Isolated from the Ugandan mainstream by the harsh plains north of Mount Elgon, Kidepo is one of Africa’s last great wilderness areas, a tract of ragged savannah dominated by the 2,750m Mount Morungole and transacted by the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. Perennial water makes Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert, reflected in its 86 mammal species (28 occurring nowhere else in Uganda) and almost 500 birds. Predators are well represented not only lion, cheetah and leopard, but also the delightful bat- eared fox and insectivorous hyena, like aardwolf-while a long list of dry- country antelopes include the regal grater kudu and beisa oryx. While the game viewing can be excellent, it’s the thrilling sense of supreme isolation that distinguishes this rare slice of wild Africa, as yet undiscovered by mass safari market.
Size: It covers approximately 1,436sq km.
Location: On the Sudanese and Kenyan border in the Northeast.
How to get there: The drive from Kampala via Mbale and Moroto, best split over two days requires a good 4*4. Charter flights from Kampala are a popular way to reach Kidepo.
*Kampala –Mbale – Soroti – Moroto –Kidepo = 792kms
*Kampala – Mbale – Sironko – Kotido – Kaabong – Kidepo = 740kms*Kampala – Karuma – Lira – Kotido – Kidepo = 705kms
*Kampala – Karuma – Gulu – Kitgum – Kidepo = 571kms.
Activities: Rewarding game drives, foot safaris across the Narus Valley and enjoying the isolated wilderness. Look out, too, for the Karamojong people, traditional pastoralists with few linguistic or cultural affiliations to the East African groups.
When to visit: Throughout the year.
Where to stay: There is a new up-market lodge at Apoka, as well as the UWA rest camp and a basic campsite. Important to note is that the lodge is unable to cater for walk-in guests. UWA provides simple cottages nearby at a self-catering hostel stocked with bottled drinks but visitors are advised to bring their own food. Two basic campsites are cited in the Narus valley. Each is provided with a pit latrine and shower stall but visitors should bring all their own equipment and supplies.