6 Days Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls Wildlife Safari – Northern Uganda Adventure

On this safari trip you explore two of Uganda’s national parks that are remarkable for wildlife viewing. Both game parks, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley, are located in the northern region of Uganda where the landscape is generally flat and is covered by vast savanna grasslands supporting plenty of animals and birds.

Kidepo Valley National Park is Africa’s finest wilderness, rated the best on the continent for a spectacular landscape and great buffalo herds (CNN Travel 2013). It is tucked in the remote north eastern corner of Uganda, spanning the unadulterated ragged semi-arid valleys and savanna plains of the Karamoja province. The park supports plenty of wildlife including several animals and birds which are not found in other national parks, such as Cheetahs and Ostriches. Due to its distant and remote location, the park is not easily accessible within a one day’s drive.

After the incredible wilderness of Kidepo, next you explore Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda’s largest national park. It is the most popular destination for animal viewing safaris because of the big volume and variety of game and other wildlife, along with the spectacular Murchison Falls – the world’s strongest waterfall.

Trip Specifications

  • Group size: minimum 1 (one) traveler
  • Lodges selected for charm, surrounding wildlife and views, level of comfort, high standard of hospitality and easy reach to the activity spots
  • Professional driver/safari guide and a 4by4 safari van fitted with a pop-up for game viewing
  • Safari on full-board accommodation basis

Safari highlights

  • Rhino tracking at the Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife sanctuary
  • Afternoon and morning game drives in Kidepo
  • Visit to the local community of the Karamajong tribe in Kidepo
  • Game drive in Murchison falls national park
  • Boat cruise on River Nile in Murchison
  • Hike to the top of the falls

Itinerary:

Day 1: Kampala – Ziwa Rhino tracking – Gulu

The trip starts from Kampala City or Entebbe with pick-up from the hotel at 7.00am. Travel northwards along the Kampala – Gulu highway. You will you turn off to the Ziwa Rhino & Wildlife Sanctuary in Nakasongola for your first adventures. Situated about 2 hours drive from Kampala, Ziwa harbors the only wild Rhinos in Uganda. There were plenty of Rhinos in Uganda but rampant poaching and civil wars of the 1970’s and early 1980’s lead to their extinction. The Sanctuary was established to breed Rhinos that later will be re-introduced back into Uganda’s national parks where they once flourished. There is also other wildlife in Ziwa of which includes Oribi, Bushbuck, Uganda Kob, Hippos and Monkeys. Over 351 bird species have also been recorded. Ziwa’s habitat comprises of acacia woodland, savannah grasslands, thickets, swamps and large water ponds. Upon reaching Ziwa, transfer to the visitors’ reception center, meet the ranger and set off for a 2-hour trek to find the Rhinos and observe plenty of wildlife. Return and continue the journey northwards, getting to Gulu in the evening. Sleep over in Gulu.

Journey time: 8 hours

Meal plan: Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: The Boma Hotel Gulu

Day 2: Kitgum – Kidepo –afternoon game drive

Be up early for breakfast and continue the journey to Kidepo Valley National Park, arriving in the afternoon. Check in at the lodge, have lunch and relax. Later set out for an afternoon game drive in the unadulterated wilderness of Kidepo, visiting the Narus Valley located in the south of the park. This is the main game viewing area in the park mainly because of the permanent water source even during the long dry spells when the rest of the park dries out. A number of animals congregate in this area during the day to drink and cool off the. Zebras, Elephants, Antelopes and large herds of Buffaloes are a common sight. Return in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Journey time: 5 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation

Luxury: Apoka Safari Lodge

Mid-range: Nga’ Moru Wilderness Camp

Budget: Apoka Rest Camp

Day 3: Morning game drive – afternoon community tour

kidepo-national-parkYou should be up by the first light, have a quick snack with coffee/tea and set off for a morning game drive in the park. Enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the rugged horizon and savanna/acacia grasslands and observe plenty of animals when you drive through the two main biomes of Kidepo – from the savanna/acacia grasslands of the Narus Valley in the south, to the semi-arid short grass of Kidepo Valley in the north near the border with South Sudan. Kidepo is very popular for cats, some of which cannot be found in any other parks in Uganda, such as the Cheetah, Stripped Hyena, Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, and Caracal. Others game include Lions, Leopards, Zebra, Giraffe, Kob, Topi, Waterbuck, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Oribi, and Warthog. The Ostrich is one of the conspicuous birds here and which you cannot find in any other park in Uganda. Not to be missed is the famous sand river and the Kanangorok hot springs both found in the Kidepo Valley, north of the park. Return to the lodge for a heavy breakfast, and rest till lunch. After lunch you will visit a local community of the Karamajong tribe who are very similar to the famous Masai of Kenya. Learn about their traditions and cultures, unique housing, ornaments, and crafts. You shall also be treated to a traditional dance presentation. Return in the evening for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Kidepo – Murchison Falls National Park

Have early breakfast, check out and leave for Murchison Falls National Park. You shall stopover in Kitgum or Gulu town for early lunch. Arrive in Murchison in the late afternoon, relax for the rest day of the day at the lodge.

Journey time: 7 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation:

Luxury: Paraa Safari Lodge

Moderate: Fort Murchison Lodge (cottages)

Budget: Fort Murchison Lodge (tents)

Day 5: Game Drive – afternoon boat safari – Murchison Falls hike

Be up for an early snack/tea/coffee at 6.00am and set off for a morning game drive in the park to observe plenty of animals, birds and the wonderful scenery. Explore the vast grasslands in the northern area of the park where you shall be exposed to a large volume and variety of game. lion murchison falls ugandaSightings include Buffaloes, Lions, Uganda Kob, Giraffes, Jackson’s Hartebeest, Oribi, Hyena, Leopard, Baboons, Patas Monkeys and more. Birds are in plenty with the beautiful Carmine Bee-eater and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill being conspicuous throughout the game drive. The game drive lasts 4 hours, return to the lodge for breakfast and rest till lunch. After lunch, transfer to Paraa for a Boat cruise on the Nile to the base of the Murchison Falls. A relaxing ride of about 2 hours, you get to observe plenty of life along the Nile including Hippos, Crocodiles, Elephants, and other game that come to drink and cool off in the water. Water birds are abundant including cormorants, kingfishers, herons, fish eagle, bee-eaters and more. When the boat gets to the base of the spectacular Murchison Falls, disembark and do a 45 minutes hike on a trail from the bottom to the top of the falls. Enjoy the amazing views of the world’s strongest waterfall where the Nile squeezes through a tiny cleft of 7 meters between the rocks to explode into the whirlpool below before the river continues on a calm course filled with plenty of wildlife as you should observed during the boat trip. Meet the driver at the top and transfer back to the lodge.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Murchison – Kampala

After breakfast, check out and leave for Kampala, stopping over at the Kabarega Diners in Nakasongola for lunch.

Journey time: 6 – 7 hours

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch

Tour includes

  • Transport in 4WD safari van with pop-up roof
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Accommodation and meals as mentioned in the tour description
  • Bottled water
  • All activities included on the itinerary
  • Taxes and park fees

Tour excludes

  • Visa fees
  • Air fairs
  • Luxury drinks
  • Tips and porterage
  • Travel insurance
  • Laundry and other personal expenditure

What to bring

  • Insect repellant
  • Closed shoes for the hikes
  • Light clothing
  • Cap/hut and sunglasses/shades
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