Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with Sudan and Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species as well as around 475 bird species.
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, but the few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that it is also the most magnificent, for Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. From Apoka in the heart of the park, a savannah landscape extends far beyond the gazetted area, towards horizons outlined by distant mountain ranges.
During the dry season, the only permanent water in the park is found in wetlands and remnant pools in the broad Narus Valley near Apoka. These seasonal oases, combined with the open, savannah terrain, make the Narus Valley the park’s prime game viewing location.
The park can be reached by both road and air. Driving is rewarding, as much of Karamoja, like Kidepo itself, is a vast and unspoiled wilderness. However, road conditions are sometimes poor and a 4WD vehicle is essential.
There are four possible routes by road as listed below. Optimum driving times are given
Routes passing west of Lake Kyoga through Acholi land
- Kampala – Karuma – Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo = 571km (10 hours)
- Kampala – Karuma – Lira – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 705km (12 hours)
Routes passing east of Lake Kyoga through Karamoja
- Kampala – Mbale – Sironko – Moroto – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 740km (12 hours)
- Kampala – Mbale – Soroti – Moroto – Kotido – Kabong – Kidepo = 792km (13 hours)
The most usual route passes through Gulu and Kitgum Ideally, travellers should plan to stay overnight in one of these towns or at Chobe, near Karuma in Murchison Falls National Park.
Visitors should note that the road mainly in use from Kotido to Kaabong passes via Kanawat not via Losilang as indicated on most maps.
.Charter flights to Kidepo may be arranged from Kampala (Kajjansi), Kampala Aeroclub, or Entebbe with Eagle Aviation. Flights take about two hours. The Civil Aviation Authority plans to make Lomej airstrip near Apoka, an international airport to enable visitors to fly direct to Kidepo from other countries.
There are currently no scheduled flights to Apoka.
Kidepo is served by a network of game tracks in the Narus Valley in the south of the park. These cross seasonal streams and tracts of wetland, making a 4WD vehicle essential, especially during the rainy season. To the north, a single track leads across the Kidepo River to Pirre in the north east of the park.
What to Bring
Hiking boots are ideal for forest walks although stout walking shoes are adequate. Lightweight raincoats are advisable. Altitude and the forest environment makes evenings cool and a light jacket is also recommended.
Apoka Safari Lodge (Wildplaces) – UWA Concession
Apoka Rest Camp (UWA)
Kakine Self-catering Campsite (UWA)
Nga Moru Wilderness Camp
Climate and When to Visit
The annual rainfall is 800mm a year. The long rainy season runs from February to June and short rains last from September to December, leaving just three dry months. The rains are rather erratic, though the wettest months are usually April and November. July and August are the hottest months. The average temperature is 27.5°C with daily variations from 21.5°C to 34°C.
The best time for game viewing is the dry season when animals are concentrated near water points. During the rainy seasons, animals disperse from the valleys, moving to higher, drier ground where they are not so easily seen.
Ngamba Islands is part of the Koome group of islands located on lake Victoria 23km south of Entebbe, Uganda.It consists of approximately 100acres,98 of which are forested for the chimpanzees and separated from the visitors area by an electric fence. Ngamba Islands officially opened to visitors in 1999 currently it is home to 40 orphaned chimpanzees almost half of which have been confiscated and brought to the islands since its opening.
Life on the islands
You can view any or both of the two -day time chimpanzee feedings from the visitor’s platform, and enjoy unlimited use of the other island facilities. Optional activities includes opportunities to observe the islands 154 recorded birds, viewing of a local fishing village, a sunset cruise to be arranged in advance or simply relax at your tents private deck enjoying a memorable African sunset as thousands of bats make their flight around the Island
Forest walks with the chimpanzees.
The forest walk experience gives you an opportunity to join a group of infant chimpanzees on a one hour walk through their forest habitat, either in the late afternoon or early morning.
This is a unique program where visitors get the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a chimpanzee caregiver by being care givers themselves! As a chimp care giver you will participate in preparing their food and feeding them. You can assist the staff with any activities happening at the sanctuary that day medical checkups, research and monitoring, preparing the holding areas for the chimps and other activities. The staff will work with you to show you what is involved in taking care of these animals, how individual they are and what makes them so special.
The forest walk and caregiver activities may only be done as an addition to the Ngamba Island overnight experience and has age restrictions and a special medical requirement that need to be adhered to.
For those who wish to have an overnight experience, accommodation on the Island comprise of just 4 tents, all en suite, on wooden platforms with private tents decks overlooking lake Victoria.
The camp has been built with strict ecological guidelines of CSWCT with due care to the fragile nature of the environment, lighting is solar. Each tent has splendid view of the lake and is well appointed, featuring a bush shower and eco toilet.
Meals are substantial with several tasty courses for dinner and local specialties such as fresh fish from the lake when possible, beverages and cold drinks are available at all times. Ngamba Islands is open all year round and is ideal to tag along on to the end of any Uganda safari