Batwa Cultural Visit in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Bwindi forest is home to a beautiful diversity of fauna and Flora, including some exotic plants and rare endangered animals. This forest was also home to the batwa pygmies and these people were the original dwellers of the ancient forest and were known as the keepers of the forest. The batwa lived in harmony within the forest and survived by hunting small game using bows and arrows and gathering plants for medicinal purposes and food.
In 1922, lives of these batwa people changed forever when this forest became a national park and a world Heritage site in order to be able to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that reside in its boundaries. The batwa were also evicted from the park and became conservation refugees in a world that was very unfamiliar to them. Their skills and the means of subsistence were not so useful in this modern environment and they began to suffer.
In 2001, when this batwa tribe were on the edge of extinction, the American medical missionaries Dr Scott and Carol Kellermanns came to their rescue. They bought land and then established programs to help in improving the conditions and the lives of the Batwa. This included building of a school, hospital and housing. The Kellermanns also developed water and sanitation projects and found ways for batwa to generate income and sustain themselves.
These projects are now managed and operated by the Batwa Development program and worked closely with the batwa community to try to ensure that their indigenous rights are respected and they also benefit from the forest being a national park as well as a tourist attraction.
Batwa Cultural Experience
The batwa cultural adventure was created by the displaced Batwa pygmies to be able to educate their children and to share their amazing heritage and traditions with the world. The day spent with the batwa gives you a chance to enjoy the following; Hiking in the forest with the people of the forest. You will also have a batwa guide and he will provide you with the chance, see how they lived and hunted in the traditional manner. You will enjoy trying out your hunting techniques as the batwa techniques; you will learn how to shoot the bow and the arrow. Visit a traditional Batwa homestead and also learn from the women how to prepare and cook and serve a meal. Talk to medicine men and get to learn about the properties of medicinal forest flora. You also get to hear the ancient legends and the traditional songs.
The Batwa Cultural Experience is one of the adventure activities recommended for visitors taking gorilla tours in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Here are sample tour itineraries that feature the Batwa visit in Bwindi.