Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park
Kidepo Valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometres (557 sq mi) national park in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is a rugged semi-arid savannah, dominated by the 2,750 metres (9,020 ft) Mount Morungole and crossed by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Kidepo valley national park is locally known as Kidebo meaning, ”Help Us” as named by the local inhabitants.
Kidepo Valley National Park is located near Karenga in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi), by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region. It is located some 700 kilometres, by road, northeast of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city.
The northwestern boundary of the park runs along the international frontier with Bira, South Sudan and leans against the Kidepo Game Reserve boundary.
The Ketebo or Mening are the original inhabitants of the area, who had been living here since 1800. It was gazetted as a game reserve by the British colonial government in 1958, and the people were evicted. The purpose was both to protect the animals from hunting and to prevent further clearing of bush for tsetse fly-control. The eviction of the resident people and the resultant famine, especially the Ketebo people who were forcefully relocated to other areas within Bira such as Napotpot, Kalo Kudo, Namosingo, Loriwo and Naurkori in South Sudan, was cited by park management as an example of the unacceptable consequences of not taking community needs into account when designating reserves.
The park consists of the two major valley systems of the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. The valley floors lie between 3,000 feet (910 m) and 4,000 feet (1,200 m) ASL.
Kanangorok (also spelled Kananorok or Kanatarok) is a tepid hot spring in the extreme north of the park, in Lotukei, South Sudanese boundary. This spring is the most permanent source of water in the park.
The soil in the park is clayey. In the Kidepo Valley, black chalky clay and sandy-clay loam predominate, while the Narus Valley has freer-draining red clays and loams.
Wildlife in Kidepo valley National park
Kidepo Valley national park hosts over 77 mammal species including the Lions, Leopards which are rarely seen while the Buffaloes and elephants are commonly seen. Other mammals include Zebras, Jackson’s hartebeest, the recently introduced Uganda Kobs from Murchison falls national park, Eland, Oribi and Klipspringer are commonly seen. Other animals include the Cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, wild dogs, bat-eared fox and the jackal.
Kidepo valley national park has some animals which are not found in other savannah parks of Uganda like the Cheetah, Aardwolf, Caracal, mountain reedbuck and Guenther’s dik-dik.
The park is also home to around 475 bird species.
Most of the park is open tree savannah. Because of differences in rainfall — with annual averages of 89 centimetres (35 in) in Narus and 64 centimetres (25 in) in the Kidepo basin — vegetation and animal populations vary between the two valleys.
Narus is a name given by the Ketebo or Mening or Amening Clan which were the people living in the Valley. Primary grasses in the Narus Valley are the shorter red oat grass and taller bunchy Guinea grass and fine thatching grass. Common trees in the drier areas are red thorn acacias, desert dates, and to some extent drumstick trees. The iconic sausage trees and fan palms line the water courses. Euphorbia candelabrum and the shorter monkey bread (or camel’s foot) and Buffalo thorn trees are also found.
Perennial water makes River Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert which hosts over 86 mammal species including spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, zebra, African buffalo, bat-eared foxes, Rothschild’s giraffe — as well as almost 500 bird species.
Streams in the Kidepo Valley are likewise dotted with palms. Higher areas have whistling thorn acacias bush.
Game viewing is done by vehicle on the dirty roads that crisscross the southern and western parts of the park. A few trunk roads are improved with murram and are passable in all weather.
Take your 700 Km road adventure to Kidepo valley national park and enjoy several attractions like Sipi Falls, Wanale Ridge, Mount Elgon, Sezzibwa falls, Mabira forest, source of the Nile visit, etc to fulfil your Uganda trip with Bujuku Eco Tours.
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