The place on our hot list this month, find out why!
CEO and Opulent Africa founder John Harvey travelled to Kidepo in August of this year, here is how his trip went.
Kidepo National Park, August 2018
Last month, I travelled to Uganda with my father and was fortunate enough to visit the remote Kidepo Valley located in the far north eastern corner of the country, right up on the border with South Sudan. Gazetted as a National Park in 1962, Kidepo covers an area of just under 560 square miles and is an absolute haven for all manner of wildlife, big and small. A true (hidden) gem of a place!
Arriving off a late flight, we had a very brief overnight in Entebbe at the newly opened Number 5 Hotel, before heading to Kijjansi Airport early the following morning. We flew north by light aircraft charter, initially along the course of the Nile before heading across open savanna and landing at Kidepo mid-morning. On the flight in, we spotted large herds of buffalo, elephant and various antelope… game viewing was looking promising!
We were staying at the only luxury lodge in the National Park, Apoka Safari Lodge, which commands a magnificent hill top position with seemingly endless views across the open savanna towards the Morungule Mountains. But don’t be mistaken, this is not just a place to relax and unwind, it really is a top-level safari destination and up to now, one that is relatively undiscovered and seldom visited.
Apoka Safari Lodge has just 10 large canvas and thatch cottage, scattered down the small hillside of which it sits, each with private verandas from where you can easily count dozens of water-buck, a handful of jackal and a couple of grumpy looking buffalo, all of which seem to be permanent fixtures.
The lodge has one of the best-looking swimming pools in Africa, apparently hewn into the bedrock, this is most definitely a pool with a view! The management couple, Corrie and Bianca are super friendly and made us feel right at home from the moment we arrived. In fact, the entire team at Apoka Safari Lodge extended us the most incredible hospitality throughout our stay and nothing was too much trouble.
We were visiting the park in late August / early September and were absolutely blown away, not just by the sheer beauty of the area but the numbers of animals, particularly buffalo which literally roam the open savanna in their thousands. Naturally, such a high density of prime beef attracts a good following of predators and the lion population in Kidepo is very healthy.
We also had good sightings of elephant, giraffe, zebra, jackal and a variety of antelope. Kidepo is the only National Park in Uganda where cheetah are still found, although very hard to see. Leopard are also well represented and can often be seen draped over the low branches of a sausage tree, along the water courses. A day trip to the much drier northern section of the park is highly recommended and our visit led us to find good numbers of ostriches in our search for the elusive cheetah, which remained just that…. elusive!
We highly recommend combining Kidepo with a visit to Bwindi for gorilla trekking, as we did on this trip (but more of that another time!). These two areas are best connected by light aircraft as the distances by road are significant. Our 7 Day Wildlife & Gorilla itinerary is perfect for those looking for something a little different and well off the beaten track.
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If Kidepo or Uganda in general has taken your fancy take a look at this personalised itinerary specifically designed to suit this amazing place. You can trek gorillas – nature’s beautiful gentle giants and take a trip to Kidepo National Park to see antelope, lions, birds and elephants. From only $7,225pp you can experience this amazing trip, one to definitely tick off on the bucket list!