+256 704347452 info@paradiseadventurevacations.com
+256 704347452 info@paradiseadventurevacations.com

Batwa Trail in Mgahinga

Batwa Trail in Mgahinga

Batwa Trail in Mgahinga, The Twa, also known as the Batwa, are pygmy people. Who have lived in the Albertine Rift Valley region since immemorial time. Their society’s origins in the Bwindi Forests and Mgahinga is dating back nearly 60,000 years. Hence making them one of the oldest groups of people inhabiting the earth.

The Batwa Trail of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in southwestern Uganda is a Cultural Tourism product. That ties a culture back to the forest that it depends on. The aim of this project is to support the Batwa community to settle outside Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in order to create a better World for them.

This tourism product was officially launched in June 2011 by the Uganda Wildlife Authority. The United Organization for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and also the Kisoro District local government. This was all done with the support from the African Wildlife Foundation/International Gorilla Conservation program and other partners. By using the knowledge from the Batwa’s forest-base culture to support the community.

About the Batwa Trail

The Batwa Trail runs across the lower slopes of the two Volcanoes “Muhavura and Gahinga,”. A forest containing rich biodiversity including; the mountain gorillas.

The Batwa Trail Experience has relaunched the small and little known Mgahinga Gorilla National Park which is only 33.7sqkm.

One of the most innovative initiatives by the organizations supporting the Batwa and the government of Uganda is the Batwa Trail. Which carried out only in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and the Batwa cultural experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. This recent initiative aims at empowering the Batwa socially and economically.

The Batwa trail  an experience designed for visitors interested in understanding the way of life and history of the Batwa people during their life in the forest. By the end of this activity, visitors will understand why the Batwa have still failed to adapt to life outside the forest and may not be benefiting from gorilla trekking or other tourism activities.

The Batwa trail  only carried in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and it is different from the Batwa Community Experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. This is because the Batwa Trail is a longer experience which takes place within the forests of Mgahinga. The Batwa Community experience in Bwindi is usually done with the Batwa communities living outside Bwindi Impenetrable forest.

This 5 hour Batwa Trail is usually led by the Batwa themselves and it begins after the guide “a Batwa” kneels down to beg the spirits to keep everyone safe during the journey through the forest. After the prayer, the Batwa guide leads visitors through the dense forest and around the slopes of the Gahinga and Muhavura Volcanoes.

As the guide takes the lead, you will realize that to the Batwa, every plant and weed in the forest has an importance. The guide will often stop to pluck off leaves from certain trees and demonstrate its medical importance. You will see that there are leaves that help in case of pressure, diabetes, fever and even the common cold.

Beside the forest medicines, you will also learn how the Batwa build their huts, prepare their traditional dishes, harvest honey and also make fire using 2 sticks. The Batwa were good artists too and will impress you with some of their products like cups made out of bamboo trees. Throughout this trail, the Batwa will narrate stories that will highlight their history and life in the forest.

This experience usually ends with an exploration of the Ngarama caves, a 200 meter-long lava tube beneath Mount Gahinga. These Caves were once home to the Batwa King, where the women of the community perform a sorrowful song which echoes mysteriously around the depths of the dark cave and leaves guests with a striking and moving sense of the richness of this fading culture.

These dark and quiet ancient caves have a great significance to the Batwa. The Batwa consider the Ngarama caves sacred for it used to be the king’s palace and the main food store or granary. During wars with their Bantu neighbors, they used these caves as meeting and hiding points. After the Ngarama caves, you will conclude the trail by witness a traditional dance performance from the Batwa men and women.