The Batwa Pygmies

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Overview & Features

Until recently, Bwindi’s mountain gorillas shared their forest with the Batwa pygmies, a tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in its caves and trees for more than 4,000 years. Although they never hunted gorillas, the Batwa’s proximity increased the risk of infection to animals that share 98 per cent of human DNA. Only an estimated 4,000 Batwa live in south-west Uganda, about 1,000 of them in the Kanungu district, which includes Bwindi. As the original dwellers of this ancient jungle, the Batwa were known as “The Keepers of the Forest.” The history of these small-statured people is long and rich. The Batwa survived by hunting small game using arrows or nets and gathering plants and fruit in the rain forest. They lived in huts constructed of leaves and branches, moving frequently in search of fresh supplies of food. The Batwa lived in harmony with the forest and its creatures, including the mountain gorillas, for millennia. Some anthropologists estimate that pygmy tribes such as the Batwa have existed in the equatorial forests of Africa for 60,000 years or more.

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2 Reviews

  1. Kakye says:

    I did this batwa experience and it was amazing. you get to know how these batwa people lived in this forest. they show you how hunted,gathered fruits, slept,their medicine, and the most scaring of all, their ‘god’. Its a good activity to do especially before going gorilla trekking the next day.

  2. Ivy Cardiff says:

    We experienced the 5 hour cultural experience with the Batwa. We hiked the trail we used the day before to track gorillas, but this day was completely different as we stopped along the way to learn how the Batwa had lived in this forest for 500,000 years. They demonstrated hunting, trapping, honey gathering and the use of medicine plants. They showed us how they cooked, how they made clothes, kept their children safe and how they slept. Then the provided a lunch and danced and drummed for us. It was a wonderful experience.

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