This exciting new safari will take you to the very far north east of Uganda – to the wild, remote and much lesser visited Kidepo Valley National Park. The 9-10 hour initial journey is broken up by a trip to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where you will trek white rhinos on foot and also by an overnight stop in Gulu, the bustling economic capital of the North. After two nights in Kidepo, you will head back through the stunning, rugged scenery of Karamoja and overnight in Sipi Falls, where you may opt to view the series of falls or alternatively join a coffee tour before returning to Kampala via Jinja.
Day 1: Kampala to Gulu
7.15 Please be at the Red Chilli reception by 7.15am at the latest. Depart at 7.30am in a customised pop-top safari minibus with driver/guide (max 8 passengers per trip).
11.00 Arrive at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, home to 19 white rhinos, as well as 20 other species of wildlife. The rhinos roam freely on 7,000 acres of land, although they are closely monitored 24 hours a day to protect them from poaching. Tracking and viewing the rhinos usually involves a short drive followed by 1.5 – 2 hours walking and viewing with a ranger. Closed shoes, long trousers and insect repellent are strongly recommended.
13:00 After Rhino trekking you will take a short drive to Amuka Safari Lodge (also within the sanctuary) where you will break for lunch before heading on towards Gulu.
17:00 You should arrive at the Dich Comfort Hotel in Gulu at approximately 5pm. After checking in, you may enjoy dinner at the hotel or venture into town to sample some of the local nightlife.
Day 2: Gulu to Kidepo National Park
Kidepo is Uganda’s most isolated national park, nestled in the rugged, semi arid valleys between the Sudanese and Kenyan borders in the north-eastern Karamoja region of Uganda. Transected by the Narus and Kidepo Rivers, the park hosts a profusion of big game, with over 80 species of mammal, including lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, zebra and various antelope species. A staggering 28 species of mammal found in Kidepo cannot be found in any other national park in Uganda: cheetah, striped hyena, aardwolf, caracal and kudu to name but a few. With a total of more than 475 different bird species, Kidepo is also considered outstanding for birds of prey and 58 different species have been recorded here.
Your trip to Kidepo will take in the contrasts of the grassland plains of the Narus Valley, where most of the park’s wildlife congregates due to the permanent water supply, and the hot and arid area of the extreme north, beside the South Sudanese border. You will cross over the Kidepo River and because it is dry for the majority of the year, you should be able to take a stroll along its 50m wide bed of white sands, surrounded on either side by Borassus palms. 11km north of here you will reach the Kanangarok hot springs – a fabulous place to look out for ostrich and to admire the mountains beyond the frontier.
9.00 After breakfast in Gulu you will start your journey towards Kidepo Valley National Park.
13.00 Arrive at Savannah Lodge on the outskirts of Kidepo Valley National Park (just 500m from the park gate), where you will be staying in twin safari tents with shared bathrooms (upgrades to larger en suite tents available on request, subject to availability). After checking in, you will take lunch at the lodge overlooking the park surrounds before departing for an afternoon game drive into the Narus Valley below.
17:00 Dinner will be served at the lodge under the thatched dining area, with a view out towards Kidepo’s stunning starry skies.
Day 3: Kidepo Valley National Park
06:30 After an early breakfast, you will head out for a full day game drive, taking in the areas surrounding the Narus Valley, the Kidepo River and up towards the hot springs, where ostrich may often be viewed. Lunch will either be taken back at the lodge, or a packed meal may be taken in the morning. Please discuss with your guide and order the night before if you wish to choose a packed lunch.
19.00 Arrive back at your accommodation for dinner and another night.
Day 4: Kidepo Valley National Park to Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls is actually a series of three pretty waterfalls in eastern Uganda, situated near the Kenyan border, on the edge of Mount Elgon National Park – the largest volcanic base in the world. Hikes around the falls offer beautiful views of the slopes of the mountain and also of the Karamoja plains and over to Lake Kyoga. The Sipi area is also famous for its locally grown Bugisu Arabica coffee which only grows at an altitude of between 1600m and 1900m. In contrast to Kidepo, the Sipi area enjoys a cool and peaceful climate.
07:00 After an early breakfast at in Kidepo you will start your journey towards Sipi Falls. This will be a long day of driving but will take in some simply stunning scenery as you drive through Karamoja and the Pian Upe Game Reserve. Lunch will be a packed lunch from Kidepo Savannah Lodge.
17:00 Arrive at the luxurious Sipi River Lodge, which offers beautiful views over to the main set of falls from the veranda. Accommodation provided in twin rooms with shared bathroom (upgrades to en suite bandas available on request, subject to availability). Dinner will be enjoyed at the lodge restaurant.
Day 5: Sipi Falls to Kampala
On the final morning of your safari, after breakfast at the lodge, you will have a choice of which activity you would like to enjoy before departing back to Kampala:
Option 1 – Sipi Waterfalls
You will depart for the morning to explore the three main waterfalls of the Sipi Valley, which are nestled in amongst local communities, lush farms and forests. You will be able to take a short hike around each of the falls for optimum viewing.
Option 2 Sipi Coffee Tour.
You will visit the lodge’s coffee plantation and learn about the farming, processing and roasting techniques the local farmers employ. You will be able to de-shell the beans yourself before roasting and grinding them in the traditional way…and finally enjoying a fresh home-brewed cup!
11:30 Following your chosen activity you will start your return journey to Kampala, taking along a packed lunch from Sipi River Lodge to enjoy en route. The journey will take around 6 hours.
17:30 Arrival time back at Red Chilli Kampala is largely dependent on traffic conditions, which can be heavy at this time of day.