Batwa Community Trail in Mgahinga
Batwa Community trail in Mgahinga gorilla national park is a half day activity through the interesting unique culture of the minority people surrounding the park and it gives you highlights on how they used to live their life in the forests. The Batwa trail expedition is led by a batwa guide dressed in animal skin who is well knowledgeable about the lives of the great batwa and the tourists are guaranteed of receiving first hand factual information.
The Batwa used to live on the slopes Virunga of volcanoes and rainforests of central Africa and in the gorilla trekking forests of Bwindi impenetrable national park before it became a protected area in 1991. They used to live as hunters and gatherers. The batwa lost their land which they called a home and drastically their lives changed mostly for the worse as most of them died during the struggle as some were displaced and most became beggars and petty thieves to support their lives.
To restore and keep the batwa culture, these batwa community trails in Mgahinga National Park and batwa community trails in the bwindi national park were organised. They were launched on 7th June 2011 by Uganda Wildlife Authority and the batwa community trail in Mgahinga begins from the base of Muhavura cave (342m in length and 14m deep) and passes by the slopes of Mount Gahinga and Mount Muhavura. The journey is started by a prayer to Biheko a forest god who possesses powers to offer protection as it was done by the ancient batwa while going on hunting expeditions, raiding other communities and other activities.
The most breathtaking aspect of the trail expedition is the Ngarama cave (a lava tube 200 m long) which was a royal residence of the former batwa royal leader (king), the court of law, store for food, looted treasures and hiding place during times of war.
Many important aspects of batwa life are witnessed during the expedition for example bee harvesting skills, hunting skills, fire making skills done by rubbing dry sticks together, hut construction techniques and using of bamboo tubes as cups and for fetching is witnessed. Also different medicine like herbs which were used to stop bleeding after giving birth in women and also accidents, cuts. They acted as herbs for malaria and the black cover of ant nests used for curing skin diseases like fungal diseases.
As you proceed along the batwa community trail in Mgahinga, you will come across berries which were used as food by the batwa. The batwa community trail in Mgahinga ends with sensational batwa dances, singing beautiful tunes and also vigorous ground stamping dance strokes which depict the batwa culture. Dancing and singing is done by a group batwa in the park who earn money for doing so.
Batwa community trail in Mgahinga expedition is charged USD 80 person per day.