Bigodi Women's Swamp Walk
Bigodi village is situated in the highlands of western Uganda, in the shadow of the Rwenzori Mountains, the famous "Mountains of the Moon." Our community is located about 40 kilometers south of the town of Fort Portal, and borders Kibale National Park, which has the highest density of primate life in the world in its forests.
Since 1992, the people of Bigodi have worked together as a community to open our natural beauty to eco-tourists and to bring our crafts and handiwork to the world.
Music, Dance and Drama
Bigodi Dancers demonstrate the best of their local culture through a lively hour-long performance, incorporating drama, dance, hand-made musical instruments and riddles.
In the Bakiga tribes, both men and women dance by stamping the ground barefoot – the harder you do it the better. Cracks on the floor are an indication that the party was a success!
The group sells baskets, mats, bags, recycled paper jewelry and other crafts at the Wetland Sanctuary office in Bigodi trading center, and worldwide through export.
The women use local materials such as millet straw, banana fibres (these two are agricultural waste), raffia and Phoenix palm leaves, papyrus plants and natural dyes, all from plants that the women grow themselves at their homes.
- Traditional dance and music performance (with interpretation)
- Drama performance
- Crafts demonstration (basket weaving and paper beads)
- Guided nature walks
- Bird watching across the wetland
- Primate viewing
- Village walks
- Home stays and traditional meals
- Study tours are used to increase the understanding and interpretation of natural and cultural values in the community, particularly in schools. Enyange Dramactors received training from Kibale and Semliki Conservation and Development Program in the 1990s. On the other hand, interpretation signs, write-ups, guided walks and presentations are used for conservation awareness building for both domestic and foreign visitors. Walks around and across the swamp are guided, visitors are encouraged to keep on the trail and all the garbage is carried back to the visitor’s center and properly binned. KAFRED does not provide catering services and this limits the levels of pollution.
- The community strives to promote local history.
- The dance and drama performances and weaving workshops promote local culture.
- The profits from tourism activities benefits the local community.
- Dance: All performers are local and share the performance fees
- Walks: 100% of the net profit (after all expenses), is spent on community development and conservation projects. This income has funded many projects including a secondary school, which has an enrollment of over 300 and employs 17 people. Host families receive a percentage of the village walk fee.
- Home stays and traditional meals: Income goes to support household income and promote traditional crops and organic methods of farming
- Crafts: 90% of the income goes to the women who make the items and 10% into community development. This income has funded the Bigodi Pre-Primary (Nursery) School, and it has helped support orphans, widows, the disabled and other disadvantaged people in the community. The group promotes conservation, takes school children on field trips, and produces songs and plays with conservation messages.
- Community development projects have been funded with income from tourism. The best examples are the secondary school, the wetlands boardwalk, and the wetlands visitor center, which has helped to increase awareness and appreciation within the community of the importance of conservation.
John Tinka, KAFRED Program Manager
+256 (0) 77 246 8113