Kidepo National Park: Lush landscapes offer ‘the best of Uganda’
Buffaloes are among the many mammals that populate the park.
“The herd can reach over 1,000,” notes Phillip Akorongimoe, a guide at Kidepo Valley National Park. He adds that in the valley as a whole, that number can swell to 10,000.
Uganda Wildlife Authority
Kidepo National Park, Uganda (CNN) — There’s a reason Uganda is known as the Pearl of Africa. It’s been a top tourist destination for a few years now because of its stunning scenery and wildlife.
One of its best treasures, however, remains hidden.
Off the beaten track, Kidepo National Park is nestled among the rugged hills and valleys of northern Uganda. It’s a place so hidden away its beauty has mostly gone unnoticed — until now.
Home to a legendary tribe
CNN’s Inside Africa travels to the remote regions of the Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda to meet the tribes who live there.
Kidepo National Park is home to one the smallest ethnic groups in Africa, a people called the Ik. According to folklore, the Ik have wandered through much of East Africa, and came from Ethiopia hundreds of years ago.
Praying to ancient gods, the Ik believe they will one day have to move on from Kidepo Valley. But they are fighting to preserve their unique culture and language, which no rival tribes understand.
Terrill Schrock is a linguist working with three generations of Ik to uncover the secrets of the Ik language. He’s found evidence linking them to cultures as far away as southern Egypt.
“It’s like a museum,” he says. “It’s a storehouse of historical information, cultural information, ecological information. When a language like that dies, you could liken it to a library burning down. Losing a window to the past that will never be recovered in the future.”
CNN’s Inside Africa finds out how water at the heart of the Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda helps nourish the wildlife.
The heart of Kidepo National Park, Naru’s permanent wetland, has a troubled past. Tribal warfare in the 1980’s and 90’s drove away wildlife populations, but the area is now bouncing back as animals begin to thrive once again.
The 540-square-mile park contains diverse landscape, from lush mountain ranges to vast plains, and is home to almost 500 bird species and 77 different mammals. Roam the savannahs, and you’d likely see an impressive collection of fauna including ostriches, hartebeest and giraffes.
Chief Warden Johnson Masereka says: “This uniqueness, you may not find all these species in a single park, at some time. This to me is the best of Uganda.”
CNN’s Inside Africa visits the sand rivers of the Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda where water can cause flash riverbeds.
In a hidden pocket of the park, a small collection of pools bubble away with the heat of an ancient volcano. These are The Kanangorok Hot Springs, an unexpected attraction just a short walk away from the international border between Uganda and South Sudan.
Further south, the flat Kidepo Valley is dramatically shaped by the river that runs through it. During heavy rains, the river flash floods and flows through the park into South Sudan. Hours later, it disappears, leaving a river of sand as wide as 165 feet in some parts.
“You find that underground the sand there is still water. This can be dug out by some animals, (like) baboons and elephants,” says park guide Phillip Akorongimoe.
“There is plenty of water… and that is why there are more animals in Kidepo Valley.”
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Ngoni Safaris Uganda
Justo Nov 18, 2019
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!
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Shakira Dec 14, 2018
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Winnie Dec 19, 2018
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!
Ritah Jan 2, 2019
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!
Pilot May 28, 2019
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