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Kidepo National Park

Kidepo National Park

Lying right in the far northeast separated by the arid Karamoja region from the rest of Uganda, Kidepo National Park is scarcely visited for anyone except permanent residents of Uganda and expatriates living locally. This is fortunate (!) as we feel it's the most enthralling park with its protective circle of jagged mountains hiding the super bowl of great grassy plains interspersed with montane forest, riparian woodland, thick miombo woodland, borassus palms and rocky kopjes, and the less people the better!

There are a total of 86 mammals in the park and this includes 26 species found nowhere else in Uganda. 463 species of birds with 26 unconfirmed species – second only to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Predators include black-back jackal, African hunting dog, bat-eared fox, striped hyena, aardwolf, cheetah and caracal which are not found in any other Ugandan park. There is a wide range of species found throughout Uganda including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, giraffe (on the verge of local extinction), and 17 species of antelope.

Of the birds, localised specials are 56 different raptors and the Somali ostrich, Abyssinian roller, Abyssinian scimitarbill, Karamoja apalis, rufous chatterer and the kori bustards who are seen frequently around the park.

There is only one lodge providing accommodation for up to 16 people in the park and although there are two campsites, it is generally thought to be unsafe to self-drive into this area. Most clients arrive on a private charter flight from Entebbe and depart the same way or flying on to Semliki Reserve on the western Uganda border near Lake Albert.

The lodge is very comfortable and excellent photographs can be taken right from the verandah’s in front of the bedroom chalets where there are plenty of resident animals – buffalo, warthog, Defassa waterbuck and Ugandan kob.

The Karamoja are the local tribe and are looked down on by most westernised Ugandans because of their skimpy traditional clothing and love of pastoral farming. The Karamoja are as obsessed with cattle as the Masai and most cross border skirmishes are initiated by cattle raiding forays.

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