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Off-the-Beaten Path: Kidepo Valley National Park

If you are always in search of your next trip and pride yourself on seeking out off-the-beaten-path destinations Kideop Valley National Park in Uganda might be the perfect choice for you.

About KVNP Park

Kidepo is Uganda’s most remote national park, more than 400 miles from Kampala Uganda's far North-east. At the crossroads of Kenyan, Sudanese and Ugandan ecosystems, Kidepo provides an amazing wildlife experience in a remote and pristine wilderness.  Those few who make the long journey north through the wild frontier region of Karamoja would agree that Kidepo ranks among Africa’s finest wildernesses. Wildlife in Kidepo is abundant. Lions, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, zebra (this is Uganda’s only park where giraffe and zebra are found together), possibly Africa’s largest herds of buffalo, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthog. Visits to Kidepo also offer opportunities to interact with the local communities around the park including the pastoral Karamojong people, similar to the Maasai of Kenya, and the IK, a hunter-gatherer tribe.

Buffaloes in Kidepo

Narus Valley

The Narus Valley is Kidepo's prime game viewing area.  The Narus Valley is a rolling, grassland plain enclosed by distant mountains and has the areas only permanent water access. As a result, the park’s wildlife congregates there for much of the year. 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 in the Apoka area are perfect observation points for game, especially during the dry season.

Elephants in Kidepo

Where to Stay: Apoka Safari Lodge

Within the Narus Valley there are a few simple Uganda Wildlife Authority cottages and Apoka Safari Lodge which is our recommendation of where to stay. Apoka's 10 rooms are large and comfortable with natural canvas walls and endless views across the Narus Valley savannah.

 Apoka Safari Lodge

Almost everything in Apoka's rooms are handmade by local craftsmen with comfort in mind; big handmade beds with soft duvets are draped with mosquito nets, hand-woven woolen carpets, extra large plush towels, over-sized dressing gowns. With inside sitting rooms and private verandas there are plenty of places to relax, or step outside to a sheltered terrace and slip into your own outdoor stone bathtub and watch animal move across the plains. Apoka's main area includes a swimming pool carved out of the rocks. Activities at Apoka include game-drives in open-top Landcruisers and walking safaris and visits to the local community. Apoka is staffed entirely from the local Karamojong community.

Apoka Safari Lodge

When to go

We recommend adding 3 or 4 days in Kidepo to the end of an East Africa safari in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda. You can fly to Kidepo from Entebbe on a scheduled charter.

Apoka is open throughout the year and has the following seasons

  • Jan to May : Quite hot and generally dry
  • Jun to Sep : Rain is more prevalent. Temperatures still warm and storms generally don’t last more than an hour
  • Oct to Dec : Quite hot and generally dry

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Jamie Mehrotra