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Apoka Safari Lodge in Kidepo Valley National Park

In late April for Laren’s birthday, we journeyed by car for nearly twelve hours to the most remote region of Uganda. The further we traveled, the more beautiful the landscape became. Jagged hills, golden grassy fields, and endless plains started emerging, finally leading us to the northeast Karamoja region of Uganda, a 557 square mile expanse of untouched land called Kidepo Valley National Park.

Apoka Safari Lodge, our home away from home during our stay in Kidepo, was so beautiful, peaceful, and so completely secluded and untouched, that being there for four days changed us in some way. It was the kind of rare experience that reminded us of our connection to nature, it tugged at forgotten passions and dreams that daily city life had made us forget. It awakened our love for travel, for Uganda. And it centered us again, reminding us to focus on what really matters in life. It calmed us, quieted us, and in an unexplainable way, told us… “Let go, and just be all here.”

Apoka Lodge is nestled within a huge valley packed full of wildlife, much of which can be viewed while sitting on your private veranda, soaking in your huge outdoor tub, or taking a swim in the refreshing pool, which was carved out of a huge rock. In the late afternoons, after our morning Safari, we’d sit on the large deck with cold drinks and watch as zebra, elephant, buffalo, hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, and warthogs would pass by without even noticing us — sometimes only meters away.

The rooms at Apoka are immaculate, well-planned and beyond comfortable. All of the furniture is handmade by local carpenters (a detail I absolutely loved). The walls were made with natural canvas, spilling the warm sun and cool breeze into the room all day long. The huge bed, bath towels and bath robes were plush, the bathroom clean and well-stocked. Each morning, we were brought freshly brewed Ugandan coffee and warm muffins. We spent hours reading and lounging in our room, and would order cocktails to sip as we got ready for dinner in the evenings. It was a retreat in every sense of the word.

We’d emerge from our room in the evenings just as the sun was setting. Lanterns were being lit everywhere, a three-course meal was being prepared from scratch, and the vast sky would reveal millions upon millions of stars, impossibly bright and with the power to take your breath away.

So much more about our stay at Apoka Lodge, our time in Kidepo Valley National Park, and all of the amazing experiences we had is to come. Stay tuned!

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