Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a jungle swamp in Uganda located in Kibale National Park the home to the biggest number if chimpanzees in Uganda. This swamp happened to win an award from the UNESCO Wetlands Sustainable Tourism Projects as the best community sustainable Tourism project. Bigodi Wetland sanctuary is also one of the most popular tour destinations in Uganda and its highly advised that one who visits Kibale National Park should not forget to visit this jungle swamp.
The Bigodi Wetland is a project of the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED) and is meant to maintain the swamp area in order to extend the benefits of tourism to the surrounding communities. The name Bigodi was derived from the rutoro word “Kugodya” which literally means walking in a sluggish tiredly way. This came about when most of the people that traverse this forested area reached the swamp and were seen to be so tire from the long journey.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is located 6 km south of Kanyanchu the main center of Kibale National Park. It was established to protect the 4 square km Magombe swamp.
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is home to 200 Bird species and is a perfect site for the bird watching travelers. It’s mainly known to harbour the great blue turaco bird specie. Other bird species found in bigodi include the Papyrus Gonolek, Kingfishers, Waxbills, Cuckoos, Weavers, Hornbills and many others. The bird watching tours in this area are done with a guide who knows alot about the bird species and their characteristics.
This wetland sanctuary also has a variety of mammal species and primates. The mammal species in Bigodi include semi-aquatic Sitatunga Antelopes, Bush Bucks, Otters, Bush Pigs and the Mongooses. These are some of the species that excite travelers as they traverse the wetlands area. Most travelers go on safari to Kibale national park to do chimpanzee tracking though around bigodi wetland sanctuary there are more primates species. Some of these primates species include Red Colobus, Blue Monkeys, Gray Cheeked Mangabey, L’Hoest Monkeys, Black and White Colobus, Red Colobus Monkeys, Vervet Monkeys, Baboons and sometimes for the lucky ones, they will get a chance to sight the chimpanzees.
The vegetation in the bigodi sanctuary swamp is also a key attraction for the plant lovers. Some travelers also come to this jungle swamp to study the different plant types that the swamp holds. Some of the dominant plant species that are contained in Bigodi wetland include the common papyrus, polita fig trees and the wild palms.
Tours to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary are done in two shifts and one starts as early as 7:30 pm for the morning nature walk to the swamp. The other tour is done in the afternoon at 3:00 pm.
Once the swamp tour is done, the travelers are led to the surrounding communities to be able to support the locals who create artistic souvenirs. These art pieces are crafted from materials that are gotten from the conserved swamp and these include bags, mats, beads, baskets and many more. These are also made in bulk and most are exported to the foreign countries. They also travel to the Bigodi Secondary School which is a project of the bigodi wetland sanctuary. The wetlands project levies a charge on the travelers that visit the jungle swamp and these funds are used to develop the community by building the schools, water projects and health development and welfare of the communities.