Located in Uganda’s remote northeast, Kidepo is bordered by South Sudan to the west and to the east, Kenya. The park shares similar stunning landscapes and wildlife with its Kenyan counterparts, having rolling grass plains framed by distant hills and dotted with granite outcrops. The climate in Kidepo, very different from the rest of Uganda, is semi-arid with very light rainfall and frequent high temperatures throughout the year allowing year-round visits. The rainy season also differs from the rest of the country, starting in April and continuing to the end of August.
Kidepo’s wildlife is dominated by common plains animals: buffalo, giraffe, zebra, elephant and antelope, all stalked by healthy populations of lion, leopard and cheetah. Ornithological highlights include kori bustard, white-bellied go-away bird, Abyssinian roller, purple heron, Abyssinian ground hornbill, Clapperton’s francolin, Abyssinian scimitar bill, Jackson’s hornbill, African-pied hornbill, with around 460 other species to spot.
For many years, the park was off-limits to tourists and is now served by only one high end property, Apoka Safari Lodge, and a few mid-range lodges such as Kidepo Savannah Lodge. Therefore the park has a fraction of the tourists of its East African neighbour, with just a handful of safari vehicles heading out each day. It often feels as if one has the entire park to oneself (which is sometimes true in the off season). Frequently referred to as Uganda’s best kept secret, word is slowly getting out so it’s best to visit sooner rather than later.