Mgahinga Batwa Forest Trail
APPROX 4 HOURS | US$80 PER PERSON
Hike into the archaic hunter-gatherer cultures of Uganda's Twa forest people on this exciting Batwa Cultural Trail in Mgahinga National Park. The Batwa Trail leads from the base of Muhuvura Cave into the jungle museum showcasing a pygmy forest tribe that used to live in the rainforest Park. These tribesmen were hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food, and medicine. In creating the Mgahinga National Park, they were forced out of the park and rehabilitated in the villages that surround the park.
On the trail
Embark on a journey into the ancient ways of the Batwa Pygmy tribe on the Mgahinga Batwa Cultural Trails. The Batwa were the original inhabitants of Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Parks before the tropical forests were gazetted into National Parks in 1991. They lived as hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors, depending on the forest for food, herbal medicine, and shelter.
Today, the Batwa tribe lives on the outskirts of the mountain gorilla UNESCO world heritage park, and the tribe has to adapt to modern agriculture and pastoralism, leaving their original cultures behind. The Mgahinga Batwa trail teaches the world about their rich culture. It ensures that later generations can learn about the Batwa's history.
Batwa guides and a dual language interpreter conduct the trail and provide insights into their traditional forest life and culture. The trail starts with the guide stopping and kneeling at a particular hut to pray to the gods to bless the walk, as this was an ancient tradition.
As you continue the hike, you'll learn about the different plants and roots that the Batwa used to treat various ailments and diseases, such as malaria, blood pressure, and fungal skin infections. You'll also learn about the different plants and fruits that the Batwa used for food and how they were used in everyday life.
The Batwa will demonstrate their past hunting techniques and ways of gathering honey and highlight the medicinal plants they use. You'll also visit the archaic Batwa grass-thatched huts and see a demonstration of how those huts were constructed and maintained. The women at the hut will demonstrate some family rituals like cooking and taking care of the family and also perform a cultural dance, in which you'll be gracefully asked to participate.
The tour takes approximately 4 hours and costs US$80 per person per day, part of which supports Batwa Development projects like constructing schools. The remaining percentage is paid to the guides to support their families. By participating in the Mgahinga Batwa Cultural Trails, you're learning about an ancient culture and contributing to the Batwa community, and supporting their way of life.