Bigodi wetland is an important biodiversity area situated on the edge of Bigodi Trading Centre, at the western edge of Kibale National Park in Kabarole District in Uganda. It is a conservation area fully managed by the local community, and hosts eight species of primates such as the ever elusive Sitatunga bushpig, Bushbuck, Otter Mongoose, Civet Cat and of course the Chimpanzee; and good flora species such as wild palm, rubber and fig trees and rafia palm which are widely used in making handicrafts.

The Bigodi Swamp

The swamp is host to over 200 bird species, including the most popular bird for tourists here, the Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola Cristata). Managed by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (Kafred), the swamp benefits a lot from the Kibale National Park, because there are some primates like the chimps which occasionally visit, making them part of the animal-stock that tourists come to see in Bigodi.

The name Bigodi is derived from a Rutooro word, kugodya, which means to walk tiredly or wearily. It is said that when travellers reached Bigodi on foot, they were always too tired to continue and face the jungle; hence they ended up resting there.

Conservation of the swamp has its tangible benefits, as it receives over $150 000 from tourists every year. Part of this money has been used to construct Bigodi Secondary School and a nursery school, and pay salaries of all the school teachers; bridges have been constructed across swamps and streams throughout the village. There are also other benefits;

  • Tips and sales made by farmers from their fruits and vegetables;
  • There are tourists who over the years have been sponsoring some children from the village for further studies;
  • Several local people have turned their homes into african homesteads for tourists. This brings tourists closer to the way of living of the local people;
  • Local women in the area have formed the Bigodi Women Group which comprises 40 members currently, to make beautiful beads using recycled paper and other materials  from the swamp such as rafia and phoenix palm leaves for making baskets and bags respectively. Some of their products are exported to Europe;
  • Poaching has greatly been reduced, almost to stoppage, because the poachers themselves have turned into guides, who take tourists around through the swamp and the village for community walks;
  • There is a road also, that goes through the village and that too, was constructed by the Bigodi swamp project.

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ChimpanzeeUganda has a rich cultural heritage exhibited by the various tribes in Uganda. Kampala will offer you the Baganda sites including the palace, the Ancient Kingdom Tombs, and other cultural sites. In the north see the uniqueness of the Karamojong cattle keepers. Visit Rwanda for ancient tribes’ places, in Congo see fishing villages, in Burundi see the Explorers memorial, the local snake and python museum, and the Source of the Nile.

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