All about the true African Wilderness-Kidepo Valley National Park-Uganda Safari News
Perfectly situated in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of the remote Karamoja region on the extreme border with Sudan and Kenya, Kidepo Valley is Uganda’s most splendid national park, for it ranks among Africa’s true Wildernesses. The Park was 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.
Sprawling on 1,442square kilometers of land, Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park and its seclusion lends the park a certain air of peace and tranquility in which visitors on safari tour to Uganda can enjoy its majestic scenery. Kidepo’s exorbitant vistas, largely unrestrained by woodland and forest, are the sequel of the open tree savannah habitat that covers the largest portion of the park. Hill top areas of the park have been occupied by dry mountain forest while some watercourses support Acacia forests. Many of the hilltops are capped by rock kopjes which provide habitats for klipspringer and give panoramic 360 degrees views.
The park has undoubtedly the most varied fauna of any Uganda safari parks. With over 77 species of mammal, several of which are only found in the Kidepo and Karamoja region, the park also has circumscribed carnivores such as the bat-eared fox, cheetah, striped hyena as well as caracal and aardwolf. Other carnivores supported in the park area are lion, leopard side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, and black-backed. The rarely ungulates species include the lesser and greater kudu, chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer and Guenther’s dikdik among others. Other large ungulates include elephant, Rothschild’s giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, bush pig, warthog, Capped buffalo, eland, bushbuck, hartebeest and oribi, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Jsckson’s hartebeest and oribi. Five pronounced primate species are recorded in the park including the endemic Kavirondo bush baby.
The park has unique record of 475 bird species, making it second only in Uganda to Queen Elizabeth National Park. A few species of note, at least in Ugandan standards include the Ostrich, Kori Bustard and Karamoja Apalis, secretary bird, carmine, little green and red-throated bee eater, Abyssinian scimitarbill, yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbills and the Karamoja apalis. Kidepo is also notable for its birds of prey. Of the 56 species recorded, 14, including Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian vulture and pygmy falcon, are believed to be endemic to the Kidepo and Karamoja region. All these explain as to why the park is a safe haven for birders on Uganda safari tour.
The park has a semi-arid climate with one long rainy season which 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 valley of the Narus River in the south of the park receives some 89mm of rain per year while just 635mm of rain per year falls in the Kidepo valley to the north. Both rivers are seasonal, and dwindle and disappear in the dry season. During these months, the only water source in the park is situated in remnant pools and wetlands along the southern Narus valley near Apoka and as a result, wildlife is concentrated in this area. This concentration, amalgamated with the valley’s open, savanna habitat, makes it the park’s prime area wher visitor on safaris to Uganda’s Kidepo can enjoy game viewing. Indeed it is possible to sight a wide range of fauna simply by scanning the valley with binoculars from the comfort of the Apoka lodge.
The park is surrounded by Karamojong and Masai people who are pastoralist’s surviving on nomadic life style entirely depending on Cattle. However, these are adapting slowly to changes to their traditional way of life. Interested tourist who under take Uganda safaris to this part of Uganda may be able to explore Karamajong manyattas (homesteads) to see traditional customs, spears, stools, head dresses and knives, bows.
Uganda Safaris/Uganda Safari News
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