The Batwa People in Bwindi; In the surroundings of Bwindi Impenetrable national park, there are majorly two tribes that live there; the Batwa and the Bakiga. Whenever tourists visit the park for gorilla trekking, they also take part in cultural tours whereby they interact with these two tribes and learn about their cultures. The cultural tours involve watching and participating in their traditional dances, visiting blacksmiths and traditional healers, and guided community/forest walks.
Background of the cultural tours
The cultural tours are mainly based on the traditional way of living among the Batwa people that inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable forest before it was gazetted in 1991. To explore the Batwa culture, visitors are guided by Batwa guides and are taken on a community walk in the Ruhija village, which is located within the misty foothills of Bwindi Impenetrable national park
Activities embedded in the cultural tours
During these walks, visitors are shown how the natives lived in the forest before they were evicted. They get to see their small huts, the ancient hunting skills (visitors are taught how to shoot with a bow and arrow), traditional honey harvesting techniques, fire-making skills (by rubbing sticks together) and their beautiful and exciting conventional dances.
Moreover, the tour guides take you to visit the local schools in the village as you embark on the community walks. These schools were set up for orphans and disadvantaged children. One of the heartwarming facts about these children is that they still have the motivation and hope to pursue their dreams despite their lack of access to modern education. These children and their teachers always give an exceptional welcome performance to their visitors, known as the gorilla song/dance.
Concerning visiting traditional healers, visitors follow their guides to where these healers stay/work. While there, they learn how leaves, roots and stems can treat various ailments among the locals.
A saying goes, “The way to a man’s heart is through their stomach.” This is backed up by the delicious local cuisine and banana brew that the Batwa People in Bwindi prepare. You can get a chance to enjoy both of them and, after that, conclude the cultural tour by watching/taking part in their vibrant traditional dances.
More about these walks
The journey through the Ruhija village takes 2 to 4 hours. However, this journey depends on the time taken up during stopovers and the walking pace by the visitors. Before embarking on these walks, one should prepare to hike through the hills and slopes. Aside from the community walks, tourists can also get a golden opportunity to experience fantastic nature walks, which involve exploring the incredible waterfalls, caves and various bird species.
Accommodation facilities for cultural tourists in Ruhija
The Ruhija sector has various accommodation facilities (budget and mid-range) that provide excellent services and comfort to visitors who go on cultural tours. Some of them include, among others, Gorilla Mist Camp, Agandi Uganda Eco-Lodge, Bakiga Lodge, Cuckooland Tented Lodge, Eco-marvels gorilla resort, Gift of Nature Lodge, Ruhija Community Rest Camp and Ruhija Safari Lodge.
What is the best time of the year to go for cultural tours?
Cultural tours take place throughout the year in the Ruhija sector. However, taking part in these tours in June, September, December, and January is best. These months are dry and thus favour hiking in a way that the trails are drier and are, therefore, easier to navigate.
Access to the Ruhija sector
You can access the sector by air by flight from Entebbe International Airport to Kihihi airstrip. Alternatively, you can travel by road. That will be an 8-9 hours drive from Kampala to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Travelling by road is usually better due to the vast amounts of sightseeing along the way.
COVID-19 and Ebola travel guidelines
Please follow all the necessary COVID-19 and Ebola travel guidelines for safety and good health during your safari. One of our major priorities is to provide the best possible security and comfort during your tour. Please don’t worry- you will be in safe hands.
Some of the travel guidelines include;
- wearing and carrying a sufficient number of surgical masks
- moving with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- vaccination against COVID-19 or taking a PCR test etc
Book your safari with us today and get an all-around safari experience. We offer exciting adventures in the wild, complemented by a touch of the beautiful African culture. Spending time with the locals and learning their stories, history, and traditions will transform you.