Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Bigodi wetland is one of the best destinations for birding and nature walks in Uganda. It is located in the western part of the country adjacent to Kibale national park just off the road that connects Fort Portal and Kamwenge. the wetland is part of the former Magombe swamp which is now known as Bigodi swamp. I visit to the Bigodi Wetland is recommended for all travelers who go for Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale Forest National Park.
The name “Bigodi” was derived from a Rutooro word “kugodya” which means walking in a tired manner. It was named so because people used to pass through this wetland when heading to the forest ant it was tiring to cross it. The wetland is under the administration of the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED), a community based organization that was formed to enhance local capacities of the local communities as they protect the environment.
Bigodi wetland is popular for its biodiversity and beautiful natural vegetation and the communities around the area that are protecting the wetland. This wetland is a home to about 200 bird species and about 8 species of primates. Birds sighted at the wetland include the famous Blue Turaco, Black bee-eater, crowned eagle among others. Primates spoted at bigodi wetland include the vervet monkey, the Uganda mangabey, red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest monkey, red colobus monkey, blue monkey and sometimes chimps visit the area. Mammals such as bush pigs, sitatunga, bush bucks and more are also sometimes spotted there.
Activities to do at Bigodi wetland
A visit to Bigodi wetland is something you ought not to miss on your Kibale forest national park tour. Visitors can book for their activities to be done either in the morning at around 7:30am or the afternoon at 3:00pm. It is a beautiful natural landscape that has been protected by the community and is a wonderful destination for a number of activities. These activities start from the Visitor’s Center at Bigodi. Activities at the wetland include the following;
Birding in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Bigodi wetland is a natural habitat for about 200 species of birds that can be spotted on guided walks around the wetland with the well experienced local guides at this wetland. Birding is conducted on clearly marked areas like the board-walk trail and the viewing platforms where more sightings of the birds are expected. The popular bird specie in Bigodi is the Blue Turaco which the guides will also tell you interesting stories about it. Other species of the birds at Bigodi wetland are the African pitta, Green breasted Pitta, black caped Apalis, Abyssinisn ground thrush, black gonolek, white spotted fluff tail, blue breasted kingfisher, yellow billed barbet, black crowned waxbill and many more.
Bigodi is a birder’s haven in the Pearl of Africa.
Nature walks/wildlife, primate and butterfly viewing
Nature walks in bigodi are guided by the local guides through the trails in the swamp. They are done either in the morning or afternoon and last for about 3 hours. As you move around the wetland, you’ll see primates especially monkeys, some mammals like bush pigs, sitatunga, bush bucks and others and very beautiful butterflies.
Community/village walks and culture
With guidance of a tour guide, you move around the village to see how people living around the wetland carry on their activities. You can participate or watch how they cook, how children play, how farming is done in this area and you can also visit the women group of Bigodi who make craft items using materials from the swamp. You’ll also learn about the projects that have been established due to the presence and protection of Bigodi wetland.
This village walk lasts for about 3 hours and costs 30,000 UGX while those who wish to see how local foods are prepared pay 15,000 UGX.
Where to stay when you visit Bigodi Swamp
Since the wetland is just close to Kibale national park, visitors stay at the same lodges that they use while at the national park.
Luxury lodges include primates lodge located inside the park, Kyaninga lodge, Ndali lodge and mid range lodges are Crater lodge and Chimpanzee forest guest house. Chimps nest is good for budget travelers.
Bigodi wetland has been of great impact to the surrounding communities because of developments put in place from what is earned from the above activities. there are a number of things that have been done such as construction of schools, construction of bridges connecting to areas across the wetland, formation of Bigodi women’s group that helps women to earn and take care of their families, construction of health centres and most of it all creation of employment opportunities.
Visit the Bigodi wetland Sanctuary while on your Uganda Safari and enjoy a thrilling nature experience.
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