Come join the Nature Trails East Africa team in this exciting wildlife safari in Kidepo Valley National Park. This national park ranks as one of Africa’s best for the authentic African safari experience. While the other wildlife parks in Uganda can support a far greater biomass of animals, this park supports a wider diversity. Of the 80 mammal species in the park, 28 cannot be found elsewhere and so you know that you will be in for a special safari treat if you book this marvelous holiday!
During this safari, you will stay for two nights at Bomah Hotel in Kitgum and for two nights at Apoka Rest Camp in Kidepo Valley National Park.
The driving distance from Kampala to Kidepo is 520 kilometers and that is more than 11 hours of driving. That would be a really long and tiresome journey, and so this holiday is broken down into five days.
The journey starts from Kampala or Entebbe, with the tour driver picking you up from the hotel and setting off at exactly 7 a.m. You will head northwards taking the Kampala-Gulu highway and after close to two and half hours, you will reach the Nakasongola District. You will branch off the highway and take the dirt road to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
You will transfer to the visitor’s center to meet the ranger and set off for about an hour or two of trekking on the sanctuary to find rhinos and plenty of other wildlife. Ziwa protects Uganda’s only wild rhinos. There are about twelve of them in the sanctuary. Rhinos once thrived in many of the wildlife reserves but were poached to extinction in the 1970s. Once enough numbers are raised on the sanctuary, they will release the rhinos back into the wildlife reserves.
Plenty of other animals can also be found in the sanctuary such as the kob, oribi, waterbuck, leopard, side-striped jackal, warthog, pangolin, and so much more. Over 351 species of birds have also been recorded. You will return from the trek and continue traveling to reach the town of Masindi where you will stop over for lunch. After this, you will continue with the journey to get to the Kitgum District by evening. You will be spending the night at the Bomah Hotel.
You will enjoy an early breakfast, check out, and depart for Kidepo Valley National Park. This is a shorter drive than the day before, although it will be on dirt roads. You will reach Kidepo by around noon and check into your accommodation for lunch and relaxation. After this, you will head out for a late afternoon game drive in the park to explore the amazing wilderness and observe plenty of wildlife. For this, you will head to the Narus Valley in the southern area of the park.
The south is the green region of the park with savanna grasslands mixed with acacia woodland. It is also the area of the park with permanent water sources throughout the year and for that matter, most of the animals are found in this part of the park. During the hot afternoons, many animals gather around water sources. You will see large herds of buffaloes, lots of zebras, and antelope species. You will have dinner and stay overnight at the Apoka Rest Camp.
You will start the day early with snack and a cup of tea or coffee, and set out for an early game drive back at the Narus Valley. This time, more focus will be on finding the elusive nocturnal animals and cats that are still out hunting. The animals to see this time include lions, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, waterbucks, elephants, and so much more. After over three hours, you will return to the lodge for breakfast and relax.
After lunchtime, you will set out for a community tour to the Karamajong homesteads just outside the park. The Karamajong people are similar to the famous Masai of Kenya and Tanzania. You will be introduced to their rich culture and traditions that have hardly been touched, just like Kidepo. You learn about their unique houses called manyata, community relations and hierarchies, artifacts, traditional dances, and folklore. You will have dinner and rest for the night back in the lodge.
After an early cup of tea with a snack, you will set out for yet another wonderful morning game drive into the park but this time, you will head to the Kidepo Valley in the northern area. This part of the park is dry, or semi-arid, and vegetation here is characterized by short grass. There is almost no permanent water source during the long dry spells. It's no wonder why there aren’t many animals here, but you will surely enjoy the wonderful views of the unadulterated wilderness and rugged valleys back-dropped by mountains. The ostrich is commonly sighted in this side of the park.
The biggest highlight in this area is the famous sand bed of the Kidepo River. It is a seasonal river that doesn't flow during the long dry spells. It is lined with lush Borassus palms, creating a sight akin to an oasis in a desert. Enjoy the sounds of birds in the Borassus palm. After more than two hours, you will return to the lodge for breakfast and relaxation. You will also have an early lunch for this day so you can be on your way back to Kitgum before night fall.
After breakfast, you will continue with the journey to Kampala where you are expected to arrive in the late afternoon. Again, you will stop over in the town of Masindi for lunch.
This retreat will take place in Kidepo Valley National Park. It is 1,442 square kilometers in size and lies in the extreme north-eastern corner of Uganda, far away from the busy tourist circuit. It is the remotest of Uganda’s national parks, located over 600 kilometers from Kampala. Its remoteness, which hinders easy access to it, has enabled it to maintain an unadulterated wilderness that protects plenty of wildlife. This includes many animals that cannot be found in other national parks in Uganda, most notably the cheetah and ostrich.
It takes no less than twelve hours of driving to reach Kidepo by road, which why it is one of the least visited parks in the country. The park is located in the semi-arid region of Karamoja. It is one of the most pristine and least disturbed of Africa’s wildernesses, and according to CNN Travel, Kidepo is one of Africa’s best parks with the most beautiful landscape.
Kidepo National Park has two main biomass, the savanna or acacia grassland in the Narus Valley, which lies in the southern area of the park, and the semi-arid short grass area in the northern Kidepo Valley. The park is generally dry, experiencing only one rainy season of April to September. It has two rivers, the Kidepo and the Narus, both of which are only flowing during the rainy season. During the long dry spells, water can only be found in wetlands and remnant pools in the Narus Valley.
Of the 80 mammal species in the park, 28 cannot be found in any other park in Uganda including the caracal, striped hyena, aardwolf, cheetah, bat-eared fox, and hunting dog are carnivore species unique to the Karamoja region and protected within Kidepo. Kidepo also harbors five species of primate including the kavirondo bush baby which is also unique to the area.
The park also has a number of rare ungulates including the greater and lesser kudu, chandlers mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, dikdik, bright gazelle, beisa oryx, and roan antelope. Kidepo has unusually small crocodiles with a maximum length of 2.5 meters compared to the Nile crocodiles, which regularly exceed 4 meters. This small size is apparently a result of the limited food availability.
The common animals in the park include elephants, zebras, bush pigs, rothschild giraffes, elands, jackson’s hartebeests, buffaloes, oribis, lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, and black-backed and side-backed jackals. Kidepo is the best park in Africa for great buffalo herds.
Bird life in Kidepo is remarkable too. With 475 species, it is second to the Queen Elizabeth National Park which has 625. It is the park to go to for arid-associated species such as the ostrich and kori bustard, which are unique to this region. Kidepo is also outstanding for its birds of prey, with 58 species so far recorded including Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture, and pygmy falcon.
All meals mentioned in the itinerary section are included in the price of this retreat. Bottled water will also be provided. For the first day, lunch and dinner will be served. On the second and third days, there will be breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the fourth and fifth days, there will be breakfast and lunch.
Please book your flights to arrive at Entebbe International Airport (EBB)
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