A guide to Bigodi Swamp Walk in Kibale Forest National Park: Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, located on the outskirts of Kibale Forest National Park, is a community-based effort with the primary goal of saving the ancient Magombe wetland. Previously, the marsh was known as Magombe swamp. Magombe translates as “graveyard.” Many individuals were killed while working on the bridge at the sanctuary. In 1990, the name was changed to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary.
The word “Bigodi” is derived from the Rutooro term “Kugodya,” which means “tired walk.” Previously, the locals considered it difficult and exhausting to walk through the damp swamp to reach Kibale forest, hence the name “Bigodi.” The Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is located in western Uganda, off the route between Kamwenge and Fort Portal.
The Bigodi wetland reserve in Kibale Forest is abundant in plant and fauna. The wetland has been home to eight distinct primate species, including red colobus monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, and vervet monkeys. There are also unusual birds such as the big blue turaco, the crested crane, and purple breasted sunbirds. Wild pigs, antelopes, otters, and mongooses are also found in Bigodi’s surroundings.
Facts About Bigodi Swamp in Kibale Forest.
- The distance between Kampala and Bigodi is approximately 244 kilometers and takes around six hours to go by vehicle.
- Despite the fact that the Swamp is home to over 100 bird species, the magnificent blue Turaco is the most sought after.
- A wetland birding tour should be supervised by an experienced and qualified bird guide.
- Because Bigodi and Kibale Forest National Park are adjacent, visitors to both utilize the same safari lodges. Turaco Tree Tops, Primates Lodge, Ndali Lodge, Chimpundu Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Crater Lodge, Chimpanzee Forest Guest House, Chimps Nest, and Kibale Forest Camp are among the recommended accommodations. These lodges are divided into three categories: cheap, mid-range, and luxury.
- Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is considered as a model for sustainable tourism and development (the management of natural resources by the community to benefit all stakeholders).
What to expect on a guided nature walk in Bigodi Swamp?
The Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is a must-see for its biodiversity and beautiful splendor. A 4.5km long hike through Kibale Forest’s significant animal corridor will take up to 3 hours.
The “Home of the Great Blue Turaco” is a birder’s heaven. Over 200 bird species live in this lovely region, including Hornbills, Turacos, Parrots, Cranes, Kingfishers, and many more swamp endemics. In addition, the sanctuary is home to eight different primates, including the Black and White Colobus, Red Colobus, Red Tailed Monkey, Grey Cheeked Mangabeys, Olive Baboon, L’Hoest’s Monkey, Vervet Monkey, and Blue Monkey.
Other creatures that live in the wetland include Sitatunga, bushbucks, and otters. Local and educated guides will accompany you on an educational walk through the lush greenery. This is an excellent opportunity to see animals from forest walkways, boardwalks, or atop a tree house high in the canopy.
Only visitors accompanied by a professional Sanctuary guide are permitted to tour the wetlands. The office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. The optimum times to begin the three-hour walk are 7:30-9 a.m. or 3 p.m. Visitors, on the other hand, are free to take the trek anytime they like.
Things to do during your visit to Bigodi Swamp in Kibale Forest.
Bigodi wetland sanctuary excursions provide possibilities to see a variety of primate and bird species. The refuge is most popular in the late afternoon and after chimp trekking in Kibale forest. The Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary trip lasts around 3 hours and is done on high wooden walks. Bigodi Swamp Hike. These paths allow visitors to see uncommon bird species as well as 11 distinct varieties of monkeys. The excursion concludes in one of the surrounding communities.
This village trip includes visits to various social institutions and homesteads in order to offer support for their efforts in protecting and maintaining the swamp. We may zoom in on the major events at the Swamp by doing the following:
Guided Nature Walks.
The nature hikes are divided into two sessions: morning and afternoon. The morning session begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by the afternoon session at 3 p.m. A nature tour across the marsh costs $30 USD per person. The tour through the marsh is conducted by an experienced and informed local guide. The Guide will ensure that the activity is both informative and fun. The Guide will also guarantee that you see the majority of the wetland’s intriguing wildlife species.
The Bigodi Swamp in Kibale forest national park is one of Uganda’s greatest birding locations. It is home to some of the world’s rarest birds. The great blue turaco, purple breasted sunbird, papyrus Gonolek, Abyssinia, green breasted pitta, and crested crane are among them. Birds prefer the swamp region because of the abundance of water, lush foliage, and lack of predators.
The communities around the swamp are a great illustration of rural life in Uganda and many African underdeveloped countries. Green farmlands, mud/brick homes, joyous children playing, domestic animals grazing in the green fields, ladies going about their business in their Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary and Community walk, open homes, and men enjoying that strong drink in the trading centers may all be seen by visitors. Tourists can participate in activities such as cooking or sampling local cuisine.
In addition, they may learn how to cultivate tea/coffee in the farmlands and tour community-based services (schools, orphanages, and health clinics). One of the pleasures of a visit to the Bigodi Sanctuary is a visit to the Bigodi Women group. Girls and women work at the Centre to create African clothing. These include creating bangles, shoes, necklaces, and earrings, among other things. Purchasing from these diligent and talented ladies is regarded as an honorable act.
Some of their goods are sold in other nations. Aside from the social initiatives, there are other fun things to do at the sanctuary, such as learning how to make local beer or visiting the local herbalist or an old member of the community for storytelling. The Elders have witnessed the many changes at the refuge and can tell you what was and what is.
Visit the Snake Park.
This is a new tourist product being developed as part of the KAFRED initiative. A variety of reptile species reproduce in the wetlands. Unless you spend more time in the marsh, it might be difficult to observe the snakes. KAFRED is working to provide a safer and more effective way for visitors to Bigodi Wetlands Swamp to see snakes. This is in addition to the popular nature walk that is going place in the region.