KARENGA – As one of the most pristine national parks in East Africa, Kidepo national park is finally taking its place among the most attractive tourism sites with new investors looking to offer services to cash in on the financial prospects.
Kidepo Valley national park has recorded improved revenue collection over the past six months by over 309m, cementing its position as one of the most sought-after tourist sites in Uganda.
Mr Stephen Nyadru, the tourism warden, Kidepo valley National Park has collected UGX1,604,932,174 in the financial year 2018/19 up from UGX 1,295,867,511 in the 2017/18 FY.
We are now talking about a billion revenue maker after rising from as low as Shs 600m in 2014/15 FY and the park has continued to ride the tide of positive reviews from tourists across the world,” said Mr Nyadru.
Mr Nyadru said despite the accommodation question like for many other parks continuing to overshadow the full potential of this pristine destination, Kidepo Valley National Park registered significant growth in visitor bookings uplifting the park’s revenues for 2018/19 FY.
The park’s area conservation manager, Mr Johnson Masereka, said they are getting more visitors and revenue that is benefiting Uganda’s economy.
“Kidepo is not what it was five years ago nor a year ago, it keeps changing from year to year for example in the past where we could hardly get 100 tourists a year today the visitors’ population has more than doubled and the park’s revenue has improved drastically,” said Mr Masereka.
Kidepo Valley National Park suffers from poaching, cattle rustling, tribal rivalry and cross border [especially from Southern Sudan] raids and poaching, which cripple the park’s operations at times.
Mr Masereka said as they hold activities to mark the park’s 50th anniversary, they need to engage in aggressive marketing to bring in more visitors.
He explained further that ever since Kidepo Valley National Park was voted the third best tourist attraction on the African continent by CNN Travel in 2013, the national park has become one of the most sought after attractions in Uganda.
“In the next two years we expect to triple the number of visitors to about 20,000 in a year and this will also triple the revenue from the park,” said the area conservation manager, Mr Masereka, while talking to PML Daily at Kidepo Valley national park.
Mr Denis Odongo, a ranger, said Kidepo valley National Park has a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else in Africa and the World over.
“The Kidepo setting is the closest you can get to nature in a raw form. There is something to interest everyone. The packages offer a nature walk, 460 birds, wild animals, traditional dances, butterflies and interesting communities,” he said.
Attractions in Kidepo National Park
Kidepo Valley National park is located in the northeastern side of Uganda, it is a tapestry of rugged scenery, vibrant wildlife, Karamojong Warrior Herdsmen, and the Ik people on remote Mount Morungole.
And if you love the African Wilderness, Kidepo Valley National park is for you and a must for you to do and see, it is one of those out of the ordinary places in East Africa.
The game drives at Kidepo Valley national park will treat you to a wide variety of attractions ranging from giraffes, elephants, zebras, waterbucks, Lions, Hyenas, Leopards, the Cheeter and ostriches and birds
There is also the popular Narus Valley,Kidepo Valley and Kanangorok Hot Springs, Mount Morungule, Namamukweny Valley, Lomej Hills and the Lonyili Mountain and the new Lonyili trail that now attracts even more tourists.
Mr Nyadru says that Kidepo attractions cannot be completed and enjoyed without talking about the Karamojong and the Ik people.
The IK is a minority ethnic group that lives in mountains around Kidepo Valley National Park and while on your Kidepo tour, you need to spend a day to visit this ethnic group and learn more about their way of living.
“And besides the IK, the Karamojong who are predominately cattle keepers and pastoralists who wander from one place to another in search for water and pasture and live in popular Manyattas,” said Mr Nyadru, the warden tourism.
There is Apoka Tourism Centre, overlooking the game-rich Narus Valley and home to an upmarket lodge and simple UWA-run cottages, Apoka is the park’s tourism hub. But besides this, there are the popular Savannah cottages and now the recent Adelle Safari lodge with a modern swimming pool in the wilderness. Ends