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Uganda Excursions Part 2

KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK - is Uganda’s best kept secret!

Totally off the beaten track, remote, far removed and accessible only via a light aircraft private charter, a 3x

weekly schedule flight or a day long road transfer (700 kms/9 hrs), Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi-arid valleys of karamoja province, on Uganda’ far northern border with South Sudan and Kenya

Transected by rivers Kidepo and Narus and well fed with ample rainfall, it is an oasis in the semi-desert; unsurpassed scenery, dense acacia geradi forest along Lorupei River and breathtaking savannah landscapes dominated by Mt. Morungole (2750m). One of

Uganda’s most spectacular national parks, her extremely diverse flora and fauna includes over 500 species of birds and 80 mammals (28 of which do not occur anywhere else in Ugandan) including the bat-eared fox, striped hyena, cheetah and leopard, aardwolf, caracal, hunting dogs, elephants, zebra, bush pigs, warthog, Rothschild giraffe, buffalo, eland, bushbuck, bush duskier, defassa water buck, bohor reed buck, Jackson's hartebeest and oribi as well as tree climbing lions; game viewing could never be better. Less common residents include greater lesser kudu, Chandlers Mountain reedbuck, klipspringer, etc.

There is so much to see and do, activities include:

Game viewing drives - Kidepo harbors more wild animals species than any other park in Uganda

Spotlight night game viewing drives and cultural visits -

Guided bush walks - a must in Kidepo!

Birding: Kidepo’s bird checklist includes 60 listed species not recorded in any other park in Uganda. Hiking Mt. Lamoj as well as at the splendid Kidepo River Valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. Sightseeing at the Kanangorok Hot Springs, located only 11 km from Kidepo river valley.

Cultural tours to the local Karamajong community and performances like the ‘Emuya’ of the Naporre and

Nyangia ethnic groups as well as the Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi people.

APOKA LODGE - Apoka Lodge, high end and the only lodge in Kidepo Valley National Park is perched atop a huge kopje with endless 360° views across the savannah.

Guests’ accommodation comprises of 10 spacious and extremely comfortable wood, thatch and canvas cottages. Raised on a wooden platform, they include an inside sitting/lounge area, a private veranda, en-

suite bathrooms with double sink and large tropical shower supplied with plenty of solar heated water and an outdoor bathtub; plenty of places to relax, read and unwind. Everything is handmade by local craftsmen, with natural canvas walls, big hand-hewn beds with soft duvets and draped with mosquito nets, hand-woven woolen carpets, extra large plush towels, oversized dressing gowns, etc. The interiors and amenities complement the natural surroundings - cream and chocolate carpets, plush white towels, Egyptian cotton bed linens. etc. All rooms have electric (solar) lights and power points.

At the outside sheltered terrace, you may slip into your own outdoor bathtub carved out of the rock face, big enough to fit the whole family while from your private terrace you may enjoy panoramic views out and over the magnificent valleys of Kidepo Valley National Park, among the most beautiful, yet underrated, destinations in East Africa; expansive grassy plains dotted with huge kopjes and flanked by steep jagged mountains, dry river beds zigzag across the park, fringed with borassus and sausage trees. Tracts of forest in this park, many yet to be explored and teeming with wild game including lions, leopard, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, zebra, possibly Africa’s largest herds of buffalo, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, warthog…

The expansive main building houses a dining room as well as plenty of lounging space while the swimming pool provides a welcome respite when not out in the wilderness. There is an all weather airstrip nearby..

NB: Until recently, Kidepo was pretty much inaccessible due to its remoteness and difficulty of getting there, the only way then being by private air charter. But now the park can be accessed via a newly tarmac-ed road via Gulu! The drive Kampala/Kidepo takes 9 hrs. A stopover at Murchison Falls National Park (Uganda’s biggest park, named for the dramatic Murchison Falls on River Nile) is recommended

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