Batwa - The Forest People

The Batwa were called the “Keepers of the Forest” because they lived in harmony with the jungle, in small huts made out of leaves and branches. They hunted small game using bows, arrows, or nets and collected plants and fruits in the rainforest. As hunter-gatherers, they frequently moved in search of fresh supplies and food.

Bwindi Forest was home to the Batwa Pygmies, some anthropologists estimate that pygmy tribes like the Batwa have existed for at least 60,000 years in the rainforests of the equatorial Africa. In 1991, the lives of the Batwa changed forever, when the forest that was their home was gazetted as National Park and World heritage site in order to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that reside within its boundaries. The Batwa were evicted from the park and becoming Conservation refuges into the unfamiliar territory to live with the communities surrounding the park. Their skills and means of subsistence were not useful in the modern environment and they suffered to adapt to their new environment.

Batwa Cultural Experience

The Batwa Experience is a historical drama acting by the Batwa Pygmy people of what their life used to be like in the forest. Highlights include learning about medicinal herbs, traditional shelters, fire making, honey harvesting, burial rituals, different types of snares, and more. The Batwa do not just demonstrate their culture for tourists, but also for their own children, so they strive for authenticity. The experience was designed by a professional anthropologist together with Batwa elders who had lived in the forest. Proceeds from the tour go to Batwa education and healthcare.

A day spent with the Batwa gives you the opportunity to enjoy the following;-

  • Hike in the forest with the forest people – the Batwa pygmies guide this trail and provide you chance to see the forest and its habitants through their eyes.
  • See how they lived and hunted in the traditional manner. You will have a go at how they hunted with a bow and arrow.
  • Visit their traditional homesteads and learn how they lived together in small spaces and what each hut represented.
  • You will learn about survival in the forest and each tree and scrub was of importance to them – as they depended on them for medicine.
  • Batwa were known for their dancing, and were always invited into the communities nearing the parks to entertain people, you will have chance to join in the dancing.

You can experience the Batwa in Bwindi Impenetrable forest, Buniga Forest walk in Nkuringo and also in Mgahinga National Park.

Interested in doing some activities with us?