Lying in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of Karamoja province on the far northern border with the Sudan, Kidepo Valley is Uganda’s most remote national park. Few undertake the pilgrimage to the park but the spectacular beauty of this pristine wilderness impresses all that make it.
Kidepo is ideal for Uganda safaris featuring wildlife. For the visiting birder, Kidepo Valley National Park boasts a bird list of over 475 species, a total second only to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Amongst the host of dry, eastern ” specials” not found in any other Ugandan national park are some of East Africa’s rarest and most sought after birds such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apallis. Kidepo is one of Uganda’s most spectacular parks (1,442 sq km). it harbours a scenery unsurpassed in any other park in East Africa. “It could not be any better” is a common comment on the scenery by visitors who often promise and do come back to Kidepo.
Tucked into the corner of Uganda’s border with Sudan and Kenya, the park offers breathtaking savannah and mountain landscapes, which end in a rugged horizon. A huge altitudinal range, correspondingly wide climatic conditions have evolved an extremely diverse flora. As a result the variety of animal species in the park is equally diverse including many which are found no where else in Uganda. The vegetation can best be described as open tree savannah which varies much in structure and composition. Dry mountain forest dominates some of the hills, while areas along the Lorupei River support dense Acacia geradi forest.
The park harbours a greater diversity of animal species than other parks in Uganda. Of the 80 species of mammals listed in 1971, 28 were not known to occur in any other Ugandan park. Carnivore species unique to Kidepo and Karamoja region include the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal, cheetah and hunting dog.
Less common ungulates include the greater and lesser kudu, Chandlers mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and dikdik.
Among other large ungulates are bush elephant, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Rothschild giraffe, cape buffalo, eland, bushbuck, bush duiker, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest and oribi. Five species of primates are found in the park of which the Kavirondo bush baby is endemic. Carnivores present include lion, leopards, several small cats, spotted hyena, black-backed jackals and side-striped jackal.