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Kidepo Valley Budget Safari Tours

In the far northeast of Uganda, Kidepo Valley National Park is arguably the most remote safari destination in East Africa. It is also one of the most beautiful. Set below a range of craggy peaks bordering South Sudan, this underrated park protects an atmospheric tract of savannah carved by two perennial rivers and studded with giant boulder-strewn hills. Despite its remote location, Kidepo offers exceptional wildlife viewing, including four of the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo; no rhino), with large herds of buffalo especially prominent. Very few travelers make it up to this forgotten corner of Uganda. But it’s as affordable to visit as the country’s other top safari destinations and boasts a more untrammeled wilderness feel.

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1-20 of 40 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Kidepo Valley National Park

6 Questions About Kidepo Valley Budget Safaris

 
 

6 Questions About Kidepo Valley Budget Safaris

Answered by Philip Briggs

How many days are recommended for a budget Kidepo Valley National Park trip?

“Although some operators offer 3-day Kidepo Valley National Park budget safaris, we recommend at least 4 days for a drive-in trip that visits only the park, and 5 or more days for an itinerary that combines it with other destinations. The reason for this is that Kidepo lies more than 550km/340mi northeast of the capital Kampala (or nearby Entebbe International Airport) by road, and the drive takes more than 10 hours in either direction. In other words, a 3-day trip to Kidepo will involve 2 full days of driving, leaving only 1 day to explore the park. In our opinion, if your time is that limited, you’d be better to book a safari somewhere closer to Kampala or Entebbe, such as Murchison Falls or Queen Elizabeth National Parks.”

1

What wildlife can I expect to see on a budget safari to Kidepo Valley?

“Kidepo Valley is home to a varied range of savannah wildlife. On a budget safari, you can be almost certain of spotting elephant, buffalo, warthog, Rothschild’s giraffe, patas monkey and plains zebra. You are also likely to see a fair variety of antelope including Jackson’s hartebeest, oribi, bohor reedbuck and possibly eland. The carnivores most likely to be encountered are side-striped jackal, but lucky visitors might also see lion, leopard, cheetah and/or spotted hyena. Kidepo is home to several dry-country species that are otherwise absent from or uncommon in Uganda, including aardwolf, bat-eared fox, lesser kudu and Guenther’s dik-dik. The park also has an alluring checklist of more than 470 bird species, and it’s the only Ugandan stronghold for the likes of ostrich, secretary bird and rose-ringed parakeet.”

2

What other parks can I visit in combination with Kidepo Valley?

“The easiest park to visit in combination with Kidepo Valley is Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch. This small private reserve lies alongside the main road coming from Kampala and offers the thrill of tracking Uganda’s only rhinos on foot. On an itinerary of at least 5 days (but better 6 or 7 days), you should be able to combine Kidepo Valley and Ziwa with Murchison Falls, Uganda’s largest national park. Highlights of Murchison Falls include boat trips on a stretch of the Nile that teems with hippos, crocodiles and waterbirds, and chimp trekking in the neighboring Budongo Forest. Some longer safaris to Kidepo Valley include other attractions in eastern Uganda, such as the culturally fascinating Karamoja district, Sipi Falls on the slopes of Mt Elgon, and white-water rafting on the Nile near the city of Jinja (on the shore of Lake Victoria). Because Kidepo Valley lies in the far northeast of the country, it is very remote from busier and more popular southwestern parks such as Bwindi Impenetrable, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale National Parks. These two regions are usually only combined on safaris of 2 weeks or longer.”

3

What type of accommodations can I expect on cheap Kidepo Valley packages?

“Accommodations in this remote park are somewhat limited, so almost all budget tours stay at one of two relatively cheap places. The more established of these is the state-run Apoka Rest Camp, which has a prime location in the wildlife-rich Narus Valley. It offers simple hut accommodations and also has a budget restaurant-bar. The slightly smarter but less central Kidepo Savannah Lodge is a delightful old-school camp whose safari tents offer a wonderful view over the plains. Both places are very comfortable and ideally suited to budget safaris.”

4

What is the best time of the year for a budget Kidepo Valley safari?

“Because it lies in a semi-arid region, Kidepo Valley receives low rainfall even in the Wet season and can be visited at any time of year. The most productive time for wildlife viewing is usually the Dry season (September to March), when large animals tend to gather around permanent water sources. Climatically, there is a lot to be said for visiting Kidepo during the Wet season (April to August), when daytime temperatures are more comfortable and the countryside is attractively green. If you plan on gorilla or chimp trekking during your Uganda holiday, it is probably best to focus on seasonal factors that affect these activities, rather than Kidepo Valley, when deciding on the timing of your visit.”

5

How much will this safari cost?

“Expect to pay in the range of US$220 to US$300 per person per day for 4- or 5-day budget packages that focus solely on Kidepo Valley and sites en route. Daily rates for longer budget tours that continue on to Murchison Falls or elsewhere tend to be similar, but they may work out higher if a gorilla trekking permit is included. You can usually assume that the quoted price will cover all transport, accommodations, meals and park fees for the duration of the safari.”

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Kidepo Valley Reviews

4.5/5 28 Reviews
Expert
Mark Eveleigh  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mark is a travel writer who grew up in Africa and has written over 700 titles for Condé Nast Traveller, Travel Africa, BBC Wildlife and others.

Uganda’s Secret Northern Wilderness
5/5

With sprawling savannah and soaring mountains, Kidepo Valley National Park might be the most picturesque park in all of Africa. Sharing borders with South Sudan and Kenya’s Northern Frontier District, it is Uganda’s most remote and...

Full Review

Expert
Tim Bewer  –  
United States US

Tim is a travel writer who has covered 10 African countries for Lonely Planet's Africa, East Africa and West Africa guidebooks.

Blissfully Remote and Stunningly Gorgeous
4/5

My favorite park in Uganda, Kidepo is relatively difficult to reach (unless you fly) but absolutely worth the time and effort to get there. Ringed by mountains, this short-grass savannah-filled valley in the far northeast of the country is...

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Shawn  –  
Kenya KE
Reviewed: Oct 12, 2021
From vast mountains to dry savannahs
5/5

A natural beauty that I have visited numerous time, though remote it is extremely rewarding wildlife is excellent large buffaloes herds roam the savannah in the thousands and lions sit on rocks for an advantage over prey. my favorite...

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Nick Groocock  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Apr 3, 2020
5/5

My interest was the landscape of Kidepo Valley National Park, and walking through it, rather than viewing wildlife. This I was able to do in good company - Apoka driver, and probably so much more, James, and Kidepo Valley National Park...

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Daudi  –  
Uganda UG
Reviewed: Jan 30, 2020
True African wilderness natural park.
4/5

I visited the park during January 2020 together with six others for 2 nights. We traveled from the capital Kampala by road using a 4WD via Gulu,Kitgum and Kaabong a distance of about 550 kms. During the game drive, guided by a...

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Firdawus Nattabi  –  
China CN
Reviewed: Jan 30, 2020
it was indeed a massively great touring experience along side with nabhermu tours and travel comp.
5/5

the wildlife is so amazing,the weather was convenient for this tour.As for the touring Agency "Nab hermu tours and travel Company",it gave me the best experience than never before because of their hospitality upon their services,i must say...

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