Unlike many national parks throughout the continent, Kidepo Valley National Park is more suited for seasoned travelers since it isn’t as easy to navigate your way through by car (or even get to by car) (unless you hire a skilled guide who knows his/her way around). Despite the rougher terrain, what you’ll find at this astonishing park is well worth the visit. The park is a 557 square mile-long strip of land in the northeastern part of Uganda. Get ready to be amazed by one of Uganda’s best kept secrets, here’s what to expect at Kidepo Valley National Park.
They’re not your average zebras you’d find at most parks galloping in the wild with their manes flowing in the wind. The Plains Zebras are recognized for their maneless features and they have the darkest coloring you’ll find in any zebra species (some have hints of brown while the Plains Zebras’ stripes are thicker and jet black).
Tree Climbing Lions
These lions have a unique talent for climbing trees (something you won’t find in other parks except for Queen Elizabeth National Park). The majestic giants have adapted this odd ability to climb up branches much like their puma cousins. So when exploring the park, inspect the trees and you may find a surprise.
It’s not exactly in the park but right outside of the park is a village occupied by the Karamojong people. They are traditionally livestock herders and live in huts. It’s believed they are descendants from an Ethiopian group that migrated to the area in the 1600s and have resided there ever since.
Incredible mountain ranges
While enjoying the animals on your safari trip, you’ll appreciate the mesmerizing backdrop of the Mount Morungole region where mountains can reach as high as 2,000 meters. Of course, this means you’ll have fantastic opportunities for landscape photos.
475 species of birds
Birders, this is your oasis. There’s an estimated 475 species of birds found throughout Kidepo Valley National Park, making this a haven to spot some incredible birds. There are appropriately 58 birds that are endemic to the park, so you will not find some in other parts of the country (or the world).
Yes, this is what sausage trees (Kigelia) look like and no, you didn’t accidentally find yourself looking up in an Italian butcher shop in Brooklyn. The sausage-like fruit is poisonous to humans but is a delicacy to the animals of the park including giraffes, baboons and elephants.
More than 86 mammals are found here
The list of animals you’ll find in this park is incredible and very diverse. Here, you’ll find everything from monolithic mammals like elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, Cape buffaloes to small, lesser known mammals like the aardwolves, bush pigs, bat-eared foxes, jackals, duikers and more.
Big and thick bugs
The birds and mammals aren’t the only living things that’ll make your jaw drop when you see them. Kidepo Valley National Park is home to some incredible looking bugs such as the Big Weta bug (pictured above) that can eat carrots. So don’t get startled if you find one climbing up a leaf, they’re an important contributor to the ecosystem of the park.
Driving isn’t the only way to explore the park. Did you know that there’s a designated walking area (with a guide of course) to explore the land on foot? Or, take the aircraft tour to get a bird’s eye view of the park and watch miniature-sized lions and zebras from above.
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Why You Should Visit Jinja, Uganda