“It is among the best 3 safari Destinations in Africa” CNN writes, and yes, we agree no more. Not close to any and not compared to any other, Kidepo Valley National Park is absolutely one of the best & still virgin National parks in Uganda if not Africa. A few that have traveled there will agree with me that Kidepo Valley National Park is an awesome park to visit while in uganda.
With the increasing number of travelers to the Pearl Of Africa for a Uganda safari, Many opt to do the famous circuit route that starts with Murchison falls National Park but forget there is haven on the far north – Eastern Corner of Uganda. Yes, I do agree to this, it is a little far away from the rest, But would you consider having a very perfect plan or program that would fit kidepo into your Uganda Safari?
Named and ranked as Number 3 by CNN travel, Kidepo still stands out as an awesome national park in Africa. Located in the north-eastern far corner in Uganda, The park sits of a 1442 sq.kms in a valley bordered by jaw droping mountain ranges with altitude ranging from 914m as the lowest areas and 2,750m as highest areas above sea level transected by the famous Narus river valley and the kidep valley both dotted with Vibrant wildlife on un-ending savannah.
How we got to Kidepo Valley National Park
A perfect tailored Itinerary was the perfect solution. Dubbed 14 days fly to Kidepo Authentic Uganda safari led by Dr. Christel Houthuys from Belgium was the trick to get there. Considering being far from Kampala and would require 2 days of relaxed drive, We opted to fly for 2 hours with the best scenic views over Uganda’s landscapes. Let’s say, this flying time to kidepo offered an amazing impression to start a journey that got better and better as we headed north of uganda from Entebbe other than the 2 days driving option making it easier and saved time.
Having arrived late in the night the previous night, the group of 12 Belgium enthusiastic and like-minded travelers from Belgium opted to have a lazy morning and flew at 1pm from the Entebbe airport with Aero Link Uganda to kidepo, Our number one trusted domestic flight company. I would absolutely give thumps up for the pilots. These guys are awesome pilots. The Aircrafts carry a max number of 11 persons each. we were 14 persons and so we “flew in convoy” using two aircrafts, one craft taking off and landing before & after the other carrying 7 persons to max with the pilots.
Donned in typical Karamojong Outfits representing a unique authentic culture in the far north karamoja Uganda. Myself and fellow guide Meddy ( Mzee Aparakol & King Larot being our Karamojong names) opted to dress in cultural Outfits as the Karamojong safari driver Guides handling this 14 days fly to Kidepo Authentic Uganda safari. I agree we looked completely different & Unique in the field which brought more Life to the safari.
Our three Days and two nights In Kidepo Starts.
There is absolutely no words to explain the beauty of Africa and authenticity as you descend into the national park of kidepo. First, The landing is smooth (thanks to the pilots) but this is no joke for Meddy my friend who flew for the first time to kidepo in a small plane. You would want to hear his tales after landing_He was literary not breathing well.. But for the rest have flown before and are used to the little turbulances.
We arrived at kidepo Airstrip at 3pm in the middle of the park that seems deserted but full of life, Oh Yes full of vibrant wildlife and spectacular scenic views. After checking and registration of arrivals, we started out to the lodge (kidepo Savannah Lodge) located just outside the park and overlooking the Narus valley full of life. As we drove towards the lodge, Our paths were already full of wildlife including the Antelopes, Elephants, bucks, warthogs and heartbeasts to our array. Leopards, Cheetahs and Bart eared foxes are a sighting to this park too. The scenic drive with acacia dotted trees enveloped in scenic surrounding mountains
The Early Bird catches the first worm. A typical Safari saying and yes this is true for kidepo valley National park. Our day started at 6:30am as departure time from the lodge, Popped up roofs, sun screens, safari outfits and ready for the day. 10 Minutes into the park and we had a herd of about 50 elephants with the young ones cross in front of us headed to the Apoka hills, and not a long drive away, we had the battler with a kill, unfortunately it flew away with it as soon as we arrived. In huge numbers were buffalo herds, reedbucks, warthogs, elands, zebras, giraffes, kobs, elephants and many bird species for us. The best thing about this park is taking a picture with an awesome background. This took us about 5 hours and retreated to the lodge for lunch and a relax till 3pm as we went for our evening sundowner game drive.
After having uncountable wildlife encounters a little bit to the kidep-Apoka circuit, led us to watching the king of the jungle with a warthog kill. The same drive led us to a beautiful spot with a 360 degrees view of the kidep valley for a special wilderness Safari Sundowner. And here we had all the Ram, Red & white wine, Gin & Tonic, cheese, peanuts and saucages. Lets say it was an awesome moment sitting and being served by Karamojong Safari Guides while we watched the sun set below the Savannah horizons.
A visit to Kidepo is incomplete without visiting some of the cultural and traditional manyata Villages next to kidepo Park. Our Journey on the 3rd day took us visiting Lorukol village a few kilometers from the savannah lodge. The visit with a site guide took us through the normal and daily life of a Karamojong person and family. We had the opportunity to enter some of these homesteads and witnessed how the Karamojong people live while our last part of the visit saw us joining a Karamojong traditional dance with the many karamojongs. Very Authentic it was for the group from Belgium.
Our Transport Ground handling means
Very well Equiped Safari Land cruisers The journey through kidepo was sorted. Talking about the terrains and nature of roads, The best vehicle would be one with High ground clearance levels, Good suspension, great tires, Charging ports in the jeeps and a freezer for always a cold water or beer, Popup roofs and comfortability. These characters described exactly our two safari landcruiser jeeps we had in kidepo. Sitting a max of 6 persons each jeep with enough luggage space did us wonders.
Where we Stayed in Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo is still remote and authentic while most lodges in kidepo are new & few. Our one and most awesome lodge was Kidepo Savannah Lodge which comes in handy in terms of location, service and Good price. There is a high end lodge called Apoka Safari Lodge while a few more mushrooming lodges are coming up. Kidepo savannah lodge surely came in handy for our journey and for a good Safari Price.
Located on the immediate hill bordering the Narus valley where wildlife is seen roaming even while at the Restaurant lounge, The kidepo savannah lodge owned by Nature Lodges is a perfect place to stay. The lodge runs an eco safari accommodation with most of the safari tents overlooking the Narus savannah plains and great views. The lodge is also equipped with a great bar always cold beers and drinks. The food here is absolutely very tasty made by one of the best chefs in Uganda.
However, the lodge is located at below 900m A.S.L while that comes with high temperatures. Being a low altitude area, there are quite a number of bugs and mosquitoes. While we recommend this best safari Destination & Lodge, We do enfacise on having enough drinking water, insect repelants and sun screen at all times. With these 3 you have the little hindrances of kidepo Valley National Park Sorted.
On a Very impontant aspect: Our next trip next year will absolutely see us spend 4 Days and 3 Nights so we could maximize the park sightings. We just felt that wasn’t enough time for kidepo and an extra day would come in handy. Oh yes that is what we will do next.
What to bring for the kidepo Safari:
Light safari clothing, Insect repelants, Sun Screen, Hats/caps, Rain Jacket and/or ponchos, Long light pants, Head lamp/touch, Binoculars, Backpack for carrying small luggage.
Best Time To Go: During the months from December till march are the best times to go to kidepo and would surely meet your expectations. Reason is that its dry, the grass is short and offers a clear view of the Landscape and the wildlife. The other months are rainy seasons while the roads are a little messy. More to that wildlife sightings are not the best and not in plenty. The narus valley attracts wildlife for water in the many waterholes while in the rainly seasons wildlife is scartered around the park as water is in plenty and sometimes migrate to southern Sudan
Best Safaris to Kidepo: Private or honeymoon Safaris, Family safaris and group safaris. As a family, Group or private persons that plan to come on safari in Uganda, Kidepo Valley National park is the ultimate safari destination for you. Many of the Travel plans can be tailor made to fit kidepo in the Program. You can either Fly with Aero link Uganda or opt to drive through the Eastern karamoja circuit or preferably through Gulu. However the driving would require a couple of days before you arrive there.
Some more Awesome Uganda Safaris that can be tailored to add Kidepo
- 13 Days Family_ Together Uganda safari
- 11 Days Fly-in Luxury Gorilla Safari
- 12 Days Best Of Uganda Impressions Safari
- 12 Days Fly in Style Uganda Safari
This was just the start of our awesome journey on the 14 Days Fly to kidepo Authentic Uganda Safari which later saw us visit The Murchison falls, Kibale for the chimpanzees, Queen Elizabeth for the tree climbing lions and south Bwindi forest National Park for the Ultimate Gorilla Trekking Experience. This same journey saw us visit Kigali city and a beautiful lunch on rooftop Building for the last lunch before they flew back home.