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Gorilla discovery is a safari tour and travel company based in Uganda, fully licensed to conduct safaris within Uganda and Rwanda. We offer several tours and safaris in Uganda including Gorilla Tours, wildlife adventures, mountaineering trips

Visiting The Batwa Cultural Experience And Trail

Visiting The Batwa Cultural Experience And Trail

Visiting The Batwa Cultural Experience And Trail

Are you interested in visiting the Batwa cultural experience and trail? At first Batwa, people were living in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga without thinking that the time would come when they would have to leave the forests. But later these people were chased away and these forests turned into the game reserve to a national park to create an area for gorilla conservation. The government thought that if they chase the Batwa people is one of the best ways to stop poaching as well as deforestation from other tribes. The Batwa were forced to reposition outside the park with tribes they had avoided for over 1000 years. Because they had a completely diverse culture, the Batwa were marginalized. Other tribes like Bakiga watched them as primitive people who were come to get their land.

The government with international organizations like USAID have worked hard so that the Batwa people attuned to the new life outside the forest. Although there are a lot of success stories, some Batwa think the rehabilitation and resettlement process was not taken well.  According to some researchers, government and international organization projects are tried to develop the Batwa but they remained very poor than other tribes.

Their standard of living is far below that of the usual Ugandan. These people are still following their ancient rituals, they like so much living in grass-thatched huts. Most of them were survived in cutting forest trees and make charcoal for sale. But the government becomes very strict on forest encroachment, currently, some of them are farmers in farmlands owned by the Bakiga and other tribes. The Bakiga have small businesses and they also depend on farming.  The Batwa do not want to compete with the Bakiga while most of them prefer drinking and talk about the good old days when everything came on a silver plate.   Poverty has forced most of them to engage in prostitution and stealing to get something on the table.

This article was not in the plan to blame Batwa and the Government. But it is intended to presents how is it important to tread carefully while creating new or modern ways in some communities mostly those who are stuck in their ways. Take an example of the Batwa people, how wildlife protection efforts can affect their communities negatively if not organized well.  The government was thinking that relocating the Batwa people, it will help them to adopt a modern life like other tribes in Uganda. However, the Batwa changed to another way of life, they still value their culture and traditions. Now some of them have remained as fruit gatherers, herbalists, and hunters. While few of them have engaged in farming.

Who is helping the Batwa people?

The Government with various organizations and individual donors have been working hard to stop the primitive practices, marginalization, The Batwa Cultural Trail in Mgahinga discrimination, possible extinction of Batwa pygmy communities, high mortality rate as well as poverty. The most common challenge faced by these organizations, projects, and individuals was the high mortality rate amongst the Batwa people and this was because of communicable and non-communicable diseases. These deaths were happening because the Batwa were less immune to diseases found outside the forest. They had no access to high-quality clinics hence most of them dead and it came when there are only 3,500 Batwa pigmies according to the collected data by researchers.

Which organizations are supporting the Batwa?

Besides the Government through the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), the Batwa were also supported by the United Organization for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and the United States Agency for International Development Batwa pygmies in Uganda (USAID) Carol Kellerman and Dr. Scot Kellerman and United Organization for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU). Dr. Scot Kellerman and Carol Kellerman were the first foreign humanitarians to provide funds for the Batwa people. They started with projects that focused on Sanitation and Water. This couple also built a lot of schools, health centers, plus other services. This resulted into improvement of their standard of living and children started going to school and others provided by employment to work in the facilities.

The Batwa Cultural Experience in the Batwa Trail in Mgahinga National Park vs Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority and United Organization with help from USAID introduced the Batwa Cultural Experience so that to gain from tourism and raise more funds to support the development in the Batwa community. All national parks in Uganda are managed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). The Batwa cultural experience in Bwindi and the Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga has become one of the best tourism products which are combined on the gorilla trekking packages. In Bwindi, the Batwa cultural experience is carried out while visiting the communities of the Batwa who staying on the edges of Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. This experience is usually done after gorilla trekking. Those who participated in this experience have an opportunity to learn more about these people such as storytelling, music dance, and drama.

While the Batwa trail experience in Mgahinga is more exciting if compared to that one in Bwindi. Here tourists get a more practical understanding of the history and lifestyle of the Batwa pygmies. This experience is guided by the Batwa themselves whereby the tourists follow them deep into the forest to expose their ancient caves, hideouts, and hunting grounds. Here, Tourists also have an opportunity to participate in gathering fruits, making fires, hunting, and identifying herbs. The experience ends with a visit to Garamba caves. This mystical cave will give you all useful history about the Batwa people. The Garamba caves were also used to store food or as a hiding place in case, they were attacked by enemies. Then after here, the tourists are taken back to Batwa homesteads for cultural entertainment like music, dance, drama, and storytelling. It’s about 5 hours to complete the Batwa trail.  Please note, all money collected here is used to develop the Batwa community development projects.

The costs for the Batwa trail in Mgahinga National Park.

The costs 80USD per person but there is a discount of 10% while traveling in a group. Those who want to make a film or documentary about the Batwa have to pay 400USD. All the money collected here is used to develop the Batwa communities.

How challenging is the Batwa trail experience?

To complete the Batwa trail experience is not difficult and does not require only energetic tourists hence anyone can register for it. However, a tourist must be mentally to deal with hiking through the dense forests. Because Mgahinga national park is a mountainous area and its weather is unpredictable, any time it can rain even in the dry season. Therefore, if you’re interested in the Batwa trail experience, be ready to walk for a long distance. Porters are also available at the park headquarters who can help you during the hike mostly those with heavy backpacks or cameras. Hiring a porter is costs between 10USD to 15USD.

What do you need to carry for the Batwa Cultural Trail Experience ?

The Batwa trail experience involves long nature walk into the forest. Therefore, all tools for a nature walk are important which includes a camera, cap/hut, binocular, insect repellent, sunglasses, snacks, energy drinks, drinking water, and a walking stick which is provided at the park office or the lodge.  Hiking boots and long-sleeved shirts plus trousers are also important.

Reasons for booking with Africa Adventure Vacations.

Traveling to a new place is so exciting and it is one of the greatest experiences one can ever encounter. You get a chance to encounter the food, culture, and natural resources of the area. Africa Adventure Vacations is the best tour operator that can help you experience all the amazing cultures in Africa plus the authentic wildlife. Africa Adventure Vacations can help you to save money and restless nights trying to look for where to go. We are experienced and well informed and passionate about what we do. Africa Adventure Vacations is locally raised and has got a business license. We are quick to respond to any kind of questions from our clients. We have got the best tour packages and pricing. Our company can afford the group size that you would like to come along with.