Areas of Interest in Kidepo
1. Apoka Tourism Centre
Overlooking the game-rich Narus Valley and home to an up-market lodge and simple UWA-run cottages, Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. Ranger guides are stationed at Apoka to escort tourists on game drives and walks.
For those without their own transport, park trucks can be hired. There is a craft shop with books and souvenirs; bottled water, sodas, and alcoholic beverages can also be purchased here.
Food is cooked on request and cooking gas and utensils can be hired by individuals who wish to cook for themselves.
2. Narus Valley
Narus Valley is a rolling grassland plain enclosed by distant mountains. The valley has permanent water, and for much of the year, the park’s wildlife congregates here. Thus, the area is well provided with game tracks, with four loop circuits exploring the valley around Apoka.
Many creatures such as lions, Jackson’s hartebeest, buffaloes, giraffes, oribis, and reedbucks can be seen in the valley. Less commonly seen are cheetahs and leopards. The Narus dam and the water hole near the Tourism Centre are perfect observation points for game, especially during the dry season.
At the southern end of the Katurum loop, Katurum kopje (the site of a derelict lodge) is an attractive destination with superb views north across the valley towards the Morungule mountain range.
3. Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs
For most of the year, a lack of surface water means that little wildlife is found in Kidepo Valley, though it is still worth the drive to visit the dry Kidepo River to stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sand between banks covered with Borassus palms.
Kidepo means to pick from below and the valley was visited by people coming to gather fallen Borassus fruit for fermenting to make palm beer. The Kanangorok Hot Springs lie 11km beyond the Kidepo River on the Sudan border.
This is a glorious place to sit and view the mountains beyond the frontier.
4. Mount Morungule
Mount Morungole stands at 2,750m and is crossed by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers that nourish the park’s wildlife and this natural habitat as a whole. The Morungole Range marks the southern boundary of the park and rises from the plains a few kilometers northeast of Apoka.
This region can be explored on foot with a ranger. The mountain slopes are home to the IK people, the smallest ethnic group in Uganda, with their own unique culture.
5. Namamukweny Valley
Namamukweny is a Napore word meaning a place with no birds or a lonely place with few people – though, regarding the birds, quite the opposite is true.
The valley is inhabited by a large number of bird species such as the Eastern Paradise Whydah, White-crested Turaco, Common Bulbul, Abyssinian Roller, and Green-Wood Hoopoe among others. It is located in the northwest of the park and can be accessed by car or on foot.
6. Lomej Hills
The Lomej Hills are located a short drive from the headquarters. They are a good viewing point for birds and wildlife, including the mountain reedbuck.
7. Lonyili Mountain
Lying between Kitgum and the Sudan border, Lonyili Mountain is largely covered in montane forest and is home to primates such as colobus monkeys.
Due to poor conditions in this area, the road is currently out of use. There are plans to repair it – you are strongly advised to contact UWA for updates before embarking on your journey to the mountain.
Getting to Kidepo Valley NP
While Kidepo is quite isolated, it is now more accessible than ever because of Uganda’s increased road network. Kidepo is located around 600 kilometers northeast of Kampala – Uganda’s capital.
Driving from Kampala to Kidepo takes between 7 and 10 hours depending on which road route is used. The shortest route is via Gulu Town in northern Uganda.
Alternatively, there are chartered domestic flights from Entebbe and other Ugandan National Parks to Kidepo Valley National Park.