Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is one of the lovely wetlands a must-visit on your African safaris in Uganda. It’s situated just about 4km from Kibale National Park– the best area for chimpanzee safaris in Uganda.
Bigodi wetlands hold over 200 bird species, including viable populations of the Great Blue Turaco.
In fact, the area is dubbed the “Home of the Great Blue Turaco” It’s one of the few wetlands offering memorable Uganda birding safaris.
The Papyrus Gonolek, Double-toothed Barbet, Yellow-throated Tinkerbird, Grey Crowned Cranes, and Blue-throated Roller, can be spotted also in the Bigodi wetland.
This bio-diverse and scenic wetland is also home to about 100 species of plants and over 8 primate species. These include the Baboons, Blue Monkeys, Red-tailed, Vervets, L’hoest, Black and white Colobus Monkeys, etc.
Though the Bigodi swamp walk is the main activity in the area, Bigodi village walks are also possible. With the help of our professional local guide, you’ll visit a traditional healer, elderly men & women, etc.
More so, you shouldn’t miss visiting the Bigodi Women’s Group to get yourself a souvenir of your safari Uganda tour.
Location Of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary- Where Is Bigodi Found?
Covering over 4km2, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is located in the highlands of western Uganda in the shadows of the Rwenzori Mountains– famously called the Mountains of the moon.
It’s situated in the Tooro region, between the districts of Kamwenge and Fort Portal.
This Sanctuary is about 40km from Fort Portal town and over 4km south of Kibale National Park– the Primate Capital of Africa.
History Of Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Initially, this wetland was called Magombe swamp, a local dialect meaning “graveyard”. This was due to a great number of people who once died here while constructing a bridge.
Why Is It Called Bigodi Wetland?
During the 1990s, the name was changed to Bigodi wetland. Bigodi comes from a Rutooro dialect “Kugodya” meaning to walk tiredly.
This term was coined because whenever people were going to Kibale Forest, they passed through the Bigodi wetland. Walking through the swamp was so strenuous that people usually had to rest before continuing to the rainforest.
Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is run under Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED), a community-based organization established in 1992.
Attractions In Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
On your visit to Bigodi wetland sanctuary Uganda, expect to spot amazing attractions. Some of them include a variety of lovely birds and numerous amazing primates.
Here are the incredible attractions in Bigodi wetlands
A. Beautiful Birds In Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
Undeniably, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is a heaven a must not miss for travelers on Uganda birding tours.
The Wetland boats over 200 bird species including the beautiful Great Blue Turaco and the Papyrus Gonolek.
Most of the birds are spotted while on the Bigodi swamp walk.
Some Of The Major Birds In Bigodi Wetland Include:
|1.Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill|
2.African Grey Parrots
3.Kingfishers e.g. the Blue-breasted Kingfisher
|8.Grey Crowned Cranes|
10. Bronze Sunbirds
13. Black-crowned Waxbill
B. Lovely Primates In Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
For primate lovers, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is home to over 8 primate species. Most of these lovely primates in the wetland roam from the nearby rainforest of Kibale National Park.
These beautiful primates are mostly spotted while on guided nature walks in Bigodi wetland including:
- Black and White Colobus
- Uganda Red colobus
- Red-tailed Monkey
- Uganda Mangabey
- Olive Baboon
- L’Hoest’s Monkey
- Vervet Monkey and,
- Blue Monkey
Activities In Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
There’re several amazing activities in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary a must not miss on your Uganda tour. Some include the Bigodi swamp walk, birding, village walks, visiting Bigodi Women’s Group, etc.
Below Is The Detailed Explanation Of Activities In Bigodi Wetland
A. Bigodi Swamp Walk
Bigodi swamp walk is a must not miss experience! It’s the best way of exploring the rich biodiversity and the scenic beauty of Bigodi wetland on foot.
It starts at Bigodi wetland visitors center, at 7:30 am though, also possible at 3 pm.
After, you’ll embark on a scenic 4.5km long 3 hours interpretative tour with a knowledgeable sanctuary guide. He’ll lead you through the lush vegetation of this important wildlife corridor of Kibale Forest.
What a wonderful experience! Viewing wildlife from forest paths, boardwalks, and a top tree house tucked high in the canopy gives you charming views of the area.
You’ll spot various birds counting the Great blue Turaco, a variety of primates such as Red-tailed Monkeys, Uganda Red colobus, etc. Sitatungas, Bushbucks, wild Pigs and, Otters can be spotted also.
Note: A nature walk in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is usually done as an added activity on your Uganda chimpanzee safari in Kibale National Park.
Fees For Bigodi Swamp Walk- How Much Is Bigodi Swamp Walk?
- Non-Residents of Uganda: UGX 50,000 or $20
- Foreign Residents: UGX 40,000 or $15
- Ugandans: UGX 10,000 or $5
B. Bird Watching In Bigodi Wetland
Since Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary boasts over 200 bird species, it’s a must not miss paradise for bird lovers on top of their Uganda tour holidays in Kibale.
Birding in Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary starts at 7:30 am at the Bigodi wetland visitors center with a briefing. After, you embark on the trail and the viewing platforms in the forest led by an expert local birding guide.
This knowledgeable guide will assist you in spotting the birds and provide you with relevant information about each bird spotted.
The commonly spotted birds in Bigodi wetland include Great Blue Turaco, Papyrus Gonolek, Black-headed Gonolek, Yellow-billed Barbet, etc.
Other birds in Bigodi wetlands include Grey Crowned Cranes, Double-toothed Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Western Nicator, Bronze Sunbirds, Blue-throated Roller, White-spotted Flufftails, etc.
C. Cultural Village Walks
Besides the Bigodi swamp walk, KAFRED also offers memorable cultural experiences worth undertaking on top of your safari in Kibale National Park.
This amazing cultural tour in Uganda offers you an opportunity of exploring the Bigodi community.
Together with your expert local guide, you’ll visit Bigodi village (a rich traditional village) comprising Batooro and Bakiga. You’ll have a great time interacting with them! This amazing experience usually goes for 3-4 hours.
Based on your decision, you’ll visit a traditional healer who will share with you his wisdom regarding spirits, herbs, and local medicines.
Furthermore, you’ll visit the homes of elderly people who will share fascinating stories about their birth, marriage, traditional life, etc. This will help you learn about the general life of Ugandans in rural areas.
Along your adventure, you’ll have the chance to see how schools operate in Uganda, walk to a nearby church, and stop at Bigodi’s Trading Center, a bustling center of rural business. Any inquiries during the walk can be answered by the field guides.
Note: This amazing experience usually starts in the afternoon (at 3 pm), after Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park. It’s a must not miss encounter that will get you into the captivating African way of life.
Fees For Bigodi Village Walks
- Non-Residents of Uganda: UGX 40,000 or $15
- Foreign Residents: UGX 30,000 or $12
- Ugandans: UGX 10,000 or $5
D. Visiting Bigodi Women’s Group
Visiting Bigodi Women’s Group is also another amazing activity you shouldn’t miss out on during your visit to Bigodi village.
This group consists of 40 voting members and 150 weavers who have worked cooperatively for over 15 years, chaired by Betty Tinka.
These women make nice-looking art and crafts like mats, baskets, bags, and jewelry from local materials including, millet straw, banana fibers, Phoenix palm leaves, plus natural dyes, etc.
Their crafts are sold at KAFRED office in the Bigodi trading center, at the Kanyanchu Visitor’s Centre of Kibale National Park, and worldwide through exporting.
Note: On your visit, you can actively participate in the weaving or just get yourself a beautiful souvenir to remind you of your safari in Uganda.
The price of a craft on-site is ideally good. However, it depends on the size, materials, shape, and dyes used.
Fees For Hand Craft Demonstration
- Non-Residents of Uganda: UGX 10,000
- Foreign Residents: UGX 10,000
- Ugandans: UGX 5,000
Why Visit Bigodi Women’s Group?
i. 10% of the sales from crafts is rendered back to community development. Over years, this income has supported Bigodi Pre-Primary School, orphans, widows, and other disabled people in the community.
Therefore, your buying a craft indirectly means helping a life of an African chap.
ii. This group also promotes conservation by producing songs and plays with conservation messages to the community at large.
Buying a craft on your Bigodi visit puts a block on the environmental conservation cry.
E. Having A Traditional Meal
For adventure lovers in the Bigodi community, trying out a delicious traditional meal is a must not miss opportunity.
You’ll have a golden opportunity of learning and test the yummy traditional Kitooro lunch, prepared by the lovely Tinka family.
It’s a lifetime story to tell as you immerse yourself in the true traditions of Batooro.
You’ll enjoy fresh organic food under a thatched roof house with warm company and bird melodies in the background.
In the course of your mealtime, you’ll learn much about food traditions, the ways of preparation, and amazing local stories.
Fees For Traditional Meal
- Non-Residents of Uganda: UGX 25,000
- Foreign Residents: UGX 25,000
- Ugandans: UGX 20,000
F. Visiting Tinka’s Homestead
For a great experience in the Bigodi community, you shouldn’t miss visiting Tinka’s Homestead. While here, you’ll spend a night living the Kitooro way and stay at the best farmhouse in Uganda!
Guests at Tinka’s homestead are provided with rooms and tasty traditional organic meals, all-inclusive in price.
The lovely Tinka family will further let you experience fascinating stories, songs, and vibrant local dances. Tinka’s Homestead is just a perfect balance between comfort and traditional life.
Please note that, while at the homestead, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the rainforest which is shadowed by the Rwenzori Mountains- the Mountains of the moon.
Fees For Home Stay
- Non-Residents of Uganda: UGX 100,000
- Foreign Residents: UGX 100,000
- Ugandans: UGX 100,000
For bird lovers on a Chimpanzee safari in Uganda Kibale National Park, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary shouldn’t miss on your itinerary. The sanctuary is home to a variety of swamp-dwelling birds including the Great blue turaco and Papyrus Gonolek, etc.
Apart from being a birder’s haven, the area also offers memorable cultural tours Bigodi community. These include visiting the traditional healer, elderly men, and women, and visiting Bigodi Women’s Group, etc.
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FAQs About Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary
How To Get To Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary?
Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is just situated about 4km away from the Kanyanchu information center, south of Kibale National Park. It can only be accessed by road.
From Fort Portal town to Bigodi wetland, you can use private means, public means, or a tour vehicle. The drive can take you about 30- 45 minutes.
From Kampala, you can use two routes including:
- Kampala-Mubende-Fort Portal highway which is over 320km takes you about 5-6 hour’s drive.
- The other is Kampala-Mbarara-Kasese Fort Portal route. This is the longest route covering over 380km and takes over 6-7 hours’ drive.
2. When Is The Best Time To Visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary?
You can visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary all year round. However, the best time is during the dry months of June-August and also in December- February. During these months, there’re minimal chances of rainfall in the area that might spoil your safari experience.
What To Park On Your Visit To Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary?
While on your Uganda safari tour in Bigodi wetlands, you’re supposed to pack the following:
- A camera that will be used to take photos for remembrance after your Uganda tour
- A pair of binoculars used for viewing birds in distant places
- Have comfortable hiking shoes as these can suit well the nature walks in the swamp and the community.
- Pack some insect repellents to secure yourself from biting insects.
- You’re also encouraged to have a rain jacket as this will protect you from the rain in case it finds you.
- Carry yourself with you enough drinking water to avoid getting hydrated.
- Long-sleeved shirts and long trousers are encouraged to protect your skin from cuts.
- Move with some sunglasses to protect your eyes from strong tropical rays.
- A hat will protect you from strong scorching sunlight
- Please, don’t forget to pack sunscreens to protect yourself from strong sun rays.
Why Was Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary Created?
In 1992, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary was created, run by Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED). It’s a community development effort at the edges of Kibale National Park helping to conserve the former Magombe Swamp.
Not only does this community protect Bigodi wetlands but also helps to improve the local capacities of the local communities by fighting poverty while conserving the environment.
Why Visit Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary?
A visit to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary is usually a supplement to Chimpanzee trekking in Kibale National Park e.g. When a visitor does a morning Chimpanzee trek in Kibale, he can visit Bigodi for an afternoon nature walk or do a Bigodi village walk, etc.
Note that, for the best birding experience in Bigodi wetlands, birders are encouraged to go for a morning walk that starts at 7:30 am.
Out of the 200 bird species spotted in Bigodi include the Great blue Turaco, Papyrus Gonolek, Western Nicator, Kingfishers, etc.