Apoka Safari Lodge – Eco-luxury in Kidepo National Park in Uganda

Travel in Africa is never easy. It’s bumpy (literally) and long, and often very uncomfortable, but there are some destinations that are worth the long trip. Kidepo National Park in Northern Uganda is one of those destinations.

*This post may contain affiliate links, as a result, we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any bookings/purchases you make through the links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Read our full disclosure
Kidepo National Park, Uganda
Kidepo National Park, Uganda
Traveling Soon? Here is a list of our favourite travel providers and accessories to help get you ready for your upcoming trip!
  • Book Your Accommodation HERE
  • Search for Great Tours HERE
  • Get a Car Rental HERE
  • Buy Travel Insurance HERE
  • See our Favourite Camera Bag HERE
  • Grab a Reusable Water Bottle HERE or a Filtration Straw HERE
  • Order an eSim HERE

The park is located on the border of South Sudan and Kenya, approximately 520 kilometers by road from Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

We weren’t certain that a trip to Kidepo would be worth it. After seeing so many other national parks in Uganda and doing so many safari drives, we were worried that Kidepo would be one and the same. But our experience in Kidepo was really unique and it was all thanks to the warm hospitality of Apoka Safari Lodge, located in the heart of the National Park.

Inside Apoka Safari Lodge

Built on a rocky kopje in the heart of Kidepo National Park, Apoka Safari Lodge is definitely the most eco-lux lodge we had stayed at in Uganda. With only 10 cottages, the lodge is small and intimate but offers incredible animal encounters right at your doorstep.

Apoka Safari Lodge, Kidepo National Park
Apoka Safari Lodge, Kidepo National Park

Each one of the cottages at Apoka come with a private veranda and offer sweeping views of the Narus Valley and the vast savannah. The lodge blends perfectly with the environment. There are no fences on the property and the animals roam wild all around the lodge.

Africa Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge 04595

Zebras, warthogs, waterbucks, buffalo and even elephants are always roaming around the property. The animals particularly enjoy the watering hole built by the lodge.

Watering hole at Apoka Safari Lodge in the Kidepo National Park
Watering hole at Apoka Safari Lodge in the Kidepo National Park

Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge watering hole zebra 8592
The restaurant on site offers great views of the watering hole almost guaranteeing a bit of a show during meal time.
Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge restaurant 04410
Next to the restaurant is a beautiful pool carved out of a big rock. It’s a perfect place to catch the mid-day rays, to enjoy a lazy breakfast after a morning drive, or to watch wildlife in their natural environment. 

Pool at the Apoka Safari Lodge
Pool at the Apoka Safari Lodge

A pool with a view at Apoka Lodge in Kidepo National Park in Northern Uganda

The Cottages

Each cottage at Apoka Safari Lodge is built using locally sourced wood and natural canvas. The decor is handmade by local craftsmen. Each room has a large bed and spacious sitting area with a desk. There is also a private veranda which is ideal for wildlife viewing.

Inside the cabin at Apoka Safari Lodge, Kidepo National Park
Inside the cottage at Apoka Safari Lodge, Kidepo National Park

Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge 8480
Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge 8455
The bathroom is spacious with two sinks and a walk-in shower and of course, the highlight for many is a beautiful outdoor stone bathtub that looks out onto the savannah. We loved that toiletries were offered in refillable pumps and soap was handmade by a local cooperative.

Hand-woven woolen carpets, extra large plush towels, comfy duvets and oversized dressing gowns make these cottages, located in nature, feel like the ultimate luxury.

Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge 04399

The Food

A stay at Apoka Lodge is a full board affair with breakfast, lunch, and dinner served at the restaurant overlooking the savannah. Their chef is one of the best in the country and all food is locally sourced. Vegetarian options are widely available and other dietary needs – easily accommodated. 
Africa Uganda Apoka Lodge food 04613

Africa Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge food 04426
We usually started our days with a serving of tea and cookies on our private veranda and got to enjoy a beautiful breakfast following our morning game drive. It was so nice to be able to indulge in a slow feast after an exciting morning out in the savannah.

Tea time in Kidepo National Park
Tea time in Kidepo National Park

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout our stay were delicious and the staff always went above and beyond to surprise us with unique spots for our meals. We dined by the pool, on the rocks overlooking the savannah, and even up in the watchtower that offered panoramic views of the valley.

Breakfast at the watch tower at Apoka Safari Lodge
Breakfast at the watchtower at Apoka Safari Lodge

One of the nights, the staff made us feel extra special by setting up a romantic candlelit dinner by the pool.

Dinner under the stars at the Apoka Lodge in Kidepo National Park in Northern Uganda
Dinner under the stars at the Apoka Lodge in Kidepo National Park


Kidepo is home to an amazing array of animals, some 80 species of mammals (28 of which are not found in any other Ugandan National Park), 460 species of birds, 58 types of raptors, and of course a heavy population of the Big Four (there are no rhinos in Kidepo).Africa Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge 8493

Kidepo is all about safaris and we couldn’t get enough of our game drives with our amazing guide, Julius.

On a safari with Julius
On a safari with Julius

One of the best things about staying at Apoka Safari Lodge is that every day you get to go out and search for wildlife with a resident guide, whose knowledge about the park and their inhabitants is truly unsurpassed.

Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge safari 8618
Apoka Lodge safari car 04537

Every day we were treated to a morning drive and a mid-afternoon drive (included in the nightly rate), and every day was a different adventure and a different set of animals. We tracked lions, admired giraffes, hung out with zebras, waterbucks, and even saw a couple of snakes!

Male and female lions at the Kidepo National Park in Northern Uganda
Male and female lions at the Kidepo National Park in Northern Uganda

Africa Uganda Kidepo anthelope 8683
Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge buffalo 8575
Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge safari snake 04438Africa Uganda Kidepo giraffe 8674

While game drives are the most popular way to explore the park, Apoka also offers an option of a walking safari and birding. Those staying for longer can also have the option of visiting a local Lokorul village located on the outskirts of the Kidepo Valley National Park. The visit is a community initiative set up by Apoka that has helped the village earn some tourism dollars to build a clinic and a school.  

Africa Uganda Kidepo bird 8439

Conservation and Sustainability

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes at Apoka Safari Lodge to ensure responsible tourism practices. The lodge and its parent company, Wild Places Uganda, are heavily involved in the conservation of Uganda’s wildlife and protected areas all across the country.

The company’s deep-rooted commitment to the preservation of Uganda’s wild places has recently earned them a prize at the Uganda Investor of the Year Awards for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Conservation’.

Africa Uganda Kidepo Apoka Lodge cottage 04488 1

But awards and accolades aside, the management of Apoka Safari Lodge and most importantly, the owners, are deeply committed to doing things right in the name of sustainability. And for us, that alone was a good enough reason to visit this remote part of Uganda.

Read Next: Best Safari Destinations In The World

Want to get a better feel for what it’s like to stay at the Apoka Lodge and experience Kidepo National Park? Check out our video below!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Tanzania Trip Details

Enter your name and email to get our Tanzania Safari Trip brochure with more details about this trip in your inbox.

Download Japan Trip Itinerary

Enter your name and email to get our Japan Trip brochure with more details about this trip in your inbox.

Join our 2025 Group Trips Pre-sale List

Be the first to know about NEW Trips
and SPECIAL Offers!

Have 5 minutes to share more info?
Fill out the Pre-Sale trip survey HERE

Interested in joining us in Japan?

Love the sound of this trip?
Ready to book? Have some questions? 

Send an inquiry and let's chat!

Leave your details below and be the first to get updates, special deals, and connect with us directly about this trip!

Reignite the Feminine Retreat

Love the idea of a women-only retreat in September 2024?

Help me decide where we should go! 

Our women-only gatherings will be limited to 8-10 people, so leave your details below to add yourself to the waitlist.

We'll email you first to share all the details of the trip.