Kidepo Valley National Park

Kidepo Valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometres (557 sq mi) national park in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the 2,750 metres (9,020 ft) Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers.

Location

Kidepo Valley National Park is located near Karenga in Kaabong District, in the northeastern corner of Uganda. The park is approximately 220 kilometres (140 mi), by road northwest of Moroto, the largest town in the sub-region. It is approximately 520 kilometres (320 mi), by road, northeast of Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city.[1]

The northwestern boundary of the park runs along the international frontier with Bira, South Sudan and abuts against its Kidepo Game Reserve.

Geology

The park consists of the two major valley systems of the Kidepo and Narus Rivers. The valley floors lie between 3,000 feet (910 m) and 4,000 feet (1,200 m) AMSL.[7]

Kanangorok (also spelled Kananorok or Kanatarok) is a tepid hot spring in the extreme north of the park, in Lotukei, South Sudanese boundary. This spring is the most permanent source of water in the park.

The soil in the park is clayey. In the Kidepo Valley, black chalky clay and sandy-clay loam predominate, while the Narus Valley has freer-draining red clays and loams.[2]

Wildlife

Maneless zebras, a form of the plains zebra

Most of the park is open tree Savannah. Because of differences in rainfall — with annual averages of 89 centimeters (35 in) in Narus and 64 centimeters (25 in) in the Kidepo basin — vegetation and animal populations vary between the two valleys.[8]

Narus Valley

Narus is a name given by the Ketebo or Mening or Amening Clan which were the people living in the Valley.[2] Primary grasses in the Narus Valley are the shorter red oat grass and taller bunchy Guinea grass and fine thatching grass.[7] Common trees in the drier areas are red thorn acacias, desert dates, and to a lesser extent drumstick trees. The iconic sausage trees and fan palms line the water courses.[7] Euphorbia candelabrum and the shorter monkey bread (or camel’s foot) and Buffalo thorn trees are also found.[8]
Perennial water makes River Kidepo an oasis in the semi-desert which hosts over 86 mammal species including spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, elephant, giraffe, zebra, African buffalo, bat-eared foxes, Rothschild’s giraffe — as well as almost 500 bird species.[9]

Kidepo Valley

Streams in the Kidepo Valley are likewise dotted with palms. Higher areas have whistling thorn acacias bush.

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