Kidepo Valley National Park
Birding Kidepo Valley Uganda, a Game Bird Watching National Park
- Size: 1,442 sq km
- District: Kotido
- Altitude: 1,220–2,750 m
- Checklist: 480 bird Species
- Geographical location: North of the country, bordering Kenya and Sudan between the hills of Karamoja and Nagoya Valley.
- Best Visit Period: March-April for all the specials and many transit migrants, although good all year round.
- Physical features: The Park consists of shallow valley systems, with dry mountain terrain. In the South-west is the Narus Valley, bordered by the Napore range to the north-west, South of Kidepo Valley is the Morungola range, north is Mount Lotuke in Sudan.
- Vegetation: Montane forest, grassy plains, open tree savannah, thick miombo-like woodlands and the rocky outcrops.
Kidepo Valley National Park has 28 species from the Somali-Masai and Sudan–Guinea Savanna biomes. The species are endemic to this area in the country and with a record of 480 species in total, the park has the second-highest bird record of any Ugandan protected areas, after Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is also the only IBA located entirely within the Somali– Masai biome. It supports some of the rarest species in Uganda, such as Black-breasted Barbet and Karamoja Apalis.
The Apoka Rest Camp and Park Headquarters overlooking southern Narus Valley is a great spot to begin your birding experience. The attractive Silverbird and small bands of Yellow-billed Shrike, frequent the thorn trees around the camp as do a number of other widespread species such as the Vinaceous Dove, Hoopoe, Nubian Woodpecker, Mosque Swallow, the Ruppell’s and Superb Starlings, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Little Weaver and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu. A small permanent water hole at the edge of the camp attracts swallows and a variety of seedeaters including the Yellow-rumped Seedeater and is visited at night by the Four-banded Sandgrouse, Elephants, Buffaloes, and occasionally Lions. Clapperton’s Francolin, Black Coucal, African Moustached and the Broad-tailed Warblers, Marsh Tchagra and Crimson-rumped Waxbill may be seen in the rank grass along the normally dry stream bed adjacent to the camp or along the track to Apoka lodge.
The Common Ostrich, Secretary Bird, African Swallow-tailed Kite, Eastern Pale Chanting Goshawk, Pygmy Falcon, Fox Kestrel, Stone Partridge, Clapperton’s and Heuglin’s Francolins, Yellow-necked Spurfowl, Kori, White-bellied and Hartlaub’s Bustards, Violet-tipped Courser, Black-headed Plover, Four-banded Sand Grouse, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, White-crested Turaco, White-bellied Go-away bird, White-faced Scoops Owl, Long-tailed and Standard-winged Nightjars, Little Green Bee-eater, Abyssinian and Rufous-crowned Rollers, the Abyssinian Ground, Eastern Yellow and Jackson’s Hornbills, Red-fronted and Black-breasted Barbets, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Singing Bush lark, Red-winged Lark, Ethiopian Swallow, the Pied, Isabelline and Heuglin’s Wheaters, African Grey Flycatcher, Foxy and Red pate Cisticolas, Karamoja Apalis, White-bellied Tit, Mouse-coloured Penduline Tit, Northern White-crowned and Yellow-billed Shrikes, Slate-coloured Boubou, Fan-tailed Raven, Superb Starling, Red billed Oxpecker, Eastern Violet backed, Pygmy and Beautiful Sunbirds, Rufous and Chestnut Sparrow, Yellow-spotted Petronia, White-headed and White-billed Buffalo Weavers, White-browed and Chestnut- crowned Sparrow Weavers, Grey-capped Social and Speckle-fronted Weavers, the Green-winged, Orange-winged and Red-winged Pytilias, Black-bellied and Black-faded Waxbills, Steel-blue and Strawtailed Whydahs, and the Brown-rumped Bunting, are just a few of the 480 bird species the Park boosts of. You should not afford missing taking a look at these beautiful birds.
Kidepo’s mammal list of over 80 species includes 28 species not found in any other Ugandan National park. Amongst these are such charismatic African animals as Bat-eared Fox, Caracal, Cheetah, and Klipspringer. Unfortunately, Kidepo suffered the same fate as many other Ugandan parks during the 1970s and 1980S and is still recovering from years of poaching that left game herds depleted. Spotted Hyena, Lesser Kudu, Grant’s gazelle and Beisa Oryx have not been seen at all in recent times and were presumed to be locally extinct. Other large mammals have shown a remarkable recovery and there are now healthy populations of Elephant, Common Zebra, Buffalo, Bohor Reedbuck, Waterbuck, and Kongoni. Predators are plentiful and Spotted Hyena, Leopard and Lion are frequently seen. The Oribis are abundant in the Narus Valley, whilst the dry thorn thickets in the north are home to Guenther’s Dik-Dik. The Senegal Galago and Side-striped Jackal may be found in the rest camp at night and White-tailed Mongoose is common but more likely to be found on a night drive. The park also has a very rich and diverse reptile fauna.
The Karimojong people live around the area grazing and searching for water, grass for their animals to feed and the other people in the area are the Pokot.
Kidepo Valley National Park is accessible either by road or by air. The most commonly driven route from Kampala is via Gulu and Kitgum, a 12
CNN 2013, ranked Kidepo Valley National park 3rd best national park in Africa