Activities to do Bigodi swamp : Visiting Bigodi wetland is a must while on a Uganda safari to Kibale forest national park. In fact, spotting primates and birds is more interesting and successful in the Bigodi swamp than it is in Kibale forest itself. The dense forest hides most of the primates and birds while in Bigodi, it is possible to have a clearer view of all the creatures. By visiting the Bigodi swamp, you support the local people directly while also helping them realize the benefits of preserving the Eco-system for posterity.
Visiting Bigodi Swamp is usually arranged in the afternoon after chimpanzee trekking in Kibale forest. All activities start at the Bigodi Wetlands Visitor’s Center. The exercise can take three hours walking for 4 to 5 kilometers through swamp boardwalks, villages and forest pathways. It’s perfect for complimentary experience which allows visitors to admire the parks biodiversity. Some of the activities organized at the Bigodi Swamp are bird watching, nature walks, community walks, butterfly viewing and wildlife/primates tracking.
This is led by trained local Guides who are very knowledgeable of the local terrain. They are able to identify all the animal, bird and plant species and explain details about their matting and breeding habits. Expect to encounter rich vegetation, wild plants and flowers. The Guides will share information about the role of the community in preserving the Eco-system and how their effort is contributing to the well-being of the people economically. You can ask to view the forest and vast wetland from a tall tree house.
There is a well-established network of boardwalks through the vast wetlands to allow tourists visit the best spots. Nature walks are best done in the morning and afternoon lasting almost three hours. Nature walks cost $30 for international visitors and take 3 hours for each session. The morning session starts at 7:30 while the afternoon session starts at 3.00pm.
Birding in Bigodi wetland will leave even the most seasoned birder impressed. The sheer variety and density of birds is difficult to describe. Most of the birds find the swamp a perfect sanctuary and breeding ground (fewer predators). The Bigodi Wetlands sanctuary is also a great feeding ground because it attracts insects and frogs which are favored by the birds. The main species found in the sanctuary include the Abyssinian ground thrush, African pitta, Black bee-eater, Black-capped apalis, Black-eared ground thrush, Blue-breasted kingfisher, Brown-chested alethe, Collared apalis, Crowned eagle, Dusky crimsonwing, Green-breasted pitta, Little greenbul, Purple-breasted sunbird, Yellow spotted nicator and the Yellow-rumped tinker bird.
Cultural and Village Walks
Bigodi village is relatively small but with all the characteristic of typical Ugandan rural setting – mud/brick houses, surrounding gardens, playing children, women and women tending to the garden or domestic animals. While visiting the villages, visitors have an opportunity to experience the local food, learn how coffee is grown and visit the local schools. You can also go and see how the Bigodi Wetlands project has impacted on the villagers by employing the local folk, helping lower school fees, building medical centers and supplying water to the community. Alternatively, one can visit the Bigodi Women’s Group. This group is comprised of over 40 individuals. They make beautiful African crafts including beads from recycled paper or materials got from the swamp. Products from the Bigodi Women’s group are exported internationally bringing back good returns to the women.
After monitoring project activities, your Guide can take you to visit the local businesses or go to the points where local beer is made using bananas. The more adventurous and curious minds can visit the village medicine man. In the olden times, the medicine men were responsible for treating all kinds of ailments using local herbs or by invoking the spirits of the ancestors. These medicine men/witch-doctors still receive a lot of people in their shrines despite the growth of Christianity and Islam in Uganda. Although many are embarrassed about being associated with these medicine and shrines, they visit quietly with the hope of solving their life’s problems. If you are not interested in the medicine man, you could visit the elderly people in the area to learn about the village history, the clans, ancient birth/ marriage ceremonies and so much more, Activities to do Bigodi swamp
Visit the new Snake Park
The Bigodi wetland is home to venomous and non-venomous snakes. Unfortunately, it is rare to see them unless you spend more time in the area. To allow tourist see all the different types of snakes found in the area, the project has come up with an interesting preposition – start a small snake park. This park will house all kinds of snakes and will be offered as a free package as long as one books for the nature or village walks. One can also choose to visit the snake park alone without going for any of the other activities.
What you may need to know about Bigodi Swamp
- Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary is arguably the best example of how a community can manage natural resources for the benefit of all.
- It takes about 6 hours of driving from Kampala to reach Bigodi Swamp through beautiful and remarkable scenery.
- Although the wetland is home to over 135 bird species, the great blue Turaco is a favorite for birders. It is possible to see this beautiful bird flying around the swamp and nearby forests.
- Before going out to spot the birds, ensure that you are assigned a knowledgeable and experienced guide.
If you are wondering where to stay for the night during your tour of the Bigodi wetlands sanctuary and surrounding area, you can use the same hotels and lodges used by visitors to Kibale National Park.