Batwa Trail and Experience 

Batwa trail and Batwa experience are amongst the major cultural activities enjoyed by tourists on a Uganda safari just after Gorilla tours which always lead most of Uganda safari itineraries. However, the batwa trail and batwa experience are done in two different but beautiful national parks where batwa trail is done in Mgahinga gorilla national park and the batwa experience is done in Bwindi impenetrable national park. Batwa are known as the ancient people who lived in the wilderness of Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi impenetrable national park before the two parks were gazette in year1991 which led to their eviction from the forest forcefully by the government in order to protect the endangered mountain gorillas that were at a point of total extinction in the wild. This greatly affected the batwa since they were left with nothing to do than to work as porters for the neighboring communities and obtain some food as the only way they used to feed themselves was through hunting and gathering in forest that was now a permanent home of mountain gorillas. Their lives were greatly in danger and they had to toil in order to survive until some organizations came up and supported them with basic needs, schools, and health facilities to better their living and as of now, they act as local tour guides and have some associations that have really helped them to improve their standards of living. 

Batwa Trail and Experience 

Batwa trail in Mgahinga Gorilla national park: The batwa trail takes tourists onto a practical journey inside the impenetrable forest inside Mgahinga gorilla national park via different walking trails while explaining different things that used to happen in the forest where these batwa were residing in harmony with gorillas. This fascinating activity was introduced in the 2011 in order to ensure that the culture of the batwa tribe doesn’t die as their population was reducing. With this activity, the batwa are known worldwide and several tourists visit Uganda time after time to engage in the Batwa trail. This activity can be done after trekking Nyakagezi gorilla family which is the one and only habituated gorilla family in Mgahinga gorilla national park or after tracking the golden monkeys or even after hiking one of the volcanoes in Mgahinga gorilla national park within Virunga massif. Before the trail begins, there must be a prayer which is usually led by one of the batwa elders to seek their gods in the forest for total protection and later on start the journey alongside local batwa guide and armed rangers as they explore different spots where including the caves that were used as offices for the batwa’s council and then identify different plant species and learn about various diseases which they heal, practice hunting and gathering to obtain some bush animals and honey and finally return to the lodge. Be sure to encounter a lot of attractions along the way including primates such as gorillas, golden monkeys, mammals, birds and have a glance at some volcanoes that thrill in Mgahinga gorilla national park.

As mentioned earlier, Mgahinga gorilla national park is also the best destination for gorilla trekking especially by visitors from Rwanda and also the best place to visit for volcanic hiking where at least 3 volcanoes are hiked from Ugandan side without forgetting the breath taking birding adventure with in the wilderness of the park where plenty of birds are seen.

Batwa experience in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park: Batwa experience is conducted in Bwindi impenetrable national park in southwestern part of Uganda the pearl of Africa. A visit to Bwindi impenetrable national park for gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation experience enables tourists to also engage in a batwa experience which is more theory than practical. The batwa experience means that tourists have to visits the homes of the batwa people who reside close to Bwindi impenetrable national park. While at their homesteads, the batwa demonstrate and explain to the tourists about their past life style when they still lived in the forest with gorillas including the means used to obtain food which was through hunting small animals and gathering fruits and honey from the forest. During the batwa experience, tourists also get an opportunity to really listen to the stories about how the batwa used local herbs to treat different diseases, how they slept in the forest and many more. While on this batwa experience, tourists are in position to visit different association and support these batwa if possible by buying their crafts, visit the traditional heal who used only local herbs to cure several infections and to wind up with the batwa experience, enjoy the thrilling entertainment of their cultural dances and drama that makes an entire batwa experience a breath taking activity that one would wish to enjoy again and again especially after listening to the sweet melodies as the batwa sing their conservation song. The batwa experience just began as a way of introducing the young batwa into their real culture by the cultural leaders until the government decided to make it an open activity for tourism and indeed it attracts several tourists who would wish to hear directly from these people who dwelled in the same habitat with gorillas.

Apart from batwa experience, Bwindi impenetrable national park is also the best destination gorilla trekking with the largest population of habituated gorilla families for trekking, it’s also the best place for gorilla habituation carried out in Rushaga sector which is still the only place in the whole world where gorilla habituation experience is conducted. The park is yet the best place destination for birding tours especially in Mubwindi birding grounds where a good number of bird species exist.

Batwa Trail and Experience 
Batwa Trail and Experience

Accommodation facilities in Mgahinga gorilla national park

There are plenty of accommodations inside and outside the park where tourists on a batwa trail in Mgahinga gorilla national park can reside and these accommodations include both budget, midrange and luxury. Examples of these lodges include; Mount Gahinga lodge, Amajambere Iwacu Community cam, Mucha Hotel, Kisoro tourist hotel Travelers’ Rest hotel among others.

Accommodations in Bwindi impenetrable national park

Here are some of the accommodations with in Bwindi impenetrable national park where tourists can reside and have sound rest while on a batwa experience and these include; Buhoma community rest camp, Clouds Mountain gorilla lodge, Engagi lodge, Lake Kitandara Bwindi camp, Gorilla resort, Volcanoes safaris Bwindi lodge, Sanctuary gorilla forest camp, Silverback lodge, Eco Marvels gorilla resort, Bwindi Guest house, CTPH Gorilla conservation camp, Mahogany springs camp, Bwindi View Bandas, Gorilla Friends lodge, Nkuringo gorilla camp, Gift of Nature lodge, Ruhija gorilla safari lodge, Ruhija gorilla mist camp, Ruhija gorilla friends resort, Mantana tented camp and many more almost well distributed in different sectors of the park.

When is the best time to visit Uganda for the Batwa trail and Batwa cultural Experience?

Uganda the pearl of Africa can be visited at any given period of time though for the batwa trail, dry months are highly recommended when the walking trails in the forest are a little bit dry and easily passable , even the leaves of the trees are minimal for easy penetration. However, for the batwa experience, any time is good to visit them in case they are located outside the park unless there is a need to trek gorillas thus dry months remain the perfect season for visiting both Mgahinga gorillas and Bwindi impenetrable national park. However, do not hesitate to visit Uganda during rainy months because at this time the parks are less congested and normally after rains the sun never forgets to shine again.

Getting there

Both Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga gorilla national park can be accessed by either road or by air since they are both situated in Kisoro district.

By road, Tourists from Kampala take a long road drive via Masaka- Mbarara- Kabale- Kisoro and finally connect to the parks. However, there is also a short distance used by tourists who instead land into Kigali and then cross the border into Rwanda making it shorter drive for about 3-5 hours than driving from Kampala which takes a full day (11-12 hours)

By air, tourists take charter flights from Entebbe or Kajansi airfield to Kisoro airstrip and then drive to respective parks.

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