The Batwa Cultural Experience
The Bwindi forest is home to a fantastic diversity of flora and fauna. It is also home to the Batwa pygmies. These indigenous people were the original residents of the forest often referred to as the ‘keepers of the forest’. The Batwa lived in harmony with the forest and survived by hunting small game using traditional weapons, they also gather plants for food and medicinal purposes.
In 1992, the lives of the Batwa changed when the forest became a national park and world heritage site in an effort to protect the endangered mountain gorillas. The Batwa were evicted from the park and became conservation refugees in a world they knew very little about. Their way of life was obsolete in this modern environment and they began to suffer.
The Batwa cultural experience was created by the displaced Batwa pygmies to educate their children and to share their unique heritage and traditions with the world.
A day-long experience with the Batwa includes the following:
– Hiking with the people of the forest. You will meet a Batwa guide and he will give you the chance to see the forest through his eyes.
-Seeing how they lived and hunted in the traditional manner. Learn the Batwa methods of hunting including how to shoot with a bow and arrow.
-Visiting a traditional Batwa homestead and learn from the women how to prepare, cook and serve a meal and of course enjoy the opportunity to sample all the dishes.
-Interacting with a medicine man and learn about the medicinal properties of the different species of plants in the forest.
-Witnessing their traditional dances and songs and listening to their ancient legends.
To get to Bwindi from Kampala, one needs to board a bus from the old taxi park in the central business district. It costs a maximum of $8 and takes about 7 hours, so dress comfortably and carry snacks. Don’t forget to use the new Jovago.com app to book your stay hassle free.
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