It just occurred to me that my malaria-pneumonia episode prevented me from relating more of my Uganda adventures. On this adventure we travelled by light aircraft to The Kidepo Valley National Park in the far north-east of Uganda. The National Park lies on the border with South Sudan and just a few kilometres from the border with Kenya. It is one of the most remote National Parks in Uganda and consists of two wide river valleys that create vast swathes of savannah between impressive mountains. This is a photo of The Narus Valley as we approached for landing.
This park boasts a remarkable diversity of wildlife and in addition to Elephants and the most impressive buffalo I have ever seen, I had my first sightings of several mammal species and many bird species.
We travelled right up to (and briefly into) South Sudan! In this photo you can see a Somali Ostrich with Mt Kinyeti in South Sudan in the background. Just last year the Somali Ostrich was identified as a completely separate species of Ostrich. During the breeding season the legs and neck of the courting males become bright blue, whereas in our ostrich they become pink.
Not too far from here I has a fleeting sight of a beautiful and rare male Lesser Kudu as he dashed into a thicket. Although it happened too quickly for a photograph, it is an image that often comes to mind and which I know I will never forget.
We also saw the very interesting maneless Zebra, which are considered to be a sub-species of the Plains Zebra. Why have these animals lost their manes? Or do they represent the original form and manes appeared elsewhere? What function do the manes of Zebra have?
The rather beautiful Jackson’s Hartebeest are still a taxonomic mystery and believed to be a naturally occurring hybrid between two other sub-species of Hartebeest.
We also saw many Defasso’s Waterbuck and the endangered Rothschild Giraffe.
In spite of contracting malaria in Kidepo, I loved the place and can’t wait to return. Perhaps next time I will finally find the absolutely diminutive Guenther’s Dik-dik, with its extended trunk-like nose.