Buniga Forest Walk with the Batwa Pygmies – the First People of the Forest
Discover the Rainforest through the Eyes of the Batwa People
Buniga Forest Walk with the Batwa Pygmies is where members of the Batwa Community lead you through Buniga Forest showing you their ancient ways of hunting, gathering and living by leaving a low ecological footprint. The Batwa People have lived here for thousands of years and the Forest Walk, near Nkuringo and Rushaga, is a way in which they share their traditional ways of life and culture.
Buniga Forest like many others such as Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was once inhabited by the Batwa people – they were the original people of the forest.
As parks were formed(1991) they were evicted from their ancient dwelling, hunting and gathering places. Today they are a people who are without a home, and one could go further, a people who lost their identity, a people in transition, often marginalized by other people groups and yet they are the people that know forests such as Buniga, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest the best and the best are your guides through the magical forest of Buniga. The walk is a merging of nature and ancient culture and visitors are simply amazed by what they experience.
The Forest itself is rich in floral diversity with species including Afro-Montane Plants such as the Giant Lobelia, there are Tree Ferns such as you have never seen before, the forest is filled with magical natural wonders. Primates, including chimpanzees, can be spotted here, bird species abound including many that are endemic to the area.
On the Buniga Forest Walk with the Batwa Pygmies you will not miss much including the plants they used to gather, the barks, roots, berries, some of them for traditional medicine and some for food, something that even today is much relied on by the Batwa people. Other material in the forest was used to build huts, to make clothing and the like.
It is generally accepted that the Batwa pygmy people were the original people of the forest, but also of this region before other people groups migrated here. As you are with your Batwa Guides you learn ways and traditions that go back thousands of years and were passed on from generation to generation. Since they are now a people in transition without their forest there is the danger of the next generations losing their rich and ancient ways. The Buniga walk guided by the Batwas restores some of which they have lost in a small way and keeps traditions and ways alive.
The Batwa Guides will show their methods of honey gathering, of hunting and of trapping and one needs to be reminded that they gathered and hunted only what they needed and not to excess. The Batwa people of the forest left a small footprint of their presence behind very different from much of the rest of the world. The forest was considered sacred and something to be protected and not to be exploited by the original people of the Forest.
Though the Buniga Forest Walk is not highly promoted, is not offered by most tour companies it is something not to be missed if you are going gorilla tracking in the stunningly scenic Nkuringo area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
After the forest walk which ends at the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation take the short 5 kilometer drive to the Sanuriiro community of the Batwas and see how they live today instead in their former home in the forest. Many of them are landless squatters instead of the proud people of the forest. Buy some Batwa crafts , ask questions and your guides from the forest walk will be with you , see beehives being created and receive a pleasant sendoff after an enriching experience.
Enjoy your time on the Buniga Forest Walk with the Batwa Pygmies in the ancient Buniga Rainforest in Southwest Uganda near Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga Gorilla Park. After the Buniga Forest Walk, you can visit the Batwa Village which is nearby and see how the Batwa People live today.
If you like to go on the Buniga Forest Walk with the Batwa Pygmies during your safari with us – please contact us.