Batwa pygmies experience is one of the cultural activities done in Bwindi by visitors especially after gorilla trekking/habituation experience. The Batwa pygmies were the occupants of Bwindi impenetrable forest before it was gazetted as a national park in 1993 and thus used to live in the forest along with forest animals until they were relocated from the forest to the nearby villages and towns.
Bwindi has the best cultural encounter whereby several community initiatives have been setup as one way of survival and as well benefit from tourism to boost the community standards of living since eviction from their previous way of surviving in the forest. Given the fact that many visitors are undertaking gorilla trekking experience, it’s more likely to arrange a cultural encounter to some of the natives work like craft shops, cultural walks and enjoying cultural dances where you can directly support community projects and improve the standards of living of the natives.
We encourage visitors to take time and visit Batwa communities as an alternative activity to the park and learn about the history and tradition of the natives as they display some of their skills like making spears and arrows, hunting skills, making fire among others.
How to book for Batwa experience
Booking Batwa experience can be done before reaching the country by booking with a trusted local tour company to arrange and secure your appointment for the specified date for the activity on your safari or it can be arranged when you’re on the safari and book when you’re at the park by the help of your guide. Safari Vacations & Travel Services will help you arrange for this experience on your tour at a free cost once you book your safari with us.
How much does it cost to visit the communities?
Safari vocations and Travel services will assist you to book and secure your Batwa experience dates, the experience costs USD80 for one person, USD70 per person in a group of two to three people and USD60 in group of four or more, private arrangement costs USD100 per person, Volunteers USD30 per person, Filming USD400 Per group Per day and Resident Students at USD 15000 Per Person. If you want to film this program, it will cost you only USD400 per day per group. The experience takes a period of 4-5 hours where you can get to engage in different activities like trying a traditional Batwa bow and arrow in a mock hunting ritual, enjoy traditional Batwa meal, hear legends and songs from yesteryear and learn about medicinal plants.
Where to stay?
There several accommodation centers which have been set up around Bwindi and in the neighboring communities with locally made furniture that brings out the true African experience, some of these lodges in different sectors of Bwindi can be visited by different primates like gorillas which can better spice up your safari and as well beautiful views of the forest, lodges here range from Budget, mid-range to luxury. Depending on your budget you can book with us and we better recommend for you the best choices which you can choose from for your comfort on your trip. Lodges are located in different tracking sectors which include Rushaga include; Gorilla Safari Lodge, Silverback Lodge, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Bwindi Backpackers, Karungi Camp, Rushaga Gorilla Camp among others. Buhoma lodging options include Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Buhoma lodge, Engagi lodge, Silverback lodge, Buhoma Rest Camp, Haven lodge etc.
What is the Minimum Number of Visitors?
Visitors for Batwa experience are limited to a certain number per day with intentions of getting the best experience for the activity by the visitors, there maximum number of visitors for the experience is 12 for each of the sessions conducted in the community and thus there two sessions day per day ie; morning and afternoon session
Optional activities to include on Batwa experience
Guided nature walk.
Nature walks to Bwindi impenetrable forest is one of the activities that can be done along with Batwa experience. There different trails which have been developed across different sectors to the forest all offering great experience where you can witness scenic views of the surrounding as you enjoy the sweet melodies of the birds in the forest along with close view of certain primates, some of these trails include; The Buniga Forest Walk, Buhoma trail, Kashasha River Trail, Rushurra Trail and as well visit cultural leaders and other home stead activities.
Gorilla habituation is one of the amazing experience where you spend more hours with semi-habituated gorilla families and this activity is only done in Bwindi Impenetrable forest national park. The four hours you spend with the gorilla family is breathtaking and interesting. Gorilla habituation experience is conducted all year round from January to December. However, the most amazing time for gorilla habituation experience is done in the dry season of June, July, August and mid-September, December to February.
Mountain gorilla trekking.
Gorilla trekking experience is one of the most attractive attractions in Bwindi. The activity involves meeting the great gentle Apes in their natural habitat (jungle/forest) and each group visited per day visitors are limited to 8 people per trek apparently there four different sectors which are open to visitors to enjoy the activity. Bwindi gorilla trekking sectors include; Buhoma in the north, Nkuringo in the south, Ruhija in the east and Rushaga in the south.
Bird watching experience.
Bird watching is one of the activities that can be conducted in the park. Given the fact that some birds are seasonal in migration depending on the weather and thus the activity is mostly practiced especially during the rainy season. Bwindi has a population of over 347 species of forest birds recorded in the Park, at least 70 out of 78 montane forest bird species occurring in the Albertine Rift region are found in the forest, and 22 of the 36 endemic species in the area.
Make your cultural encounter by visiting Batwa pygmies in Bwindi and as well enjoy other attractions in the area by contacting Safari Vacations & Travel Services as your lead tour company to arrange your Uganda/ Rwanda Tour.