Kidepo Valley national park

Discovering the Best of Kidepo Valley

I’ve always dreamt of visiting the magnificent & remote Kidepo Valley National park in Northern Uganda and 2020 gave me the chance to tick it off my bucket list. We planned for our 4 days/3nights trip as soon as the Lockdown in Kampala was eased and none of us knew there would be an opportunity to travel again amidst the pandemic. We went on and booked for our accommodation, transportation and did inquiries from Uganda Wildlife Authority about the SOP’s for our national parks. We made sure that all guidelines set aside by the Ministry of Health officials were followed.

So the day of our trip arrived and I had to meet my colleagues at our pickup point on Kampala road. We set off at about 8:30 am en-route to Gulu via Bombo road. The journey all through was comfortable, thanks to the luxurious and spacious 4×4 land cruisers from Primate World Safaris (a local tour operator in Uganda). I sat in the co-drivers’ seat with Jackson who was our driver and also the owner of the car hire company.

We moved for about 3 hours before reaching the Karuma falls (which actually connects the south to northern Uganda) and saw baboons by the road side. Unfortunately photography is not allowed at this point on the falls due to past events. We drove for another 2 hours before reaching Gulu town for a stop-over and had lunch at a local restaurant.

Our itinerary included a visit to the Aruu falls, so in the afternoon we drove north for about 40 km towards the falls. Our imagination was in awe after arriving at the Aruu falls campsite, as the water flows down majestically to the rocks located at the bottom. The falls are located on River Agago which later connects to river Achwa in Pader district northern Uganda. We were led by a local guide to visit the bottom of the falls which gives amazing opportunities to capture photos. Thereafter, we continued the rest of the journey towards Kitgum town, which was an hours’ drive from the campsite.

On reaching Kitgum town, we checked in at Pleasant View Hotel for the night. For our dinner, the hotel restaurant served us with ‘Malakwang’ – greens mixed with g.nut /peanut paste, a popular local dish in Kitgum.

On the second day of our trip, we left for Kidepo National Park from Kitgum town – about a 3 hrs drive on the non-tarmac road. We drove through villages and beautiful homesteads of the Karamajong – also known as Manyattas. Our luck in visiting one of the Karamajong homesteads was not successful due to health reasons caused by COVID19 pandemic.

We passed through valleys, hilly rocks, muddy roads (due to the rainy season) and beautiful Savannah landscapes. The Mt. Moroto could be seen from a distance but we could not get close, later reached the park entrance and drove for another 30 to 40 minutes to Apoka. As we drove within the park, we had opportunities of seeing the beautiful scenery in the park, birds and wildlife like Buffaloes, Zebras and Hartebeest. We later reached Apoka, and planned to spend the night here since it’s within the park and that was going to give us a good chance for an early morning game drive. We had lunch at Apoka, before embarking on an afternoon game drive in the park. There is usually some rain at this time of the day so we expected the roads to be muddy, so a good 4×4 wheel car is better while visiting this park.

On our game drive, we searched for Lions, Elephants and other wildlife however there were a few chances except for the Buffalo, Zebras and Kobs. We enjoyed the scenery across the Kidepo Valley for about 2 hours and on our return to Apoka, we had a detour – ended up getting stuck on one of the muddy roads (game tracks). Thanks to the 4×4 wheel cars but I bet we’d have spent the night here.

We returned to Apoka in the evening for dinner, I and my colleagues set out a camping place near the ‘Camp fire’ where we spent the night while others chose to stay in the rooms.

As early as 5 am, Lions could be heard roaring in a distance from our tent and that was a bit scary but adventurous. Later at 6:30 am we went out for the early morning game drive in the park, to catch a glimpse of the best wildlife action Kidepo could offer. We saw birds including the secretary bird, Verreaux’s eagle and many more while Zebras, Kobs, Warthogs, Buffaloes were among some of the wildlife. Still we were not able to catch a glimpse of the Lions but I knew our time would come and we see the Lion King! So after we returned back to Apoka for breakfast, we were served rolex, bread and tea by the chef.

At around midday we left Apoka, moving towards the park entrance. This was the moment we realized that there is a Lion resting on top of one of the rocks. The excitement was real, we stopped a bit and branched off towards the rocks. The king of the jungle was seen resting on top the rocks overlooking the Kidepo Valley – a tactic they use to know their next target. After we drove towards the park entrance while exiting Kidepo, passing through valleys & hills for about 3 hours to Kitgum town.

On reaching Kitgum, we had a stop-over for lunch at a local restaurant before hitting the road again to Gulu where we spent the night. There was heavy rain in the evening hours so we couldn’t set out a camp fire. On our last day (Day four), we drove south towards Kampala via the Gulu highway reaching Kampala around 6 pm.

@kwitonderr Finally visited Kidepo N.P in Uganda. This is off my bucketlist. #Travel #Wildlife #TiktokUganda #fypage #Uganda #visitUganda ♬ Lenu (Remix) – BNXN fka Buju & Burna Boy

For someone that enjoys travelling, I had never visited a place that felt like a different world with a lot to discover and see. Kidepo Valley National Park is indeed a natural wonder. Grateful to the colleagues at Berners Leegue for organizing this 4 days Safari to Kidepo and Primate World Safaris for the 4×4 Safari Vehicles.

Want to come along with us on our next trip? Drop us an email (

I mentioned about the best places to visit after lockdown in Uganda and Kidepo Valley was among, more here. 

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