- Ben Tinsley
Kidepo Valley National park in Uganda was recently voted in the top three national parks in the whole of Africa, so why on earth has nobody heard of it?
Well the simple answer is because it is so remote and hard to get to that it is rarely visited by tourists. To get to Kidepo you either have to take an 11-hour car journey from Uganda’s capital Kampala, or fly from Entebbe airport which can be quite expensive, especially because there needs to be a minimum of four travelers for the plane to take off, so if you are travelling in a small group then you often have to charter your own plane to fly on the dates that suit you.
So is it worth the long journey? Absolutely yes! I have traveled extensively throughout east African but I have never been anywhere quite like Kidepo. I have never felt so remote or in the wild as I have done in Kidepo, it truly is one of Africa’s last remaining wildernesses. Last time I was there I spent the whole day on game drives and didn’t see another human being outside of my safari vehicle. If you go to other national parks on more popular tourist routes then you can often find yourself surrounded by other safari vehicles. The opposite is true in Kidepo, you feel like you have the whole national park to yourself. And what an amazing place for just you to enjoy!
The scenery is breathe-taking, but the wildlife viewing is equally amazing. You have lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, leopards, ostriches, zebras, various antelope and impala species, the only place in the WORLD where you can see buffaloes in large herds numbering over 2000 and many, many more animal and bird species for you to enjoy.
The surrounding area is also home to two tribes, the Karamojong and the IK who still live largely traditional lives and it is a fantastic experience to visit their villages.
But Kidepo’s wildness might be about to change soon. There are plans to build an international airport near Kidepo, in the hope that it will offer a similar boost in tourism to what the Kilimanjaro airport did to the Serengeti in Tanzania. This is fantastic news for the local tourism industry, but not so fantastic for the intrepid travelers wishing to experience one of Africa’s last remaining wildernesses.
Kidepo truly is a hidden gem, and I implore you to visit whilst it is still wild, before it takes its rightful place as one of Africa’s most popular national parks.
Take a look at our Northern Ugandan Adventure safari to learn how to break up the long journeys and to integrate Kidepo into your safari.
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