This is a community based tourism project and excellent example of a successful natural resource fully managed by local community, established and managed by the local development organization, known as the Kibale Association For Rural and Environment Development (KAFRED). The organization is mainly mandated with a task of ensuring that local communities benefit from tourism through conservation.
Bigodi is located in Kabarole district adjacent to Kibale national park, 6 kilometers away from Kanyanchu visitor’s information centre. Bigodi wetland is a 4 square kilometer swamp and a famous paradise for over 200 species of birds such as a papyrus Gonolek, white winged warbler and the famous great blue Turaco; this provides a best environment for special visitors who travel mainly to participate in special activities that are both eco – friendly and fun, such as birding tours, butterfly watching, wildlife viewing, nature walks and community encounters.
The existence of Kibale national park makes it very relevant because this wetland sanctuary has become a great complement to chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park. There is a variety of unique activities that position Bigodi wetland as the best tourism destination one has to visit while on a Uganda safari;
Interestingly, it’s a shelter for over 200 bird species, most of them endemic only to Bigodi and Kibale conservation area. As a paradise for birds, Bigodi is an excellent spot for travelers who are interested in not only birding safari experiences, but also learning about birds, which definitely leaves birders with a long lasting memory.
The popular Bigodi wetland residents include; Great Blue Turaco, African pitta, crowned eagles, kingfishers, weaver birds, hornbills, black bishop, black Bee eater, purple breasted sun birds, papyrus Gonolek, among others; this enhances visitors’ experience ranking this wetland sanctuary as an unforgettable haven for different unique bird species. .
Bigodi wetland is not only restricted to primates as many may think; but this place is a habitat for so many other species such as, Reptiles, mammals, Amphibians and butterflies.
Bigodi is more than just a wetland but also special habitat for beautiful and rare species including up to 8 types of primates, including the grey cheeked Mangabeys, Red tailed monkey, ververt monkeys, habituated baboons, Red colobus monkey, black and white colobus monkey.
Other interesting mammals that cannot be excluded include the bush buck, bush pig, mongoose, and the occasional swamp dweller – the Sitatunga Antelope.
During this encounter, travelers visit the swamp and the host community comprising of Batooro and Bakiga enabling visitors to get great and true experience through meeting and interacting with the neighboring communities.
This exposes visitors to a true image of the welcoming members, patient and creative communities and their projects like Bigodi secondary school, water project, health centre, church, Bigodi women group project, arts and craft center, and very beautiful souvenirs, including African made beads, mats, baskets which they sell to visitors to improve the standards of living of natives around Bigodi wetland sanctuary.
The other great activities that can be undertaken in Bigodi wetland sanctuary while on the trip includes the nature guided walk, Bigodi swamp walk, bird watching experience, night walk, village walk enabling a visitor to learn communities’ way of living, music, dance and drama, basket weaving demonstration and storytelling from the host community.
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