A day off for a cultural encounter at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is one of the remarkable experiences of a kind with the “Batwa pygmies”. If others have shared stories about their creation, then why not interact with the natives of the Bwindi Impenetrable forest-the Batwa pygmies? The Batwa experience means a tourist leaves the destination with elusive lessons on authentic life style in the forest and traditions of the Batwa people who found treasure of life in the dense rain forest in South Western Uganda. There are a lot of things that make the Batwa pygmies more unique than you might have heard! Come and you will appreciate that God rewards every one differently and in deed it is not just staring at the eyes or heights of the Batwa pygmies but also exceed travel expectations while exploring the Batwa people who lived in this rain forest for 500,000 years. The fact is that God gave them the rain forest, also means they were the first people to have a home in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and no tribe can claim their origin in the forest if it is not the Batwa pygmies.
The Batwa making fire
If Mount Morungole gave life to the endangered Ik people in North-Eastern Uganda, then Bwindi Impenetrable Forest exceedingly provided more than life to the Batwa pygmies; they left less foot prints in the jungle because it was all about mutual interaction with nature and taking what is needed! This might seem surprising because our interests differ, others it would have been the order of the day struggling for ownership of the forest or piece of land here but this was different with the Batwa pygmies who peacefully lived in the forest and in return maintained their traditions without any external influence not even those who used to go to their places.
Currently, mountain gorilla safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable forest and the Batwa experiences are incorporated in visitors’ itineraries and it has helped to keep the Batwa traditional practices so that they extend to future generations and improve on the quality of Visitor’s cultural experiences in the community. This experience is guided by the Batwa guides who take tourists via the forest for authentic demonstration of Batwa ancient practices like handling the bow and arrow that was used while hunting and gathering traditional herbs for treatment. It is an incredible moment to see you discover the value of forest products or share the enriching Batwa cultural food!
The bow and arrow
To begin your day, the Batwa encounters are done around the adjacent communities at the park which starts with hike and nature walk via Bwindi Impenetrable forest, staring through the eyes of the unique pygmies “The keepers of the forest”. Before conservation came to pass, the gazetted places were used as hunting areas by natives around them and incredibly, discover the ancient hunting tools the Batwa pygmies used to look for food, how they survived in grass thatched houses and sacred caves like the Garama caves. The Garama cave was a residential place for the Batwa king and you will discover that outsiders were never permitted to access this sacred place unless a person had “special permission”, and notably this place was used for safety purposes. If you are so fearful or frightened, you only need to chill as the guides lead you down where darkness welcomes you with a thrill of mournful voices from the Batwa women lamenting why they are no longer in their most beloved rain forest. As the dim light torches tear apart the darkness from the sacred cave, an exciting dance is performed before you and it will look as if tears are falling down but it is to make your stay the most memorable with the Batwa pygmies. In deed this is a life time experience you must not miss to encounter after your Mountain gorilla adventure at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.
The Garama caves
The Batwa house
We highly appreciate your interaction with the Batwa people because your visit shows sign of respect to the Batwa pygmies and their traditions and hence it is one way of renewing ancient pride the Batwa had before the place was gazetted as tourist destination that forced them out of the jungle. While out of the forest, it was one of the worst experiences for the Batwa pygmies as many described them “primitive” and “uncultured” and hence they felt out of the place.
Be part of the most interactive experience which involves intense learning to help you compare between the current look of the forest and the ancient practices in the forest only when you are at the Buhoma sector-Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Do you have plans to interact with the ancient forest inhabitants? Book or incorporate your mountain gorilla safari with the Batwa experiences at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. We honor your safari at Bwindi Impenetrable forest and the support that you give to the Batwa Development Program. For authentic African safari experiences in Uganda, contact Maranatha Tours and Travel and your safari will be made possible!!
In conclusion, visiting Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park is more than just the mountain gorillas, forest birds or golden monkeys but also destination to explore authentic cultural practices like dances, life style in the forest, demonstration of ancient hunting techniques and enriched interaction with unique Batwa pygmies.