Self-drive car rental Uganda is undoubtedly a magical and inspirational option to discovering the hidden treasures of these beautiful lands including authentic local experiences and with no doubt the Batwa cultural encounter is one of the most rewarding experiences. Yes, I agree no more, Uganda is a small beautiful detailed landlocked country, with over 50 tribes and cultures made of several norms and values.
The Batwa are an exceptional tribe living in the southern part of the pearl of Africa with a rich cultural heritage. They were and still are (not a big number) forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers based in the great lakes region of Central Africa, and are widely accepted as the original inhabitants of the region. As times went on forests were encroached on by conservation agencies’ claims which made the original owners, the Batwa, squatters. In Uganda they lived in the Bwindi impenetrable forests and Mgahinga forests that were gazetted in 1991 hence the eviction of the Batwa. However, the government tried fitting them in the society but up to today, their rights as indigenous peoples are neither recognized nor respected
Who are the Batwa?
Commonly referred to as the God fathers of the Forest basically in Bwindi impenetrable National park before it was gazetted into a Unesco site. For Conservation measures, the Batwa who still live the ancient life and who shared the forest with the mountain gorillas were taken out of the forest and allocated land on the boundaries of the Famous forest but still live their Ancient life.
They are one of Uganda’s uniquely cultured people you cannot afford to miss while on a self-drive car rental Uganda safari in the magnificent south western rainforest areas of Uganda. Wondering why, right? Here is the thing, the Batwa stand out as the shortest group of people with an adult male rarely growing beyond 1.5m height and their livelihood is forest based. Look, we are talking human beings not animals surviving entirely on what the forest has to offer, right from the food they eat to the homesteads they set up. Interesting!
For food, the males engage in hunting while the women gather fruits and edible plants to supplement the meat. Their houses are majorly made of bamboo and leaves or grass all got from the forests and they are set up in a small area that they cleared the vegetation of.
Where to visit them:
These Exceptional and ancient God fathers of the forest can be found in a few destinations in Uganda. The biggest number lives on the Boundaries of Bwindi, Mgahinga and Semuliki in western Uganda. It is absolutely possible to reach out to the Batwa in their original homes while on a self-drive car rental Uganda safari.
How to visit them
Different communities can be accessed on a self-drive car rental Uganda safari with the help of a local site guide or make use of an insightful driver guide to easily access the Batwa people. Please be advised that the Batwa are very naughty but interesting people to visit and in this case a site guide or a driver guide comes in handy
What to expect with the Batwa
Considering that the Batwa are very naughty people, it is very much advisable that you should make use of the local site guides but, the visit is extra ordinarily rewarding. Expect traditional dances, a visit to their local ancient homes, their ancient way of living, their ancient health system that clearly portrays the ancient lifestyles of a typical forest survivor. The experience is breathtaking as you get the feel of nature taking care of its people like a mother taking care of her child, where she provides the food and even feeds the little baby but cannot chew for it. Same way, all the Batwa need to do in the forest is put to use all the forest components to survive.
So, that’s just for the eyes, how about we shake off the body fatigue from sitting in the car as we drive through these places? Talk of the Batwa music dance performance as entertainment to the guests. You can join in and free up your body as you enjoy the unique tunes and moves of Uganda’s amazing forest dwellers.
However much the Batwa experience is a doable and interesting activity on a self drive car rental Uganda safari, there are so many other cultural encounters that can be experienced around Uganda and these are, the Karamojong culture on the Eastern corridor of Uganda, the Sebei public male circumcision, the Tooro culture, Buganda culture, to mention but only a few of the 52 tribes in Uganda.