A Day with Batwa People – the Keepers of the Forest – Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The Batwa Experience with the First People of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Buhoma area
Batwa Experience with the First People of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the Buhoma area: A Day with the indigenous and original people of the Forest, the Batwa people, is an authentic cultural experience. You will learn how these ancient people lived in the Forest without destroying it. See how they hunted, gathered, and existed, leaving a small ecological footprint.
Today, the Batwa People are Conservation Refugees living at the edge of the Forest that was their home for Centuries. Conservationists like Dian Fossey portrayed the Batwa as Gorilla Killers, which they were not. The movie “Gorillas in the mist did much harm to the Batwa by describing them as Gorilla Killers, a label that has stuck to this day. The reality was that the Batwa saw Mountain Gorillas as part of their extended family.
The Batwa Experience in the Buhoma Area of Bwindi will be an eye-opener for you, a cultural insight into the lives of the original people of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the Batwa.
Batwa Experience with the First People of the Forest. The Batwa People lived, hunted, and gathered in their beloved Forest for thousands of years. Before any other people lived in what is today Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, there were the Batwa Pygmies – the indigenous people of the ancient rainforest.
The Forest provided everything that they needed. In turn, they left a minimal footprint in the Forest. They co-existed with Nature and their environment, only taking what the Forest provided and what they needed.
The concept of owning the Forest of owning land was foreign to them. They lived in harmony with their surroundings. They kept their traditional ways and culture even when other people groups moved into the areas surrounding them.
Times changed for the Batwa. In the name of conservation, preserving the ancient rainforest and its wildlife, birds, and primates, the keepers of the Forest were displaced without compensation. Since they did not own the land of the Forest, they had only used it. They became settlers, refugees, a people without, a people who lacked, a people on the verge of losing their traditional ways and culture, their Dignity. Ways of living they had known and practiced for thousands of years – their beloved Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
The Batwa Experience with the First People of the Forest is a fantastic time. The Batwa Experience keeps their ancient ways and traditions alive. It is a way of passing on the traditional ways and culture to their children and grandchildren. The Batwa can show visitors how they lived and existed in the Forest before the Bantu tribes came.
Today you can spend a day Experiencing Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with the Batwa People. They are people of small stature who miss living in the Forest.
The Batwa will guide and lead you through their beloved Forest, and you will learn their traditional ways. This ranges from handling bows and arrows to which plants, berries, roots, and bark pick for medicinal purposes to the gathering of honey. Eat a traditional meal – today, that is some goat stew and gain insight into a way of life that might be foreign to you and yet very enriching.
The Batwa Experience takes place outside of the park in an old-growth forest on land next to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Park.
The Batwa experience begins with a nature walk, a hike through the woods, and seeing the Forest through the eyes of the Batwa. Learn how they hunted the small animals they used for food, what things they gathered, and how traps and nets were used.
The Batwa Experience will also show you how they lived in huts made of grass, trees, tree-houses, and caves. Experience the Batwa village life of old, the sharing, of living as a community, as a people, learn the things they revered and cared for and almost lost.
You can experience the Life and Ways of the Batwa Pygmies. Your simple presence will honor them and their ways, and you will become part of restoring their Dignity. Dignity is what they lost as they were evicted from the Forest. Now they had to live in a world where others would insult and look at them as primitive and uncultured.
The Batwa Experience is an interactive time of learning, of seeing the Forest in new ways, the ways of old, a day of personal enrichment, something not to be missed while in the Buhoma area of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Plan a day for your Batwa Experience. The cost per person is minimal compared to what you have spent visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It directly supports the Batwa Development program.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is not only a place where you can visit and track the gorillas. It is also a place to experience the right culture and ways of life of the Original People of the Forest – the Batwa People.
That is a question that we are asked from time to time. The Batwa Experience is different from the proverbial Masai Village Visit that many Visitors have done in Kenya or Tanzania. It is an actual reenactment of how Batwa used to live in the. Traditions and ways that go back thousands of years. Ancient cultural forms existed until they were evicted from their land without compensation in 1991 and 1992. Now they are Conservation Refugees watching Gorilla Trekkers spend thousands of dollars while the Batwa are on the outside looking in on what was once their land.
The Batwa Visits allow Tourists to see the Forest through the eyes of the first people of the Forest. It is meaningful to tourists and the Batwa since it will enable them to keep their culture alive in the 21st Century. It certainly is not poverty tourism meant to evoke pity from Visitors. Most partake very glad that they met the Batwa people during Gorilla Trekking in Uganda.
Good News for the Batwa: In 2021, the Constitutional Court unanimously decided in favor of the Batwa and agreed that they were wronged. How that is implemented is yet to be determined.
The Batwa Experience with the First People of the Forest – helped by the Kellerman Foundation