When planning for an amazing cultural gorilla safari in Uganda, plan for the Batwa cultural trail that you can either experience at Bwindi, Mgahinga or Lake Bunyonyi. Before coming to Uganda on a 2 weeks ecotourism gorilla and culture safari, I had researched about the fascinating Batwa pygmy people and learned about the Batwa Experience which became a “must do” item! Today, the Batwa (“keepers of the forest” for millennia) are living as “conservation refugees” outside their beautiful ancestral home, the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest/ Park. The Batwa Experience was designed to help the Batwa elders pass along their incredible knowledge of the forest and how they lived in harmony with it to their children and to us fortunate visitors – and to provide needed income to their community.
We experienced the 5 hour cultural experience with the Batwa in Mgahinga Gorilla Park. We hiked the trail we used the day before to track gorillas, but this day was completely different as we stopped along the way to learn how the Batwa had lived in this forest for 500,000 years. They demonstrated hunting, trapping, honey gathering and the use of medicine plants. They showed us how they cooked, how they made clothes, kept their children safe and how they slept. Then the provided a lunch and danced and drummed for us. It was a wonderful experience.
The 5-hour Batwa Experience was a pure delight – fun, interesting and informative- and a good work out too! With our local guides, we hiked up a pretty mountain trail where we met our Batwa elders who showed us how they harvest bark cloth for clothes, how they hunted and trapped, how they used medical plants, how they slept in the open, how they collected honey, and examples of their leaf-covered homes, etc. In a nice thatched public area, we were entertained with Batwa music and dance and a typical meal before hiking back down the hill.
Please don’t miss this! The Batwa Experience is a wonderful compliment to the gorilla tracking – the other highlights in Bwindi, Mgahinga Gorilla Park or Lake Bunyonyi the only terrain deepest Crater Lake in Uganda.
The Batwa Experience was one of the most magical I have had in Africa. It was really equal to gorilla trekking. The people were wonderful and the experience was as authentic as you can get when intruding into another peoples private world. We learned a tremendous amount, met wonderful people and enjoyed every step of the way. Do not miss this special opportunity!
The Batwa experience was an excellent cultural experience. The Batwa people did an excellent job of showing us their shelters, food gathering, medicine plants, and their traditional clothing and dances. They also provided an excellent lunch made from their traditional foods. It was one of the best one day cultural showing that I have been to.
If you’re coming to Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla Park, it’s for the Gorillas trekking expedition. Okay, so you’ve come all that way, and what else is there? Upon arrival, you’ll quickly learn that the story of the Batwa is an integral story in the history of the area. They were displaced out of Bwindi when it became a national park in the 1990s. This is a great activity that exposes you to what their culture and lifestyle was (and is). It’s somewhat staged for tourism, but the activities they do are very real and are what the older members actually did prior to the 90s. Contact us and our tour expert will tailor make your unforgettable Uganda Gorilla and Batwa Cultural Expedition.