The most ancient inhabitants of inter–lacustrine of the Virunga volcanoes, the Batwa are a pygmies people easily distinguished by their short stature – an adult male seldom exceeds 1.5m in height – and paler, more bronzed complexion. Semi-nomadic by in inclination encampments of flimsy leaf huts, set in a forest clearing, which they abandon when food becomes scarce locally, upon the death of a community member, or on a whim. Traditionally, the Batwa lifestyle is based around hunting, which is undertaken as a team effort by the male members of a community, usually using nets and poisoned arrows.
The Batwa Cultural experience takes place outside the park in an old-growth forest and land that is next to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The cultural experience begins with a nature walk through the community, seeing the forest in a new way, through the eyes of the original people of the forest, learn how they hunted the small animals they used for food, what they gathered from the forest and they used to trap small animals in the forest.
The Batwa community experience offers a glimpse into this marginalized community’s historical lifestyles from the perspective of village life. The community experience will consist of showcasing cultural norms, dancing, and making fire using two sticks.
The Batwa people will show you how they lived in huts made of grass and small trees, they will also show you how they used to share a small room sheltering about 20 people to maintain warm body temperature during the night or when it rains or during cold weather.
Batwa men also gather wild honey, while the women gather edible plants to supplement the meat. In time past, the Batwa wore only a drape of animals hide and the barkcloth, and had little desire to accumulate possessions – a few cooking pots and some hunting gears.
About 3,000 Batwa live in Uganda, mostly concentrated in Kigezi, the Batwa people are common in the sector of Buhoma, Rushaga, Nkuingo, and Mgahinga. Their lifestyle is so unique and they have dwelt within the forest reserve for centuries, travelers to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park will be approached by self-styled guides offering to take them to a local Batwa community and the best place to do a Batwa cultural experience in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Rushaga sector in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. For more info about cultural tours in Uganda kindly contact Gorilla Tracking Africa so we can tailor your remarkable trip to the pearl of Africa.