Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a natural wetland with vast wildlife located 6 kilometers away from Kibale National Park next to Kanyanchu Information Center. It was established by a local development organization to protect the Magombe swamp which shelters a variety of bird species, primates, mammals and all who make a visiting the place interesting. The wetland is a community-based project managed by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED). The name Bigodi was got from the local Rutooro word ’Kugodya’ which means walk tiredly. Bigodi swamp can be accessed on foot and it is recorded that all people who visit this wetland would appear weary and could not walk any further unless they first rest there to take a fresh breath of wind before proceeding to any other area. Bigodi wetland has developed the community basing on the management of its natural resources which can be of good value to benefit the local residents living within. The conservation of the swamp has impacted a lot on Uganda’s tourism hub because of large diverse species of birds, primates, flora, and fauna. Bigodi wetland Sanctuary is even more than just a swamp which has become a famous destination in Uganda to be visited. It is one of the places you would not miss when you visit ‘Uganda’ the pearl of Africa.
Besides Bigodi wet land sanctuary being an attractive place to visit, it is well known that this wetland is located in the boundaries of Kibale National Park which is situated in the western region of Uganda. It covers 766 kilometers of its low land which is dominated with a dense thick forest in the north that gives way to the evergreen trees in the south of the park and other parts having flowers, grasslands, vegetation as well as swamps like Bigodi swamp. All these are habitats to various species of birds, primates, and mammals. Kibale National Park has a tropical rain forest which one of the very many attractive forests within Uganda. Kibale boasts with a high number of endangered chimpanzees and other small primates. The park is protected by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and is a world heritage site.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a beautiful place to whoever would wish to visit this area and is one of the most important eco systems in Uganda. The wetland gives travelers a great opportunity to experience more about the uniqueness of the jungle, like, the eco-system as you walk through it with professional guides who provide you with a lot of information about the mammals around most especially the primates. There are usually 2 guided tours a day at bigodi wetland Sanctuary of which the first one starts in the morning hours at 7:30 am and second in the afternoon at 3:00 pm.
Activities done at Bigodi wetland Sanctuary
Swamp walk: The swamp walk at Bigodi is amazing and is done along the boardwalk trails. On these walks, you will view the beauty of the landscape blended with a number of Bird Species that entice the Bird lovers. Visiting this gazetted wetland in Kibale can be on of your best tours because there are over 138 bird species that can be spotted by the travelers among which is the most well known birds such as Great Blue turaco, Hairy-breasted barbet, Brown-backed Scrub-robin, Yellow-billed Barbet, Brown-throated Wattle-eye ,White-tailed Ant-thrush, Black Bishop ,Black-crowned waxbill, Grey-winged Robin-chat, and rare species like papyrus gonolek, white-winged warbler, white-collared Oliver back, papyrus canary and many other species of birds in here. There are also 82 species of Guinea Congo forests biome and 32 species of the Afro tropical highland of flora and fauna in addition to few of the uncommon species found within the gazetted areas and among these include Bar-tailed Trogon plus the Fine-banded woodpecker, Red-faced crimson wing plus the White-bellied crested flycatcher. All these species can be encountered at Kibale National Park. When it comes to visiting this Kibale National Park do not leave before you look out for Nathan’s Francolin which is an endangered species that can live in only 3 additional forest reserves. To note, no visit to kibale national park is complete without visiting the Bigodi wetland Sanctuary area where you can have great sightseeing of beautiful bird species.
When you want to get involved in wildlife safaris in Uganda, you can just book for your tour at Bigodi wetland Sanctuary which is a home of biodiversity of primates like Chimpanzees, baboons, red tailed monkeys, red-headed colobus, L’Hoest monkey, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkey grey cheeked, velvet monkey, mangabey and many more species. Other mammals like sitatunga, mongooses, bush pigs, otters plus bushbucks, will all give you an unforgettable experience about the unique species of mammals at your tour in Uganda’s safaris.
The existence of this swamp its truly humbly to the local people who have benefited much more in money that has been received from tourists each year. The smattering of this earning was used to build Bigodi secondary school and nursery school to help children for local residents to study and in regards to paying salaries of the school teachers, constructing the bridge along the swamp and streams within the village.
Local women who are around the park have built up Bigodi women group who own craft shops that consist of 40 members currently. These ladies are good in making nice-looking beads made from re-cycled papers plus other materials got from this swamp-like Raffia, palm leaves which are used in weaving baskets, bags, neckless. Some of these local products have been exported to as far as European countries.
Apart from visiting Bigodi swamp in Kibale National Park, you can as well be part of other interesting activities within the park. The park hosts over 1500 chimpanzees, and you can engage in chimpanzee trekking and chimpanzee habituation which is conducted in kibale forest. You can also do nocturnal forest walks, visiting the Kibale crater lakes and the community people.
Chimpanzee trekking permits cost USD150 per person per day and Chimpanzee habituation permits sold at USD200 per person. All you need to do is to book for your permits in time with well-known tour operator through email or contacts.
Essentials to Carry for Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary include Sunscreen glasses, hiking shoes, hut, mineral water among others.
Best Time to visit Bigodi Wetland
The best time to visit bigodi wetland sanctuary is throughout the year as a number of tourists have encountered this place because of its unique species. The place is a paradise of birds and the moment you step here it’s when you will get a privileged opportunity to spot them. To those who love visiting bird safaris, Bigodi wetland can be your stopping destination to explore situated in western part of Uganda. Though visiting this wetland is best prescribed for during the dry seasons since the walkways are usually passable unlike in the wet seasons when the walkways can be socked in water.
Where to stay
Travelers who visits Bigodi swamp for more than a night they can sleep in beautiful hotels and lodges ranging between luxury, mid-range, budget depending on your budget and such hotels include; Primates lodge, Isunga lodge, Kyaninga Royal cottage, Green home cottages and campsite, Nyaika Hotel, Crater safari lodge, Rweteera safari park and many more other nice lodge.