6 Days Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls Wildlife Safari

On this 6 day Kidepo and Murchison Falls 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 Itinerary:

Day 1: Travel from Kampala to Kidepo Valley National Park via Gulu highway

You will have an early start leaving at 6am as you will have a full day of driving from Kampala to Kidepo Valley National Park. The drive is about 10 to 11 hours but will include stops along the way for lunch and stretch.

Accommodation: Kidepo Savannah Lodge

Day 2: Full day safari in Kidepo National Park

You should be up by the first light, have quick breakfast and set off for a beautiful safari adventure in the Kidepo’s incredible wilderness. 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 National Park 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. If it is a dry day, you shall have picnic lunch at the dry sand river in Kidepo, one of the most beautiful experiences you can have on safari.

You will return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 3: Morning safari in Kidepo National Park and afternoon Karimojong community tour

kidepo-national-park

Today you shall return to Kidepo Valley National Park early in the morning for an another safari experience. You shall explore more game tracks on a game drive to see more animals and enjoy the beautiful landscape. Alternatively you can go for the walking safari where you are led by a park range on walk to watch animals up close as you take in the beautiful wilderness.

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: From Kidepo National Park to 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.

Accommodation: Fort Murchison Lodge

Day 5: Morning game drive and afternoon boat safari on the Nile with 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 and birds and the enjoy beautiful savanna 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 uganda

Sightings 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: Transfer back to Kampala with optional Rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

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

Optional activity: Rhino tracking in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Along the way back to Kampala you can stop over at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary for a 1 hour rhino tracking adventure. The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary has the only rhinos in the wild in Uganda. You will be led by a ranger to walk and find the rhinos. The Rhino tracking gives you the chance to complete the list of the famous “Big Five” if you will have seen all the other four members (Buffalo, Elephant, Lion, Leopard) during the Kidepo and Murchison Falls safaris.

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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