Batwa People In Uganda : The Batwa people in Uganda are among the tribes that tourists can interact with during their cultural tours around the country.

They are a hunter gatherer tribe who are also known as the Batwa pygmies and live in area around Bwindi national park and also around Kisoro.  When visiting Mgahinga national park and also touring Lake Bunyonyi, tourists can interact with the Batwa. They are also found around the Echuya forest reserve.

Batwa people in Uganda are few in number and make up a small percentage of the population in the country.

Batwa People In Uganda
Batwa People

During the tours to Bwindi national park, the Batwa can be encountered as they are the original inhabitants of the Bwindi forest. They lived in harmony with the mountain gorillas of Bwindi forest for many years before they were evicted from the forests of Bwindi and the Batwa relocated to neighboring areas.

Batwa tour involves activities such as visiting their homesteads, learning how to prepare the local food and serve it with the women, get to know about the medicines from the Bwindi forest used by the Batwa for different remedies, enjoy traditional music and dance of the Batwa, learn the hunting techniques and get to know more about their way of life and culture.

During the hunting experience, tourists get to learn about how the Batwa survived on the Bwindi forest by hunting small wildlife species for food using bows and arrows. This experience also involves teaching the visitors how to hunt the local way.

The tour with the medicine men involves collecting different plants and shoots from the Bwindi forest which the Batwa use to cure different ailments and also as source of food. They also fed on mushrooms and fruits, honey and vegetables.

The Batwa took on farming and they also take care of cattle as means of survival following the change in their lifestyle after being evicted from the Bwindi forest.

A 3 hour hike through the Bwindi forest along the Batwa trail is another experience with the Batwa during tours. The locals act as guides during this guided hike which is another exciting activity done around Bwindi impenetrable national park.

As a welcome to their community, the Batwa and the Bakiga perform their traditional songs and also dance for the tourists who can also join in on the performances which involve the women, men and also the children.

The Batwa community tour costs about 30 USD per person and taking part in this activity supports the local community who benefit from it. When spending time with the Batwa, tourists can also learn how to make fire using rocks and grass with the help of a local guide.

The Batwa are also known for their primitive nature and sticking to their unique culture and way of life which makes interactions with them exciting. They live in huts made of grass around the farmlands in the areas around Bwindi national park.

The Batwa homesteads are found in different villages and they are known for having attachments to certain area where they have settled over the years.

Other tribes around Bwindi national park include the Bakiga tribe who are farmers and during visits to their communities, tourists can visit the local farms and get to know how to farm the local way and also harvesting the food stuffs, learning how to make the local brew and also how local food is prepared. They also practice bee keeping and basket making.

Other activities to do around Bwindi national park

Apart from interacting with the Batwa, other activities to engage in include gorilla trekking and gorilla habituation in Bwindi national park, bird watching and also guided nature walks.

  • Gorilla trekking

Gorilla trekking is a popular activity which is done in Bwindi national park and is combined with Batwa community tours. This activity involves interactions between tourists and the mountain gorillas in their natural habitats across the different sectors of the national park such as Rushaga, Ruhija, Buhoma and Nkuringo.

The search for the gorillas is done with ranger guides who accompany the tourists who spend 1 hour observing the gorillas and recording them. The gorilla trek in Uganda costs 700 USD per person for a gorilla permit.

Before spending time with the gorillas, tourists are divided into groups of 8 people and assigned ranger guides to accompany them for the gorilla trek. A briefing is also done at the Bwindi park headquarters to let the tourists know what to expect and the dos and don’ts of visiting the gorillas.

Batwa People In Uganda
Gorilla Trekking In Bwindi
  • Gorilla habituation

Tourists can also engage in gorilla habituation in Bwindi national park and spend about 4 hours with the gorillas in Rushaga sector. A gorilla habituation permit in Uganda costs about 1500 USD per person and allows tourists to take part in getting the gorillas used to human presence in their natural habitat.

Due to the limited number of gorilla permits issued daily, tourists are advised to book the permits in advance.

  • Hiking

Hiking in Bwindi national park is another activity which tourists can take part in during their tours.

  • Bird watching

There are different bird species which can be seen around Bwindi forest such as the Albertine endemic speices.

  • Guided nature walks

Guided walks through Bwindi forest can be led by the Batwa guides during tours in Uganda as the tourists get to closely view the national park and encounter various primates and bird species.

After or before the batwa tour, tourists can  and also visit other national parks in Uganda and enjoy cultural tours with the neighboring communities to get to know more about their culture and way of life.

How to get to Bwindi national park

For the exciting encounter with the Batwa people, tourists can access Bwindi national park by driving for about 8 hours from Kampala or flying to Kihihi airstrip or Kisoro airstrip. Upon arrival at the airstrip, visitors can be picked up by  their guides and continue to the villages for the cultural tours.

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