Kidepo Valley National Park - Guide, Packages, Cost & More

Game viewing in Kidepo National Park - tourists watching an elephant herd
Our Guests in Narus Valley During Game drive.

Ugandan safaris are almost always tied to roaming mystical jungles in search of wild mountain gorillas but that’s not all there is to this country. 

Nestled in rugged northeast Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park stands as a testament to the untamed beauty and diverse ecosystems that we associate with wild Africa.

Often referred to as the hidden gem of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park offers a safari experience unlike any other, combining breathtaking landscapes, rich biodiversity, and a sense of unspoiled wilderness.

 So if you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or an adventure seeker, buckle up! We’re about to embark on a thrilling exploration of a park where the wild roars and the scenery take your breath away.

Book Your Tour of Kidepo Valley National Park With Us

To book your tour of Kidepo Valley we invite you to contact us via phone or WhatsApp at +254-704-532-105. You can also connect with us via email at or  

Our Senior Consultant James Gatheru, is available to answer your queries and help you plan your safari itinerary to the untouched wilderness that is Kidepo Valley.

Kidepo Valley - Photos by Our Clients

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Discovering Kidepo Valley National Park

Exploring the semi-arid Kidepo National Park - Elephants in Kidepo Valley Park
An elephant herd in Kidepo Valley Park

Nestled in the Karamoja region, near the border with South Sudan, Kidepo Valley National Park is one of Uganda’s most isolated parks. Its remote location, approximately 520 kilometres northeast of Uganda’s capital, Kampala, has kept it away from the usual tourist trails that can be seen at Murchison Falls or Queen Elizabeth National Parks.

The few who discover this hidden gem are blown away by this rugged savannah, punctuated by rocky outcrops and overshadowed by the towering peaks of Mount Morungole. The park’s scenic beauty is complemented by its diverse wildlife including a considerable big cat population and even the rare black-backed jackal.

It is this very isolation that has helped preserve the unique ecosystem of this vast expanse, that stretches over 1,442 square kilometres. It’s this distinctively pristine atmosphere that allows the wild to run free. Those who make the effort to reach Kidepo Valley are rewarded with remarkable wildlife sightings and authentic “out-in-the-wild” experiences

Biodiversity in Kidepo

Spotting wildlife in Kidepo Valley National Park - Buffalos at a waterhole
Kidepo is home to varied wildlife including cape buffalos

This isolated national park is a mix of savannah grasslands, acacia-dotted grasslands, and Borassus palms that line up the Kidepo River and other rivers like the Lopirpir and Kulao Rivers. The grasslands slowly graduate into the forests that line up the slopes of Mount Morungole. These lands are home to 86 mammal species and 500 birds.

Up to 28 of the 86 mammals we mentioned above are only found in Kidepo which makes it an important wildlife conservation park. It’s the only place in Ugandan parks where you can find the Guenther’s did-dik, Chandler’s mountain reedbuck, Bright gazelle, greater and lesser kudu, aardwolf, cheetah, caracal, and stripped hyena. 

In times past the roan antelope and Beisa oryx lived in these lands but are believed to have been hunted to extinction. On a really good safari, you just might spot the African wild dog hunting or playing. The wild dogs aren’t residents of the park but rather troop in from South Sudan from time to time. Other wildlife that you can see here include

  • Lions
  • African bush elephants
  • Rothschild’s giraffe
  • Spotted hyena
  • Bat-eared fox
  • African leopards
  • Cape Buffaloes
  • Zebras

What to Do at Kidepo Valley Park

What can you do on a visit to one of the finest wildernesses in East Africa?

Game Viewing

Safari to Kidepo Valley National Park - Vast plains of Kidepo Valley Park
Spectacular views of Kidepo Valley National Park

The Narus and Kipedo Valleys are the best places for game viewing in the park. Narus Valley, in particular, is the most ideal for spotting much of the park’s wildlife. The Narus Valley stretches from Mount Morungole across the vast plains and into South Sudan. 

The valley is fed by the Kidepo and Narus rivers which in the dry season reduce to permanent oases. Combined with the grassy plains, the valley attracts prey and predators who need food and drink. Game drives follow one of two 20 km safari routes in the valley and are best done early in the day or late afternoons when wildlife is most active.

Kidepo Valley is drier than Narus Valley and may not have as much wildlife but it’s gorgeous. This semi-desert is a picture of unforgettable landscapes ranging from rolling savannahs and trees framed by majestic mountain ranges. 

Driving through the Kidepo Valley you will come across the Kanangorok Hot Springs, a wonderful spot for relaxing and taking in the views. You’ll also have the chance to cross the wide sand bed (during the dry season) of river Kidepo and meander through the Borassus palms. It’s the ideal spot for observing the Kudu, Ostrich, and secretary bird.

Nature Walks

Nature walks in Kidepo National Park - Oribis in Kidepo National Park
Spotting Oribi antelopes on nature walks in Kidepo Valley Park

Guided nature walks in the Narus Valley, Lomej Hills, Namamukweny Valley, Kidepo Valley, Lonyilli Mountains, Mt Morungole and around Apoka Camp happen early in the morning. The park management provides armed escorts to accompany visitors on their chosen trails. 

The 4-hour-long Lomej Hills trail takes you over the plains to spot birds and animals including the Defassa waterbuck and the mountain reedbuck. 

The 2-hour Narus Valley walking excursions are popular among visitors who want to explore the park on foot. On this trail, you can come into contact with several species like the Jackson’s hartebeest, zebra, elephants, reedbucks, and giraffes.

A leisurely walk in Kidepo Valley takes place along the Kidepo River next to the Borassus Palms forest. In the dry season, you can walk across the sand river bed to enjoy better views of the park from either side and wildlife viewing. 

The Namamukweny Valley is a fantastic walking trail for bird lovers. If you’re interested in hiking up Mt Morungole, your tour operator can arrange with the Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers for this. This eight-hour hike (to and fro) is challenging and requires physical and mental fitness, but rewards hikers with the most amazing views of the park.

Birdwatching Paradise

Top activities at Kidepo Valley National Park - Lilac-breasted Roller
Spotting the lilac-breasted roller bird in Kidepo

Serious twitchers will enjoy spotting some of the 500 bird species found in this park. The best time for birdwatching in Kidepo is from November to April with some of the best places for birding being the Southern Narus Valley, Apoka Rest Camp, and Namamkwenyi Valley.

Some bird species you can find in the park include the Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Abyssinian Roller, Purple Heron, and Clapperton’s Francolin. Others include the Karamoja Apalis, white-faced scoops owl, Black-breasted barbets, Scarlet-chested sunbirds, yellow-billed strikes, and Nubian woodpecker. The park’s raptors include Egyptian vulture, Verreaux’s eagle, and Pygmy falcon.

Cultural Immersion

Enjoying cultural tours while on safari to Kidepo Valley National Park - IK tribe
Hanging out with the IK tribe

Cultural tours in this wild frontier region include trips to the IK tribe and the Karamojong people. The IK tribe are a hunter-gatherer people living along the lower slopes of Mt Morungole. They welcome guided tours by visitors eager to learn about their way of life, devoid of modern-day influences.

Next to the park is the Karamojong tribe, a pastoralist people in this semi-arid region. They are known as a warrior tribe since they must protect their cattle from raiders. They are also known to raid cattle from neighbouring communities and across borders in Kenya and Sudan. As with the IK people, the Karamojong have retained their traditional way of life and are open to visits to their manyattas. 

The fee you pay for these cultural tours is channelled toward improving the lives of these local communities. Similarly, purchasing souvenirs from the craft shops at Apoka Tourism Center helps improve the local economy.

Best Time to Visit

Best time to go to Kidepo Valley National Park - buffalos in Kidepo Valley National Park
Buffalo herds crossing a track

When planning your trip to Kidepo Valley National Park, it’s important to consider the best time to visit. While the park is open year-round, the best time to visit largely depends on what you want to see and do. Let’s examine what each season brings with it.

Dry Season

From December to March, the dry season offers higher chances of sighting wildlife and easier navigation through the park. During this time, the weather is hot and dry, with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees Celsius. 

The water sources in the park become scarce, leading to increased wildlife activity around the remaining waterholes. If you’re after some great wildlife viewing, the dry season is the best time to visit.

Wet Season

On the other hand, the rainy season, from April to August, brings lush vegetation but may make it more difficult to spot animals. During this season, rainfall increases and the terrain can become muddy and waterlogged, making some areas of the park less accessible. 

However, the rainy season also brings life to the park, with verdant vegetation and a variety of bird species. So if you’re a birdwatching enthusiast or a lover of lush landscapes, the wet season could be the best time to visit.

Journey to Kidepo Valley National Park

Having glimpsed the marvels of Kidepo Valley National Park, you might now be wondering about the journey there. Located in the Kaabong district, Kidepo Park is very far from Uganda’s Kampala. The park can be reached either by road or by air, each offering a unique journey and can be an adventure in itself.

By Road

Travelling to Kidepo National Park - Giraffes of Kidepo Valley National Park
African safari to see wildlife in Kidepo Valley Park

For those looking for an adventurous trip via road, there are four routes you can use to reach Kidepo Valley National Park. Two routes pass through the Karamoja region (Eastern Route) while the other two (Western Route) pass through Murchison Falls National Park.

On the eastern route, you can

  • Take the 12-hour drive from Kampala through Mbale and onto Nakapiripirit then Moroto, Kotido, and Kaabong to reach the park’s headquarters. On your way, you can stop by the beautiful Sipi Falls and enjoy an overnight stop at Kotido before heading to the park the following day.
  • Go on a 13-hour road trip from the capital (Kampala) through Mbale then Soroti, Moroto, Kotido, and Kaabong and finally reach the park. To make your journey less tiring, you can stop over at Kotido for the night and head to the park early morning.

If you’re using the Western route you can reach the park by

  • Driving from Kampala through Karuma then Gulu and Kitgum to reach Kidepo Valley Park. This journey takes 10 hours. Along the way, you can stop by Karuma Falls, visit the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and the Murchison Falls to build momentum for your safari
  • The other route involves passing through Karuma, Lira, Kotido and Kaabong before reaching Kidepo Valley Park. You’ll be on the road for 12 hours and can break the journey’s monotony by spending some of your time tracking rhinos at the Ziwa sanctuary and stopping for the night at Kotido.

Whichever route you use, you’re guaranteed excellent views of the country and glimpses into the diverse and vibrant cultures of the Ugandan people.

By Air

Reaching Kidepo Valley National Park by air - a plane flying into Kidepo Valley Park
A domestic plane getting ready to land in Kidepo

If you prefer a quicker and more convenient journey, flying is a fantastic option. Domestic flights from Entebbe International Airport offer a direct route to the Apoka airstrip in Kidepo Valley National Park. The flight duration from Kampala to Apoka airstrip is approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes which is pretty convenient. 

However, flights to the park only happen on certain days and the aircraft operators require guaranteed passenger numbers to fly. Unless you’re travelling as a group or large family, flying might not work. Don’t let this dampen your trip, your tour operator (hopefully us) will advise you on the best course of action.

Accommodation Options

After a day full of adventure and exploration, you’ll need a comfortable place to rest and relax. Thankfully, Kidepo Valley National Park offers a range of accommodation options to suit your needs. Whether you’re looking for luxury lodges offering world-class amenities or budget-friendly campsites closer to nature, the park has got you covered.

Luxury Lodges

Luxury accommodation at Kidepo National Park - Swimming pool in Apoka Safari Lodge
Apoka Lodge’s refreshing swimming pool

If you want to enjoy a blissful stay in Kidepo Valley National Park, consider staying at the Adere Safari Lodge or Apoka Safari Lodge. Adere Safari Lodge is perched on the jagged rocks of Kipedo Valley National Park. The lodge comprises 20 ensuite safari cottages spread out to maximise privacy. 

These comfy cottages are tastefully decorated and come with large wooden balconies so you can enjoy great views of the open wilderness. The 10-roomed Apoka Lodge is just as wonderful, providing a tranquil base for explorers. On a hot day, you can enjoy a dip in the swimming pool which often attracts thirsty antelopes.

Mid-Range Lodges

Mid-range accommodation at Kidepo Valley National Park - Kidepo Savannah Lodge
Enjoying delightful views of Kidepo Valley Park at the Kidepo Savannah Lodge

In the mid-range level, you can explore Kidepo Savannah Lodge. Kipedo Savannah offers both ensuite safari tents and non-self-contained tents. The lodge’s design is inspired by the surrounding rocky outcrops, grasslands and the Karamajong tribe. Each one of the tents offers breathtaking views of the vast Narus Valley, Mt Morungole and the mountain ranges in the distance. They are some of the best wake-up-to views in the wild lands of East Africa.

Budget Accommodation

Budget accommodation at Kidepo Valley National Park - Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp
The Nga'Moru Wilderness Camp

If you’re looking to visit Kidepo on a budget, the Kidepo Valley National Park runs an affordable facility by the name of Apoka Rest Camp. The camp comprises 16 chalets/bandas – some are self-contained while others are not. There’s also a self-catering camping site for those for those who want to bring their own camping gear and tents. 

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can pitch your tent in the wilderness. For this type of arrangement, the authorities must be notified so that a wildlife ranger can escort you. The Apoka Rest Camp is located on a hill neighbouring the Narus Valley and overlooks a water hole, so visitors enjoy spectacular views of the savannah landscape. Other options include Nga’Moru Wilderness Camp, Kakine Campsite, and Kara-Tunga Eco Camps.

Popular Tours and Itineraries

If you’re unsure of how to plan your trip to Kidepo Valley National Park, don’t fret! There are several popular tours and itineraries that you can follow, ensuring you make the most of your visit. Two of the most popular tours are the Luxury Northern Explorer and the Ultimate Ugandan Adventure.

The luxury northern journeys through the northern part of Uganda to explore beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife. From camping at Tutum Caves to optional add-ons like chimpanzee trekking in Budongo, before reaching Kidepo Valley Park, this tour ensures a unique and exciting adventure.

The Ultimate Ugandan Adventure incorporates tours to Jinja (the source of the Nile), Murchison Falls, Ziwa Sanctuary for Rhino tracking and the Kidepo Valley National Park. Both itineraries offer comfortable accommodation options, meals cultural experiences and thrilling adventures.

Travel Assistance and Planning

To ensure a smooth and memorable adventure, it’s important to plan your trip to Kidepo Valley National Park carefully. Besides booking your visa and obtaining the necessary vaccines, you’ll want to think through the activities you want to experience at Kidepo Valley Park, your preferred travel dates and accommodation. Are there other experiences you would like to enjoy as well such as gorilla trekking in Bwindi? Or would you like to combine your safari in Kidepo with other East African countries? Discuss these issues with your tour operator.

Further, it’s also important to take precautions during your such as

  • Carrying and using mosquito repellent
  • Staying hydrated
  • Respecting wildlife
  • Adhering to the rules and regulations as stipulated by the park management.


Kidepo Valley National Park is a unique gem offering a unique and unspoiled wilderness experience. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a wildlife enthusiast, or a culture lover, this isolated park has something for everyone. 

From diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes to rich cultural experiences and comfortable accommodations, Kidepo promises an unforgettable adventure. So, why wait? It’s time to answer the wild calls of this remarkable park that promises the adventure of a lifetime!

Frequently Asked Questions

Next, we cover the most common questions we get about Kidep National Park.

Are There Lions in Kidepo National Park?

Yes, there are lions in Kidepo. The park boasts a steadily growing population of approximately 132 individual lions roaming its vast expanse, making it the best place to see lions in Uganda.

What Is the Problem Facing Game Parks in Uganda?

Poaching is a major problem facing almost every Ugandan national park. The Uganda Wildlife Authority and government consider poaching a wildlife crime and have taken strict measures to deter people from engaging in this activity. Wildlife at the national parks are safer today than they were years back.  

Why Is Kidepo National Park Famous?

Kidepo National Park is renowned for its spectacular views of the semi-arid savanna, a wide array of wildlife (including many big cats) and several species of birds. This makes it a sought-after destination for birders and safari lovers alike.

What Wildlife Can I See in Kidepo Valley National Park?

Kidepo Valley National Park boasts several species of birds, mammals including lions, leopards, and elephants, and reptiles like the Nile crocodiles.