This is a community based tourism project and a good example of a successful natural resource fully managed by local community, established and managed by the local development organization that is Kibale Association For Rural and Environment Development (KAFRED) to mainly ensure that the local communities benefit from tourism through conservation. It’s located in kabarole district adjacent to Kibale national park, 6 kilometer away from Kanyanchu visitor’s information centre. Bigodi wetland is a 4 square kilometer swamp and a famous paradise for over 200 species of birds such as a papyrus Gonolek, white winged warbler and the beautiful great blue Turaco; this provides a best environment for special visitors who travel mainly to participate in special activities that are environmentally friendly like birding trips, butterfly watching, wildlife viewing, nature / community walk. The existence of Kibale national park makes it very relevant because this wetland sanctuary is a great complementation of chimp trekking in Kibale national park. There are a variety of unique activities that position Bigodi wetland as the best tourism destination one has to visit while in Uganda;
Interestingly, it’s a shelter for over 200 bird species which are endemic to Bigodi, being a paradise for birds, it’s best for tourists who are interested in bird learning and birding experience which definitely leaves birders with a long lasting memory. The wetland dwellers here include the following; the African pitta, crowned eagles, kingfishers, weaver birds, hornbills, black bishop, black Bee eater, purple breasted sun birds, papyrus Gonolek, among others; this enhances visitors’ experience ranking Bigodi as an unforgettable haven to the birders.
Here the viewing of wildlife is not for only primates as many may know because there exists a variety of other species such as, Reptiles and Amphibians. Bigodi is more than just a wetland but also special habitat for beautiful mammals including amazing 8 species of primates like grey cheeked managabees, Red tailed monkey, ververt monkeys, habituated baboons, Red colobus monkey, black and white colobus monkey. Other interesting mammals that cannot be excluded include the bush buck, bush pig, mongoose, and chances of spotting wetland sitatunga.
COMMUNITY / NATURE WALK
In this session, a tourist visits the swamp and the host community comprising of Batooro and Bakiga enabling visitors to get the great and true experience through meeting and interacting with the neighboring communities. This exposes visitors to a true image of the welcoming members, patient and creative communities and their projects like Bigodi secondary school, water project, health centre, church, Bigodi women group project, arts and craft, and very beautiful souvenirs, including African made beads, mats, baskets mainly to improve the standards of living of the natives around Bigodi wetland sanctuary. The other great activities that can be undertaken in Bigodi wetland sanctuary while on the trip includes the nature guided walk, Bigodi swamp walk, chimp habituation experience, night walk, village walk this enables a visitor to learn communities’ way of living, music, dance and drama, basket weaving demonstration, storytelling from the host community.