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Kidepo Valley National Park

Lions, Kudus, Reedbucks, Dikdik, Bright Gazelle, Beisa Oryx, and Antelope

Kidepo Valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometers national park in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. The land on which the park sits was initially inhabited by Dodoth pastoralists before it was gazetted by the British Colonial government as a game reserve. Its name Kidepo was adopted from a Dodoth verb ‘akidep’ which translates “to pick up”.

Kidepo Valley National Park is Uganda’s most isolated national park and therefore doesn’t get as many visitors. It is located in a relatively dry area that experiences one wet season in a year. However, the few that visit Kidepo will testify to its magnificence.

Safari game drive in Kidepo Valley National Park

During the dry season, which is usually most of the year, water sources are limited to the 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 during game drives since animals gather here to quench their thirst from pools left by River Narus.

While the other wildlife parks in Uganda can support far greater biomass of animals, Kidepo Valley National Park supports a wider diversity. The park houses 80 mammal species and 28 of these can only be found in Kidepo Valley National Park. These include the Caracal, Stripped Hyena, Aardwolf, Cheetah, and the Bat-eared Fox. There was a sighting of the African hunting dog in 2023. It had been previously thought it was extinct in Uganda.  

zebras are some of the wildlife you will find in kidepo valley national park in Uganda - kwezi outdoors

The park is also home to 5 primate species including Kavirondo Bush Baby which is also unique to the area. With a recorded 475 bird species, some of Africa’s rarest and most sought-after birds occur in the park including the Black-breasted Barbet and the Karamoja Apalis. This makes Kidepo Valley National Park one of Uganda’s Important Bird Areas and a sought-after birding destination that comes only second to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Highlights of Kidepo Valley National Park

Breathtaking Scenery:

The park is characterized by expansive savannah plains, rugged mountain ranges, and deep valleys. The Narus River and Kidepo River traverse the park, adding to its scenic beauty.

Abundant Wildlife:

Kidepo Valley National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, zebras, cheetahs, and more. The park’s remote location has contributed to the preservation of a largely untouched and natural ecosystem.

Bird Watching:

The park boasts an impressive bird population, with over 475 bird species recorded. Birdwatchers can spot various raptors, ostriches, bustards, and many other avian species, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.

Narus Kopje and Morungole Mountains:

Enjoy a walking safari in kidepo valley national park - kwezi outdoors

The Naruskopje and Morungole mountain ranges add to the park’s topographical diversity. The Morungole Range is inhabited by the Ik people, a community with unique cultural practices, and trekking to the Morungole Range provides an opportunity to engage with this community.

Cultural Encounters:

Kidepo Valley National Park is located in an area with diverse ethnic groups. In addition to the Ik people, the park is also adjacent to the Karamojong people, known for their distinctive culture, traditional dances, and colorful beadwork. Cultural encounters can be arranged for visitors interested in learning about local traditions.

Dance with the local Karimojong on a cultural experience in kidepo valley national park - kwezi outdoors

Kidepo Valley:

The valley itself is a prominent feature of the park, offering picturesque views and a prime location for wildlife viewing. The valley is traversed by seasonal rivers and is a hotspot for game drives.

Guzi and Namamukweny Valleys:

These valleys are known for hosting various wildlife species, including large herds of buffaloes and elephants. Exploring these valleys offers unique opportunities for game viewing. Kidepo has one of the largest African buffalo herd in the world.


Kidepo Valley National Park, with its remote location and minimal light pollution, provides an excellent opportunity for stargazing. The clear night skies over the vast savannah offer a breathtaking view of stars, constellations, and celestial bodies.

Remote and Less-Visited:

Kidepo Valley National Park is considered one of Africa’s last wilderness areas and is less frequented by tourists compared to other Ugandan parks. This adds to its appeal for those seeking a more exclusive and authentic safari experience.

Cheetah can be found in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda
A giraffe with its baby in Kidepo Valley National Park
Ostrich in Kidepo Valley National Park

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