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Example trip: Kidepo Valley

Uganda Parc Kidepo Valley“True African Wilderness”, that is the slogan for this national park, and rightfully so. In 2013, the park was nominated for Africa’s leading National Park by World Travel Awards.

"The ground shakes, there is dust cloud in the distance. Hundreds of buffalos walk on the vast Savannah and come to a stop at a small river. A group of elephants watches this herd while chewing on the fruits of a sausage tree, which sometimes make them drunk. The space is overwhelming, yellow-green vegetation, hills and vast valleys surrounded by the Morungole Mountains and scattered acacia trees. Pure and untouched. Where lions are sometimes hard to spot, but suddenly can surprise you, by the road side, seeking shelter from the rain."

 

Kidepo Valley Uganda
Hartebeests

Rionomde Rocks wandeling of Namamkwey river walk

This example tour is a combination of nature walks, game drives and pieces of culture: the local tribes of the Karomojong and the Ik people.

This walk starts after a short game drive of about twenty minutes from Apoka base camp to the rionomde Rocks. This route runs over the rocks with on the one side a splendid view on the vast savannahs of the Narus Valley and on the other green vegetation surrounded by the Nangeya Mountains. At the foot of the rocks, that are about 7 to 10 kilometres long, there is a small river where the wild animals come to drink. There are many 'generals' in this area, single male buffalos that have lost the battle for leadership and were driven out of their herd. Sometimes they gather in small groups with their peers. They have a reputation for being moody and unpredictable and can charge unexpectedly. Here it is safe, because walkers are accompanied by a ranger with  a gun. The weapon is primarily used to scare the animals by firing in the air. Judging by the foot rpints,  one can see that lions, antelopes, zebras and elephants roam nearby. There is a fair chance to spot these animals. But the main attraction here may be the stunning view and the variation in the landscape with colours, vegetation, trees, hills and mountains. The ranger can explain a lot about the medicinal impact of herbs and flowers. Duration: 2 to 4 hours; difficulty: average, good physical condition required, but not very steep. Bring along good walking boots and a rain coat.

 

Apoka Lodge Uganda
Apoka Lodge: swimming pool with view

Walk to the Ik People – Morungule Mountains

This walk starts from Morongote Village. It will take at least 3,5 to 4 hours to the villages of the Ik-tribe (pronounce: eek). These mountain people live from hunting and farming, and the live on and around the Morungule Mountains. The first part of the walk is even, but later it becomes steeper. The vegetation is maze fields, later bamboo. As the altitude increases, the scenery changes into rocks covered in green. There not may trees, which on clear days offers a very beautiful view.  The people live high in the mountains. The friendly tribe is shy but curious. They are barely used to Western visitors. The villages are traditional in construction, with strong bamboo huts surrounded by a fence for safety. In the Ik village the women wear traditional ornaments. difficulty: average to good condition required. Duration: 6.5 hours (tracking 1) till 12.5 hours to the top (2750 m). Of course, the speed depends on the walker. The way back may be faster because it descends.

Kidepo Karamojon Village
Ik village

Karomojong village

In the village there are 45 - 50 bandas. The houses are traditional and so is the culture of the people. But they wear mainly Western cloths. The village lies on a beautiful location, on  ahill side between the mountains. It is possible that the people will perform dances for the visitors. They like to show their traditions and customs. Also here there are very few tourists.

Game drives will reveal the different faces of this vast national park which contains  the Narus Valley, the Kidepo Valley  and the Kidepo River. There is more water around Kidepo. For more information look here.

 

Ik Woman
Ik-woman

Worked out example tour

DAY 1

  • Rionomde Rocks walk (3 to 4 uur)
  • Lunch at Apoka lodge or on the way in the park
  • game drive in Narus Valley

DAY 2

  • Mountain hike to the Ik-people

DAY 3

  • Nagulhopine walking safari; the best spot to observe the Rothschild giraffes, from Amobwas Koppie (rocks)
  • Visit to Karomojong village – Naoyagum;  make acquintance with the Karomojong, who live in a traditional way

DAY 4

  • Game drive towards the Kidepo River, and an extended walk there
  • Lunch on the way
  • Game Drive Kidepo Valley (towards river bed), with sundowner; visit to the hot springs and searching for the ostriches.

Note:This trip can be well combined with the parks: Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, Kibale or Mount Elgon. Or with the Kampala culture and fair trade tour.  Or as the starting point for a longer journey (three weeks).

Optional: For the true fans it is possible to go to more remote areas, on request, in search of the Karomojong who still live fully according to their traditions and in their traditional attire.  This is on a two-days drive toward the Kenyan border.

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