Kidepo Valley National Park, one of Uganda’s wildest parks has come of age. Plans are underway by the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority in partnership with stake holders in the conservation and tourism fraternity to celebrate a golden jubilee for Kidepo. Kidepo is a Karamojong word meaning to pick from down.
The protected area recently won an international accolade from the CNN Travel site as the third best national park in Africa. This was attributed to the uniquely huge herds of wildlife and undisturbed spectacular sceneries, particularly the buffalos. It also boasts of cheetahs, ostriches and giraffes.
Located in the extreme North East of Uganda covering an area of 1442Km²,the park internationally boarders Sudan in the North West and Kenya in the North East with a strip of land of 5 Kilometers only.
During the time of colonization, colonial masters asked the local people about this beautiful land with diverse wildlife, the locals mentioned ‘Kidep’ which among the Karamajong means to ‘pick’ referring to the activity of picking Borasus palm fruits during the time of food crisis, which these people used as food.
Pronouncing the word ‘Kidep’ by colonialists was hard and so they added the ‘o’ to sound ‘Kidepo’. In 1958 it was gazetted as a game reserve. Later in 1962, when Uganda got its independence from the colonial rulers, the Queen of England gave it to Uganda government as a gift and it was gazzetted as National Park due to its diverse wildlife and avifauna.
According to the current Conservation Area Manager (CAM) Mr. Johnson Masereka, Kidepo’s popularity as a premier tourism destination is on the rise and visitors have recently increased from 2000 to 7000.