a few. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded todate 60 of which are endemic to the region, popular birds include ostrich, pygmy falcon, greater kestrel, Abyssinian roller among others.

The Narus valley is the southern sector of the national park, with the highest number of animal population present all throughout the year and best seen in the dry seasons (January –march) especially when the Narus river is the only for water, the valley can be best explored on two roads all start at Apoka, there are common sightings of zebras, Rothschild’s giraffes, warthogs, the lions are sighted on the parks outstanding granite rock outcrops. The area is characterised with a grassland composed mainly of dessert dates, red oats, and sausage trees (Africana kigelia)

Kidepo valley is north of the park beautifully decorated with borassus palms along water courses, game drives are scarce in the area because of its low animal population, it is drier as compared to the south while on avisit to the area, lookout for kanatarok hot spring, only place to find common ostrich, secretary bird, Jackson’s horn bill.

Mountain morungole is elevated at 2,750m high running at the eastern border of kidepo valley national park, the rugged mountain is known for hosting Uganda’s last population of the IK people it is possible to arrange a hike and to the mountain through the Uganda wildlife authority and also visit the local community. The mountain is located north east of Apoka much of the mountain vegetation is montane forest, as compared to the other Ugandan mountains it’s not as high however it stands out in the vast land of the Karamoja sub-region. It is a water catchment area of both kidepo and NarusRiver.

The Ik traditional group of people are the last remaining group inhabiting the slopes of mountain morungole believed to have originated from the present day Ethiopia, they are a Nilotic group of people speaking a distinctive language from the Karamojong’s, visits can be arranged to tour the community to see these unique people who rarely travel past their traditional lands, game drives can be merged with local culture of the Ik people

The park can be accessed from Kampala by road on a day’s drive through the Gulu-kitgum highway, a total drive of 565km, flights are organised to the nearest Apoka airstrip 2 hours from Entebbe through the localised airline (aero link).

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