KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Kidepo Valley National park is located in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi), by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region. It is approximately 520 kilometres (320 mi), by road, northeast of Kampala, Uganda's capital and largest city.
The journey time to Kidepo Valley National Park is approximately 12hrs by road from Kampala City in central Uganda.
The northwestern boundary of the park runs along the international frontier with South Sudan and abuts against its Kidepo Game Reserve
There's a reason Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa and according to many tourists Kidepo National Park in all ways fits that description. It's been a top tourist destination for a few years now because of its stunning scenery and wildlife.
Off the beaten track, Kidepo Valley National Park is nestled among the rugged hills and valleys of northern Uganda. It's a place so hidden away its beauty has mostly gone unnoticed -- until now.
The 540-square-mile park contains diverse landscape, from lush mountain ranges to vast plains, and is home to almost 500 bird species and 77 different mammals.
Roam the savannahs, and you'd likely see an impressive collection of fauna including ostriches, hartebeest, giraffes, Uganda Kob, Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, and very impressive herds of the African Cape Buffalo.
The longer Eastern route through the districts of Moroto, Kotido and Pian Upe Game Reserves are incredibly scenic and so beautiful.
Jumanji Africa Safaris is working round the clock towards introducing a new product to Kidepo Valley National Park through this region.
Local people and Culture
The Kidepo Valley National Park surrounding area is home two local tribes of the Karamajong and Ik.
The Karamajong live in a Kraal, better known as Manyatta or Boma in Swahili. A Kraal is basically a village made out of huts surrounded by fences made of wood and thorns to keep the cattle in and to protect them against rivaling tribes and wild animals. Some of Kraals are permanent and others are temporarily as the karamajong follow the fresh grass to feed their cattle.
The Karamajong are related to the Maasai in Kenya and live a similar lifestyle. The main difference is that the Karamajong is completely unknown and you are therefore sure to experience a very authentic and unique visit.
Kidepo National Park is home to one the smallest ethnic groups in Africa, a people called the Ik. According to folklore, the Ik have wandered through much of East Africa, and came from Ethiopia hundreds of years ago.
The IK people originally are believed to have originated from Ethiopia through Northern Kenya and finally settled in Kidepo Valley but in the 1950’s, their home was designated as part of the Kidepo Wildlife Conservation area and moved to Mt. Morungole. The Ik leaders estimate there are about 11,000 Ik living in small villages of several hundred each.
The Ik were hunters and gatherers but because they can’t hunt in the park anymore they practice subsistence farming with maize being their staple food.
Due to presence of some tribal conflicts and cattle raids by other rustlers the Ik build large fences wooden fences with secret exits. Polygamy is largely practiced and the Ik don’t have friends among themselves because they consider themselves as relatives.
Primary grasses in the Narus Valley are the shorter red oat grass and taller bunchy guinea grass and fine thatching grass. Common trees in the drier areas are red thorn acacias, desert dates and to a lesser extent drumstick tress. The iconic sausage trees and fan palms line the water courses. Euphorbia Candelabrum and the shorter monkey bread or camel’s foot and Buffalo thorn trees are also found.
Perennial water makes River Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert which hosts over 86 mammal species including spotted hyenas, lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, elephants, rothschild’s giraffes, zebras, cape buffalos, bat-eared foxes as well as almost 500 bird species.
Streams in the Kidepo Valley are likewise dotted with palms. Higher areas have whistling thorn acacias bush.