Batwa people were the first people to inhabit the montane Rainforest up today and they are still living at the edge of the forest, which has been their home for centuries. They used to live in harmony in the midst of the forest with mountain gorillas. The Batwa tribe in the Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park can be an eye-opener to you about the culture and trends of the Batwa. They are lived as hunter-gathers in the rainforest for the past 500,000 years. The Batwa people used to prepare food and prepare their medicines from plants, roots, and tree barks. Since those ancient years, there was no farming, no charcoal making, and their shelters did not destroy the environment. Today, the Batwa people are called Gorilla killers and poachers and are being blamed for any poaching that normally occurs both in Bwindi national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park. The truth is that the Batwa people were the first forest keepers until the Bantu people came to the area. The Bantu tribes were the one in who caused deforestation and used to graze their cattle on the boundary of the forest which was once their precious Rainforest. The Batwa tribe was interested in Gorillas, chimpanzees and other small primates, and birds in the park. Recently it was recorded that a number of about 3000 Batwa people were still living today at the edge of Bwindi national park in Buhoma.
In 1992 the lives of the Batwa turned into a miserable life forever, when the rain forest became a national park and a UNESCO world heritage site in order to protect the mountain gorillas that used to live together within its territories. They were sent out of the park and turned into refugees.
Unfortunately, the Batwa people are no longer accepted to live in the forest. To note the Batwa cultural ways are rapidly reducing since their expulsion and things are changing. When it came to 2011 Uganda Wildlife Authority pulled out a hand of help through getting money from the United States Agency for International Development and Netherland’s Embassy in Kampala were in touch to start helping the Batwa culture Trail in Buhoma area of Bwindi national park.
The Batwa tribe has survived for years due to the International gorilla conservation program which came out to work with the Batwa tribe and started the Buniga Batwa Forest Walk and village visit program to assist them in terms of earning money for their own benefit through educating their children. This program is located at the south end of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, however, the wildlife and primates found in Buniga forest are similar to those of Bwindi and one can come across chimpanzees while on a forest walk with Batwa guides just because to keep the tradition Batwa people alive. More so, the Batwa tribe has got another interesting experience which was set up by the Kellerman Foundation outside of Bwindi national park where you can visit and encounter more about this tribe.
The social life of the Batwa tribe is full of unforgettable experience where you will encounter their traditional houses built in huts made of grass, the use of treehouses, caves and also experience the Batwa village life hood, the sharing, look down on them as primitive and learn things that they respected and cared for. Today, the Batwa tribes are benefiting from tourism due to their creativity and hospitality to visitors.
Visit Batwa tribe and experience more about their lifestyle.
Batwa culture Experience.
The Batwa culture is such an amazing experience created by the displaced Batwa pygmies to educate their children and also to share their traditional ways to visitors. Visiting a traditional Batwa homestead you can learn how Batwa women prepare food and serve a meal. You will also have a chance to sample their traditional dishes. Batwa people are good at storytelling, and you will be able to visit the community and hear their ancient folk stories and traditional songs. You can also be able to see how they lived and hunted in the traditional manners and enjoy their interesting hunting techniques as the Batwa people teaches you how to crack with a bow and arrow.
The Buniga Batwa Forest Walk.
The Buniga forest walk is done near Kisoro and can be easily accessed from the southern area of Bwindi Forest National Park to the side of Nkuringo one of the gorilla sectors. The forest walk is very informative about the Batwa people and their ways by visiting their villages from which they come and also view the crafts made out of their own hands.
While tourists are touring Buhoma to experience the ways of Batwa tribe, they can sleep in comfortable hotels and lodges. Some of the accommodation facilities include Buhoma Haven lodge, Buhoma community Lodge, Bwindi forest lodge, Gorilla safari lodge, Gorilla valley lodge, and many other lodges.
How to access to Buhoma
Buhoma can be easily accessed by road from Kampala the capital city of Uganda passing via Kabale –Mbarara road which can take 8:29hours only. Alternatively, you can decide to fry to and from Entebbe Airport to Kisoro Airstrip within 2:30hour by Air.