AUTHENTIC SAFARIS & PERSONALIZED TOURS IN KIDEPO VALLEY WITH AFRICANMECCA
What Safari Attractions & Tour Activities To Experience During Your Kidepo Valley Visit?Kidepo Valley is a wilderness park that captivates visitors with its seemingly endless plains, grazing animals, and gorgeous birds. As you explore the park on game drives, you will have the opportunity to view the amazing creatures that roam the park’s green and gold savannah grasslands, dotted with trees and rocky crags. Your AfricanMecca assigned tour guide will ensure that you visit the Narus Valley, where much of the game concentrates because the area has more water reserves that remain wet throughout the year. In addition to game drives, you will want to visit other parts of Kidepo Valley National Park on foot, following nature trails.
- Captivating landscape with green and gold savannah plains teeming with grazers and predators
- Fabulous sand river beds, broken by swamps and pools where wildlife flocks to drink
- Walking along the trails looking for some of 475 species of avian life, some of which are endemic only in Kidepo
- Kanangorok Hot Springs and Lomej Mountain explorations
- Namamukweny Valley, yet another prime location for sighting beautiful birds, and hiking up Morungole Mountains for cultural interactions with the Ik tribal people
If you are an avid birding enthusiast, your guide will recommend spending time in the Namamukweny Valley, the park’s prime location for viewing various species of avian life. In addition, you could trip out to the Morungole Mountains for stunning views and interactions with the native Ik people, who follow a unique way of life.
On your cultural tour in Uganda, you can visit the communities close to the lodge to experience their traditional dance and music performances. You can expect to be regaled by performances such as the Emuya dance-song of the Nyangia and Naporre ethnic groups, and the Larakaraka and Apiti dances of the Acholi people.
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Our Top 4 Safari Activities In Kidepo Valley - Things You Can Do & See
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|1. Game Drives To View The Diverse Wildlife Of Kidepo Valley|
|2. Birdwatching Safaris In Kidepo Valley|
|3. Hikes, Treks & Walking Safaris in Kidepo Valley|
|4. Karamojong & The Ik Cultural Safari- The Tribes Of Kidepo Valley|
1. Game Drives To View The Diverse Wildlife Of Kidepo Valley
- Game drives in the mornings and afternoons to look for wildlife including four of the Big Five of Africa
- 77 species of mammals, 28 of which can be spotted only in Kidepo in Uganda
- View nocturnal creatures that come out to feed in the cover of twilight
Also look for the other ungulates and grazers that live in Kidepo Valley (best time to visit): species such as the bush duiker, bushbuck, oribi, eland, bush pig, Defassa waterbuck, Bohor reedbuck, Rothschild giraffe, Jackson’s hartebeest, Burchell’s zebra, klipspringer,kongoni, and warthogs. Among the smaller predators, you will see the side-striped jackal, caracal, striped hyena, cheetah, bat-eared fox, hunting dog, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, and aardwolf, along with various smaller cats. The Narus Valley is known for sightings of Guenther’s dik-dik, Senegal galago and Kavirondo bush baby. The white-tailed mongoose is often seen on twilight drives.
2. Birdwatching Safaris In Kidepo Valley
- Park is famous for sightings of 475 species of avian life
- Narus and Namamukweny Valleys known for fabulous birds that are a photographer’s dream
- Rare birds often spotted around the watering holes and swamps of the reserve
Among the rarer birds, you might spot the Karamoja apalis and black-breasted barbet, along with other commonly seen species like the crimson-rumped waxbill, marsh tchagra, African mustached and broad-tailed warblers, black coucal, yellow-rumped seedeater, four-banded sandgrouse, and various swallows. Many of these are often spotted around the watering holes of Kidepo.
Below is a list of some of the birds of Kidepo Valley National Park
3. Hikes, Treks & Walking Safaris in Kidepo Valley
- Nature walks to spot small reptilian species hiding in the undergrowth
- Choice of walking trails according to the particular interest and fitness levels of visitors
- Range of landscapes and altitudes from valleys and savannahs to highlands
A walk to the Kidepo Valley will treat you to spectacular panoramas of light brown sand riverbed meandering among forests of Borassus palm. If you walk further, you will be able to reach the Kanangorok Hot Springs, a distance of 11 scenic kilometers (7 miles) from the valley. Yet another trekking tour can take you to the Morungole Mountains in the outskirts of Kidepo Valley National Park (where to stay), home of the Ik people. Given that the park is contained within highlands, you can spot the rocky Napore Nyagia mountain range standing on the west, while to the northeast are the Natira and Lokayot Hills. The Lotukei Mountains in Sudan are also visible from the park on the north.
4. Karamojong & The Ik Cultural Safari - The Tribes Of Kidepo Valley
- Visit Uganda’s most remote tribes near the border of Kenya and South Sudan
- The Karamojong tribe are cattle herders, and have a similar culture to the Maasai tribe
- The Ik tribe are farmers who live up the Morungole Mountains. They sustain themselves through goat keeping, honey harvesting, and subsistence maize farming. Only 10,000 exist in the world.
The Karamojong are nomadic cowherds, and their entire livelihood is centered on their cattle. Most of their food comes from the blood and milk of the herds they own. When you visit their village in the outskirts of Kidepo Park, you can meet the people and take part in their daily activities. Hike up the Morungole Mountains for an introduction to the Ik people. In contrast to their brothers, the Karamojong, the Ik tribe practice farming as their main occupation and typically venture out of their villages only to exchange the grain they grow for other essentials.
The Karamojong TribeThe Karamojong traveled to Uganda from Ethiopia sometime around 1600 and occupied the area around Mount Moroto. Today there are close to 1.2 million people living in Kidepo Valley National Park. Nomads and cattle-herders, the Karamojong belong to the Nilotic group, meaning from the Nile region. History says they acquired the name Karamojong, or Ngkaramojong, which translates to “the old tired men who stayed behind,” because they opted to settle on the borders of South Sudan and Kenya while their counterparts moved on.
Warriors by nature, the Karamojong people have resisted urbanization and modern education and prefer to keep to their traditional beliefs and religion, which worships the god Akuj. They have always believed that their cattle are a gift from Akuj, which led to clashes over stolen cows with neighboring tribes living in the region of Kidepo Valley National Park who are also pastoralists. Before the peace agreements between the tribes, the clashes became violent and bloody because of the availability of weapons during the Uganda reign of Idi Amin.
As you will note on your cultural tour, in the Karamojong culture, cattle are considered wealth and the person owning the most cattle is considered the wealthiest. The male members of the tribe spend their time looking for greener pastures and fresh water for their cows, while the women stay home in the manyattas in Kidepo Valley Park. The manyatta is a permanent home where the women and girls grow a few crops, make sorghum flour, and produce traditional beer. Democracy prevails, with the younger warriors called Ngigetei meaning gazelles and the village elders are called Ngimoru meaning mountains.
When you tour the Karamojong village, you will note that the manyattas are simple structures with low doors that you may have to crawl into. Almost devoid of furniture and smeared with mud and cow dung, the homes offer respite from the intensely hot weather conditions of Kidepo Valley National Park. It is not uncommon for the men to have several wives, and they pay the bride price with cattle. Extended families live together in close-knit families, helping each other. To ease the heat, the women and children don’t wear much clothing. They also sport unique tribal markings.
The village elders, dressed in tunics, will welcome you on your vacation excursion and relate tales of yore. Spending time with them is an eye-opening experience that will make you feel like you have taken a trip to a part of Kidepo Valley Park that time forgot. And, while you are here, do take part in their jumping dances, which are lively and energetic.
The Ik TribeThe Ik people, who speak the Teuso language, live in the Morungole Mountains of Uganda, on the northwestern border of Kenya in Kidepo Valley National Park. Also called the Mountain people, the Ik number fewer than 10,000 individuals today, and primarily practice subsistence farming. The Ik were among the first people to travel to Uganda from Ethiopia and thus earned the name “Ik,” which means “leaders of migration.” Because of their common origins, they share many characteristics with the Karamojong people. History has it that they were also originally cattle herders, but after losing their livestock to raiders from the neighboring tribes, such as the Tuposa of South Sudan, the Karamojong, and Turkana and Pokot of Kenya, they moved on to goat keeping, honey harvesting, and subsistence maize farming for a livelihood.
The Ik also practiced hunting and gathering for food, but after the establishment of reserves such as the Kidepo Valley Park in the 1960s, they were barred from areas where they traditionally foraged for food. To protect their culture and survive in peace, they chose a spot in Mount Morungole where they now live, segregated from the rest of the tribes and communities. Should you opt for an authentic African cultural vacation expedition to their village, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding landscape and its natural beauty.
Similar to the Karamojong, the Ik men have several wives and pay the bride price in livestock such as chickens, goats, and beehives. All the mothers and grandmothers collectively care for the children. Modern education is rarely given, though this factor could change in the coming years. Although shy people, the Ik are now welcoming tourists to their village in Kidepo Valley National Park for the additional income they can make. This income does help them preserve their ways and prevent the tribe from becoming extinct.
The Ik people welcome visitors warmly with traditional dancing, often in their tribal dress. But getting to their village may present a bit of a challenge. The U.S. Forest Service has marked a trail that you can follow, and there is even a vehicle track that can shorten the trek. Keep in mind that you have to be in top physical shape for the 16-kilometer (10 miles) round trip since the climb is strenuous and steep. Even so, a visit to these unique people of Kidepo is a memorable experience, and will change your perception of the tribes and the culture that they preserve.
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KIDEPO VALLEY NATIONAL PARK GUIDE
The beauty of Kidepo Valley Park is bound to take your breath away, despite its generally arid conditions. A desolate wilderness that hosts 77 species of mammals including four of the Big Five of Africa.
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WHERE & BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KIDEPO VALLEY
Kidepo Valley has limited quality camps and lodges. AfricanMecca only recommends Apoka Safari Lodge that affords a a rustic luxury Premier Tier 1 Safari rating. It offers a pleasing, hospitable ambiance.
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BEST TIME TO VISIT KIDEPO VALLEY PARK
The typical weather conditions at Kidepo Valley are different from the usual in Uganda. This is primarily due to the hot semi-arid climate based on its location. September to February are the best times to visit.
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EAST AFRICA SAFARI BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR KIDEPO VALLEY IN UGANDA
When visiting Kidepo for your wildlife safari, we recommend combining it with Bwindi Park for your gorilla safari trek, Queen Elizabeth, Murchison Falls and Kibale (chimpanzee safari) alongside your city tour visits of Kampala and Entebbe.
You may optionally extend out to other wilderness areas such as Mgahinga to track down golden monkeys and gorillas in the same park, Jinja for whitewater rafting on the Nile River, and Semliki or Lake Mburo for an offbeat wildlife tour.
You can end your vacation on the beach at Lake Victoria or even extending out to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar or Lamu, or even Mombasa.
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