Batwa People (Pygmies)

African Batwa Pygmies In Uganda Africa

Very limited access to education, social prejudice and a complete lack of land to call their own means the Batwa (pygmy) community around. Their recent unfortunate history and current circumstances have meant there has been little reason or opportunity for them to practice the traditional dances. This is where the VSPT comes in. It is believed that Bwindi Impenetrable forest that is popularly known for gorilla trekking safaris in south western Uganda hosts more than 100 members of the Batwa group and are referred to as “the Keepers of the forest” since they have been there before the forest was officially gazetted as the National park.

View of Bwindi Forest - Batwa Home
View of Bwindi Forest - Batwa Home

For more information, when Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was gazzetted to national park, the Batwa where pushed away since then they started living miserable life but currently the traditional owners of the forests are enjoying the management of the park resources and now they developed the Batwa trails which is a community based tour product where tourists can visit the local owners of forest and laern about their culture and historical ways of life.

Mgahinga National Park - Batwa Trail
Mgahinga National Park - Batwa Trail

The most appropriate way to have a full Batwa experience is by booking a Uganda tour and here one will be taken to Bwindi to have face to face encounter with the Batwa pygmies who are endowed with the interesting history about how they managed and adopted live in Bwindi forests. By the help of Batwa guides, tourists will have chance to see the tree houses and huts constructed of branches, leaves, and also the history of the batwa which involves how these people managed hunting, surviving in the forest.

Batwa People - Pygmies
Batwa People - Pygmies

The Batwa trail explains the celebration of the first local people who lived in the forest for over 60,000 years and experiencing this Batwa culture will give someone an over view the past Batwa and even the show the modern current Batwa.

After Gorilla trekking experiences in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, visitors can refresh by visiting the Batwa communities for lots of entertainment through traditional music, dance and drama. More so, enjoy their traditional demonstrations in which you can also participate to learn the skills.

Batwa men and women also engage them selves in Art and craft like wood curving. Craft making involves making of baskets, trays, table mats while wood curving involves curving of gorilla masks respectively. Other artistic scripts are also made by Batwa.

Mountain Gorilla co-existed with Batwa
Mountain Gorilla co-existed with Batwa

Though such skills are not yet highly competitive with the ready established markets and the newly gorilla tracking in Rushaga, it is UOBDU’s wish to have the Batwa economic welfare improved through these additional skills being provided.

The Batwa in Rwanda

This is the minority group among the Rwanda tribes, also known as the Twa constitute 1% of the total population. The majority are the Hutus constituting about 85% and the Tutsis constituting about 14%. The fact that the Twa are few in numbers, it may not be easy to see them if you take a 1 day gorilla trek in Rwanda package. However, if you have some more time, you can cross into bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga national park for more gorilla tracking experience and participate in the "Batwa Experience" and / or The Batwa Trail. In such experiences, you learn more about their history, culture and their ways of life. There are also Echuya Batwa living around Echuya forest reserve in Kisoro and Kabale region.

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