BIGODI WETLAND SANCTUARY
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is among the best birding destinations in Uganda. It is located near Kibale national park in Magombe swamp. The sanctuary is home to a number of bird species including the great blue Turaco, Yellow-billed barbet and yellow-spotted barbet among others.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary derives its name from the Rutooro word ‘Kugodya’ that means ‘to walk tiredly or wearily.’ It is said that when visitors reached the Bigodi swamp on foot, they were always tried to go on with their hike in the forest and hence decided to rest.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary is situated just about 6km from Kanyanchu visitor’s information center which is where the headquarters of Kibale national park is located.
The sanctuary is currently being managed by KAFRED (Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development. It was established in 1992 as a wetland sanctuary.
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 and waste management project among others.
The main aim of of the sanctuary is to conserve the biodiversity of the wetland and also support members of the local communities that live near the wetland.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary is home plenty of primate species such as Chimpanzees, Olive baboons, Black and white Colobus monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Blue monkeys, mammals such as Sitatunga, 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 place to visit.
Activities Offered in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Birding in Bigodi wetland sanctuary is a very pleasant and unique experience especially for visitors who love bird watching. There are over 138 species of birds in the sanctuary and some commonly sighted bird species in the wetland sanctuary include; 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 and cuckoos to mention but a few.
Guided nature walks
Guided nature walks in the sanctuary starts at 7:30 am every morning and also 3:00pm in the evenings. Visitors can always combine a guided nature walk in Bigodi wetland sanctuary with a chimpanzee trekking safari in Kibale national park.
Community cultural tours:
Community cultural tours in the sanctuary are mostly done by visitors doing chimpanzee trekking in Kibale national park. Such cultural encounters take you on a tour to some of the local communities within Bigodi. Get to meet the Bigodi women’s group and see some of their handy work in arts and crafts as they make traditional baskets, beads and necklaces using locally sourced raw materials like papyrus and even recycled papers. 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 activities offered in the sanctuary include; wildlife viewing and botany for visitors who are interested in learning more about the different flora species that exist in the wetland.
How to get to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary can be accessed by road from Kampala city. The wetland sanctuary is located approximately 330 kilometers from Kampala taking about a 5 hours’ drive on tarmac road.