Kidepo with 1,442sq km is one of Uganda’s most spectacular national parks. Its scenery offers the uniqueness that no other East African park can offer. Tucked in the cradle formed by Uganda, Sudan and Kenya, the park harbors breathtaking savannah and a mountain terrain that end in a rugged horizon. The landscape is studded with tiny hills, rocky outcrops and inselbergs that stunning panoramic views to all directions. The huge altitudinal range and wide climatic conditions have created an extremely diverse flora hence giving rise to diverse fauna, some of which cannot be traced elsewhere in East Africa. Dry mountain forest dominates many of the hills, whereas areas along the Lorupei river support thick acacia geradi forest.
The park is famous for its outstanding birds of prey. 58 bird species are confirmed in this park, 14 of which are believed to be endemic to Kidepo and Karamoja area. They include Egyptian Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle and Pygmy Falcon. Whereas the red-billed, the yellow-billed and Jackson’s hornbills are confined to Kidepo, the giant Abyssinia Ground Hornbill is so common.
A visit to the splendid Kidepo Valley is highly rewarding. The valley is covered with borassus palm forest; its wide flat riverbed is dry throughout the year thus offering visitors an opportunity to enjoy a picnic on the sand with the sound of palm leaves in constant motion in the wind. Visitors can as well visit Kanangorok hot springs which are within 11 km from Kidepo river valley. The Narus Valley is located southwest of the park and in the western boundary is the Napore Nyangea mountain range and in the northeast is the Lakayot Hills. To the north in the Sudan are the Lotukei mountains and the Southern boundary is created by Morungole range.
The park accommodates a greater diversity of animal species than other parks in Uganda. Out of the 80 animal species registered in 1971, 28 were not known to exist in any other park in Uganda. Carnivores species unique to Kidepo and Karamoja region include the striped hyena, aardwolf, bat eared fox, caracal, hunting dog and cheetah. Rare ungulates include Chandlers Mountain reedbuck, lesser kudu, dikdik and klipslinger. Other large ungulates include burchell’s zebra, bush elephant, bushpig, warthog, Cape buffalo, Rothschild giraffe, defassa waterbuck, Jackson’s hartebeest, bohor reedbuck, bush duiker and oribi. There are 5 primates species in this park which include the kavirondo bush baby that is endemic to this park. Other carnivores in the park include lions, leopards, spotted hyena, side-striped jackal, black-backed jackals and several small cats. Kidepo national park can also boast of an extensive avifauna. 465 bird species have been registered (in 1995 two new species were added to the list) of which 112 were in 1972 not recorded anywhere in the Ugandan parks. The Kori bustard and the Ostrich are unique to this park.