Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary “A home of the Great Blue Turaco”
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary as stated above is a home to great blue turaco bird and one of the top tourist attraction enjoyed by several travelers on a Uganda safari to Kibale forest national park and it obtained its name from a local Rutooro word “Kugodya” which means to “walk tiredly”. This came up as a result of several tourist who would try to visit this wetland but along the way get really tired and decide to rest with in the swamp resulting to the name Bigodi.
A visit to Bigodi wetland is usually combined with a safari to Kibale forest national park for Chimpanzee trekking tour the famous tourist activity done in Kibale forest national park. This Bigodi wetland is situated just about 6km from Kanyanchu visitor’s information center where park headquarters for Kibale forest national park are situated. Located outside Kibale forest national park in Magombe swamp that harbors plenty of primate species such as Chimpanzees, Olive baboons, Black and white Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Blue monkeys, mammals such as Sitatungas, Bush pigs, Bush bucks, over 200 species of birds such as Bigodi Turaco, Rare shoebill stork as well as different botanical Plant species that make it one of the most beautiful wetland in Kibale forest national park.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary is one of the best community projects that has been put in place and greatly managed by “KAFRED” Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development which was established in the year 1992 with the major aim of conserving the biodiversity of the wetland as well as support the lives of the local community members that reside near this wetland. Some of the projects run by KAFRED include water project that was put up to provide safe drinking water free from water borne diseases to different households, School projects where Bigodi Nursery, primary and secondary school have been constructed to provide education to the children with in the area and save them from walking long distances to schools, Beehive project to generate some income from the honey collected, waste management project and many more that are still operating and worth a visit while on a uganda safari to Kibale forest national park.
Top tourist activities in Bigodi wetland sanctuary
Birding in Bigodi wetland sanctuary: Birding safari is one of the most enjoyed adventure in Bigodi wetland as the swamp thrills with over 138 species of birds which makes it a birders haven worth a visit. Most tourists who visit Bigodi wetland on a guided nature walk are able to watch plenty of bird species such as rare shoebill stork, Great Blue Turaco, Greenbul, barbet, Blue breasted kingfisher, weaver birds, Black bee- eater, Flycatchers, fluff tail, Abyssinian ground thrush, crowned eagle, sunbird, Gonolek, barbet, flycatcher, Hornbills, black bishop, African pitta, Apalis, tinker bird, western nectar, dusky crimson wing, cuckoos and many more. To enjoy birding safari in Bigodi wetland sanctuary, you need a few birding equipment like a pair of Binoculars, a birders book and a local tour guide who will lead you into the wetland to watch as many bird species as possible. An experienced birder will as well excite you with different stories about different bird species to make the birding adventure in bigodi more fun and fascinating. However, the entire Magombe swamp is a home to over 200 species of birds.
Guided nature walks in Bigodi wetland sanctuary: Bigodi wetland offers both morning guided walks that start as early as 7:30am as well as evening guided walks that start at 3:00pm. This implies that it’s very possible to enjoy morning chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest national park then have an even guided nature walk in the evening or have a nature walk in the morning and trek chimpanzees in the afternoon. Taking on a guided morning or evening nature walk in Bigodi wetland is such a fascinating and breath taking experience that enables you to encounter with unique diversity of both fauna and flora species that thrill with in Bigodi wetland sanctuary. This walk is in most cases combined with either birding, butterfly viewing, Primate viewing, Botanical species identification among others.
Community walks and cultural encounters: Taking on a guided community walk around the local communities near Bigodi wetland sanctuary is yet another fascinating tourist activity done in Bigodi. This walk rewards tourists with an encounter with the local members running their projects. For instance, meet the Bigodi women who managed to create their own group of up to 40 members that helps them to work together and develop their projects like Basket weaving projects, making beads, and bags among others with the help of the locally available raw materials obtained from the swamp such as Palm leaves, and use of recycled poly-ethane bags and many more. These women have managed to create market both locally and internationally. Tourists are allowed to participate in any activity as they listen to beautiful stories from these women, buy any products and support the projects of these women who toil day and night to ensure that their children obtain basic education. At the end of the community walk, tourists are rewarded with breath taking cultural performances of dance and drama to sum up the community walk.
Other tourist activities to enjoy in Bigodi wetland sanctuary include; Botanical identification where several species of plants are identified each with its different purpose. Some of these plants are used as source of medicine to cure some diseases and are easily identified with the help of a local tour guide who will explain each and every plant species with Bigodi wetland sanctuary during a guided nature/ swamp walk.
There is yet Butterfly viewing adventure also conducted in Bigodi wetland sanctuary where several unique species of butterflies are seen
Wildlife viewing safari is also another fascinating activity done in Bigodi wetland sanctuary. The sanctuary thrill with plenty of wildlife species some of which roam from Kibale forest national park such as primates, mammals, birds, butterflies and many more.
Conclusion: Since Bigodi wetland is situated outside Kibale forest national park, there is no payment for entrance fees but tourists have to pay for different activities they intend to do since the money collected is used to run different proceed thus supporting the development of the local community members near this wetland as well as supporting tourism sector. Different activities are conducted at different times for instance, Morning hours are usually best for bird watching in Bigodi wetland while afternoon is best for Primate viewing and finally guided nature walk is enjoyed in the evening hours though anytime of the day one is allowed to enjoy the any adventure as long as it’s between 7:00am to 5:00pm the working hours.