Recently, I had the thrill of visiting and touring Kidepo Safari Lodge, now renamed Katurum Lodge Kidepo. It is located on Katurum Rocks of Kidepo Valley National Park and was apparently built in 1971 during the reign of President Idi Amin Dada Oumee.
Certainly, without a doubt, Kidepo Safari Lodge is clearly one of President Amin’s great legacies for Uganda, especially so our tourism sector.
It must have been a truly magnificent place then, in the 1970s, and a jewel of its time. Sadly, even though there is semblance of renovation work that had begun, Katurum Lodge Kidepo, pretty much remains still in ruins. When President Amin’s regime was overthrown in 1979, Kidepo Safari Lodge was vandalized.
Katurum Lodge Kidepo – Photo credit: Ms. Norah Owaraga
Apparently, since 2014, the lodge is under a 15-year concession to Mr. Lorika Cornelius Kodet, but seven years later, Mr. Kodet’s reported promise of a refurbished lodge with 100 rooms, presidential suites, health club, spa, bar and restaurant is yet to be fulfilled.
Which begs the question: Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), why is Kidepo Safari Lodge still in ruins?
It is tough for me to understand the logic and the reasoning of those in charge at the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, at UTB, at UWA, at Uganda Revenue Authority, at Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development, and yes, at the Ministry for Karamoja Affairs.
Katurum Lodge Kidepo – Photo credit Ms. Norah Owaraga
How is it that the refurbishment and smooth functioning of such a treasure as the Kidepo Safari Lodge that can potentially generate significant financial resources and good publicity for Uganda are not a priority?