When I absolutely, positively have to get away from it all, the Kidepo Valley is my first Uganda safari port of call. It’s one of two valleys protected by this most remote of national parks, and I love its changing moods. This region undergoes dramatic changes several times each year, all driven by the availability or otherwise of rainwater.
The perception that the Kidepo and its sister valley, the Narus, are hard to reach keeps the idly curious away and means that this wilderness region is given over to more dedicated safari-goers, and, of course, the Karamojong people who herd their hardy cattle here (and whose prospective marriage partners must wrestle for the right to wed)!.
Going on safari, whether a game drive or a walking safari, will reveal a profusion of big-game species and some of the park’s many hundreds of bird species.
Classic safari experiences – such as picnics, bush breakfasts or my personal favourite, sundowners – seem to take on an added piquancy on the banks of a dried-up river – it’s hard not to notice the juxtaposition of a cool G&T and a dusty valley.
Mount Morungole and Mount Zulia stand guard over the twin river valleys and protect the secrets of this rugged swathe of savannah, while the initiated stake out the seasonal oases left behind by the Narus River and the thirsty creatures that frequent them. Aquatic refreshment of a different kind – and temperature – is available at the healing Kanangorok Hot Springs in the north of the park.