The Batwa People were the local inhabitants of the Virunga forests that are now gazetted national parks protecting the mountain gorillas. These people used to live in the northern section of the area. During the creation of these parks, the Batwa were forcefully evicted out of the forest. Today the Batwa now live on the edge of the forest, under not very favorable living conditions. They are not allowed to indulge in traditional hunting and cannot enter the parks.
During your visit to the Virunga, you can visit the local communities and share with these people. From Mgahinga National Park, you can take the Batwa Experience, a tour that focuses on the culture of these people.
Most Batwa are unable to earn money to provide for their families, as they have no land of their own. This tour is part of the give back program since part of the tour fee goes directly to the guides and performers, while the rest goes toward the community fund to cover school fees and books, and assist in the purchase of new land for the Batwa.
The tour encourages the practice of traditional skills such as sourcing medicinal plants, making bamboo cups and using bows and arrows – skills which are being lost as the Batwa integrate with the surrounding communities
The income provides an alternative to illegal poaching in the park
The Batwa Trail
During this moving cultural encounter tour, the Batwa demonstrate hunting techniques; gather honey; point out medicinal plants and demonstrate bamboo cups. Guests are finally invited to the sacred Ngarama Cave, once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes eerily around the depths of the dark cave, and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture. This is truly a unique experience for visitors to learn about the traditional culture of the indigenous people.
Switch off your flashlight in the Ngarama Cave, as ghostly singing begins to echo in the pitch darkness
Making fire requires team work! Watch your Batwa guides create fire to smoke out bees
See a traditional Batwa grass hut – quick to build and to demolish which was essential for this nomadic culture
Enjoy the lively dance at the cave´s entrance as the Batwa women sing a traditional song to welcome their guests
Walk through the pristine Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, with spectacular views of the Virunga Volcanoes
How to Book the Tour
Reservations for The Batwa Trail:
Book in Person at Uganda Wildlife Authority Offices:
Plot 7, Kira Road, Kamwokya, Kampala
UWA Mgahinga Gorilla National Park Office, Kisoro
Phone: +256-414-355000, or +256-312-355000
You can also book packaged tours through these tour operators and lodges:
- African Jungle Adventures (www.rwandagorillasafaris.com
- Go Gorilla Trekking (www.gogorillatrekking.com
- Gorillas & Wildlife Safaris (www.gorillasandwildlifesafaris.com
- Mountain Gorilla Tours (www.mountaingorillatours.com
- Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge
- Amajyambere Iwacu Camp
Full day tour (NOTE: this tour involves hiking at an altitude of aproximately 2,500 meters for at least 4 to 5 hours)
Half day tour
What to Bring