Kidepo Valley National Park | Private Safaris East Africa

Explore Kidepo Valley National Park

The park was previously home to Dodoth pastoralists and Ik farmers before its declaration and gazettement by the British colonial government as a game reserve at the time. This move was in a bid to protect both the wildlife from hunters and the clearing of the bush for tsetse fly-control.


After Uganda’s independence, the government of the day under Milton Obote converted the reserve into Kidepo Valley National Park in 1962. The park’s first chief warden, Ian Ross, a British national, was replaced by Paul Ssali, a Ugandan national. The handover and training became the subject of the American documentary film, ‘The Wild and the Brave’.


Kidepo Valley National Park covers an area of 1,442 square kilometres in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda and consists of two major valley systems namely, Kidepo and Narus Rivers. Their respective floors lie between 3000 ft and 4,000 ft above mean sea level (AMSL). Its most permanent source of water comes from Kanangarok (also spelt Kananorok or Kanatarok), which is a slightly warm hot spring located on the extreme northern side of the park.


Vegetation includes shorter red oat grass and taller bunchy Guinea grass and fine thatching grass. Common trees in the drier are red thorny acacias, desert dates, and to a lesser extent the drumstick trees. The iconic sausage trees and fan palms line the watercourses. 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 boasts over 86 mammal species including spotted hyenas, lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, Cape buffaloes, bat-eared foxes, Rothschild’s giraffes — as well as almost 500 bird species.

Karamanjogo and IK people

Discover the beautiful IK people on one side, which is a minor ethnic group that lives in mountains around Kidepo Valley National Park and boasts a population of about 1000 people. The IK people have for centuries adopted hunting and gathering as a way of life. Meeting the Karamojong on the other hand, who have for years, practised pastoralism – wandering from one place to another in search of fresh water and greener pastures is another exciting experience.


Kidepo Valley commands a population of over 470 bird species, which is the 2nd highest population any park in Uganda can ever have after Queen Elizabeth National Park. 60 birds on its list have not been recorded so far, not in any other park in Uganda. This is the perfect park to spot Raptors, Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Verreaux’s eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Pygmy Falcon and Karamoja Apalis.

Wildlife Experience

Kidepo Valley National Park is arguably the best place in Uganda to spot the rarest wild animals in the world. They include Guenther’s dik-dik, mountain reedbuck, greater and lesser kudu, cheetah, caracal, rare and localized patas monkey, the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe and other animal species including lions, large herds of buffaloes as well as of zebra.