Kidepo Valley

Kidepo is a really remote park in north-east Uganda, bordering both Sudan and Kenya. It is outstandingly beautiful, with rock outcrops, palm fringed watercourses and open grassland dotted with ‘sausage trees’, all with a backdrop of rugged mountains. It is like a mixture of the Serengeti in Tanzania and Samburu in Kenya and definitely has a special feel about it.

Kidepo has had a difficult history since it has at times been on the front-line with warring tribes from the Sudan. However, it has had a succession of inspired wardens who have created miracles with limited resources. The first warden in the 1960s was Ian Ross who set up a road system and started an ecological monitoring programme. Iain Douglas-Hamilton (of Kenya elephant fame) was here in the 1970s fighting against the ivory poachers from the north.

Through all the bad times the local staff managed to protect wildlife at least around the headquarters and, once peace was restored in the late 1980s, a lot of effort has gone into improving security, upgrading infrastructure, and reintroducing wildlife.

Consequently there are good numbers of plains game (including some typical Kenyan species that cannot be seen anywhere else in Uganda) around the lodge and headquarters, and big herds of elephant and buffalo. In the more distant areas, including the Kidepo sand river, densities are much lower, as wildlife populations are still recovering from the years of poaching.  So don't come expecting the Big 5 round every corner but if you love wild places and great landscapes, it is definitely worth beating a path up to Kidepo.



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