Safety and Security Situation – 2014 Kidepo Valley National Park – Northeastern Uganda
Is Northeastern Uganda – the Karamoja Region and Kidepo Valley Park safe to travel to?
Do a search regarding travel to or within Northeastern Uganda and you will get mostly negative feedback about how should avoid driving to Kidepo Valley Park and the Karamoja region of Northeastern Uganda.
Such notices do not take into account that things have changed since. Yes, for many years one of the most remote parks and beautiful wildlife was accessible only to those who could fly into the park which was and remains expensive to this day. A few hardy souls would venture off in a safari vehicle and manage to get through after a most arduous journey.
Things are changing, have changed and will change as more tourists choose to visit Kidepo Valley Park and the regions beyond. Even the renown and respected Guide Book to Uganda has stated so in its most recent 7th Uganda Guidebook edition which came out at the end of 2013. “Happily the complications along both routes (to Kidepo Valley National Park) have now been removed and the expanses of eastern Uganda have been thrown open to modern-day explorers. The L.R.A (Lord’s Resistance Army) war ended enabling travellers to reach Kidepo National Park via Gulu and Kitgum and travel in Karamoja is also widely considered safe and practical for the first time in many years. The government has disarmed the Karamojong warriors and made significant improvements to regional roads, while mobile phone networks now cover the region. Karamoja might still separate Mount Elgon and Kidepo but the 400 km distance is now an adventure rather than a hazard, a marvelous journey through a land of wild, rugged and often breathtaking beauty inhabited by a people who have clung to their traditional way of life with admirable persistence.”
The 7th Bradt Uganda Guide book further states regarding safety and security in Northeastern Uganda “Everyone we spoke to UWA (Uganda Wildlife Authority) officials, hoteliers and local expatriates – affirmed that this route is safe. The only reservations were that travel after dark should be avoided, as should be explorations off of the main route in the direction of the Kenyan border.”
Presently the UK and US diplomatic mission in Kampala have not lifted their long-standing travel advisories – we look forward to that happening in the near future. Tour operators such as Kabiza Wilderness Safaris stay in touch with Uganda Wildlife Authority and other tour operators that run safaris to Kidepo Valley Park. We also keep on eyes on any news or Ugandan government reports about security in and around Kidepo Valley National Park and any other park in Uganda.
There are areas of insecurity in other parts of East Africa that make the news on an almost weekly basis and while Kidepo Valley Park and the Karamoja area of northeastern Uganda remains out of the news when it comes security issues that would have a harmful effect on tourism.
If there are changes – good or bad – we will report them here and on our Facebook Page – in the meantime enjoy your journey to the remote and unvisited Kidepo Valley Park and surrounding areas…from Kampala…jon
“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.” John Hemingway, African Journeys