Kidepo valley national park; an epitome consecration of Uganda’s beauty hegemony
Straddling at the far north eastern corner of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is beyond the mediocre when it comes to the rating of the destinations worth exploration on safaris in Uganda. Kidepo just like the Uganda gorilla trekking safari haven of Bwindi form a considerable percentage of the Uganda’s listing among the best destinations for the year 2016 by CNN travel.
Uganda branded as the Pearl of Africa right from 1908, the country has not in any way disappointed her crown and still counts among the best odds even in the contemporary world tourism. The Uganda safari undertakers have always found a reason to justify the destination as the Pearl of Africa much of which is presented in her stunning scenic environment and wildlife.
Because of the unstable political situation that characterized Uganda for long coupled with limited government interest in tourism in the past years, some of the great treasures of Uganda are less explored, hidden and unnoticed.
Kidepo Valley National Park is not only a finest destination for wildlife but also the home to the one of the unique and very small ethnic tribes of Africa – the Indigenous Karimojong. The folklore gives the Indigenous Karimojong an Ethiopian origin before they wandered in various parts of East Africa until their current settlement in the highlands of Karamoja. They feature unique language and culture which is of great interest to the travelers on safaris in Uganda that find their way to Kidepo.
Besides the unique people, Kidepo features a permanent wetland of Narus which despite the troubled past of the inter-tribal conflict driving the wildlife away in the year 1980s and 90s, the range of wildlife populations have returned and the valley is filled by abundant wild game that definitely make the wild game viewing in the park memorable.
The 1442km park features a complete diverse landscape ranging from rolling mountain ranges of Morungole and Lomej to expanse plains of Narus, Namamukweny and Kidepo, the range of 475 species of birds and a count of 77 species of mammals, 5 primate species including the localized patas monkey, 20 resident predator species including the bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal, aardwolf, caracal and cheetah are limited to Kidepo on Ugandan standards and 12 antelope species of which greater Kudu, lesser Kudu, Guenther’s dik-dik and the mountain reedbuck that are limited to Kidepo on Ugandan standards. The park boasts of being the only one in Uganda with Ostrich bird species. This diversity gives the travelers on safari in Uganda a reason to face off a 700km journey from Kampala if not boarding a charter flight from Entebbe or Kajjansi to Apoka.
The Kidepo Valley National Park is indeed an epitome consecration of Uganda’s beauty hegemony. The park features collection pools bubbling with the ancient volcanic heat at the Kanangorok hot springs overlooking the rolling hills of South Sudan. To the south, the Kidepo Valley features its seasonal river where during the rainy seasons, the flash floods are all over but surprisingly hours to follow, it dries up leaving a sandy flow that can be over 165feet wide in some sections and amazingly further is that under this sand, water can still be found which is at times dug out by animals like elephants and baboons.
Whether you choose to follow the Mbale section and enjoy the eastern Uganda landscape including the Mount Elgon Volcano and Mount Moroto or opt to follow the Karuma, Gulu, Kitgum route with the magical views of Karuma falls and open landscapes of northern Uganda, the 700km to Kidepo are worthwhile and a typical lifetime journey to the true African wilderness.
By Siima Simon Peter