Kibale Rain Forest has turned into a very successful ecotourism project that benefits all parties involved. The animals of course, the marveling visitors and the community, which receives all the income from the budding grass root tourism initiated back in 1992. Neighboring Bigodi Wetland, a high altitude swamp, hosts a large population of different kinds of monkeys and lots of birds. The local celebrity is the Great Blue Turaco. In flight its bright blue feather show best and give it a truly majestic look.
This leisurely walk turned into an interesting lesson on monkeys. Black & White Colobus monkeys are lazy, Grey – Cheeked Mangabeys are energetic, Baboons cheeky and the Red Capped Mangabeys so very shy. The aggressiveness of the Red – Tailed Monkeys has its price: though much smaller than Chimpanzees, they pick fights with them they can never win and end up eaten…
While we were eagerly looking for the monkeys, the farmers dread them for raiding the crop. One of the many grass root projects works with local farmers to save the monkeys from ending up in traps. Now young boys guard the fields to keep the monkeys away.
Many other projects were financed with the money made from tourism: schools, clinics, but also a wooden walk – way through the swamp to shorten the way for the villagers and school kids.