Batwa Pygmies (The Batwa tradition)

Believed to have originated from the central parts of Africa and democratic republic of Congo, the Batwa (pygmies) are the once marginalized, ethnic group of individual’s first to be known as the keepers of the forest. While some Batwa relations took up residency in the Ituli and Bambuti forests in DRC. All were known as hunters and gatherers. Before being forced out of the forest for conservation purposes, Batwa depended entirely on frest resource for their shelter, clothing and food. Some Batwa continue with  their traditional ways of hunting and gathering but most of to day’s Batwa sustain themselves through other means such as various types of agriculture, pottery making and fishing.

The Batwa tradition experience;

The idea behind the creation of the Tradition was with the goal of increasing the Batwa’s earnings through means of employment while at the same time; reduce pressures to forest resources. Buhoma community Rest camp’s Batwa Tradition is a guided hiking/ walking tour (1 ½ – 2 hours) established to provide its visitors a better understanding of the Batwa’s early way of life. It is also an important means of keeping Batwa customs alive in the minds of the Batwa children. It is meant to be enjoyed without distortion or abuse of the Batwa culture. Visitors have the opportunity to experience the Batwa’s way of life. Visitors will be introduced to a Mutwa GUIDE (Pygmy) who will explain various Batwa traditions at each stop.


The Batwa’s first dwelling consisted of caves and buttressed roots of fig and mahogany trees but after leaving the forest they learned to construct temporary huts to live in Because of the government decision to protect the natural environment Batwa were rehabilitated and several NGO”S built corrugated iron roofted houses for them some Batwa however, refused usin g them stating the houses were noisy when it rained and that the noise disturbs their ears.

Batwa clothing was made from bark cloth and animal pelts but upon leaving the forest, factory made apparel g began to be utilized. When  deciding to marry. Batwa males paid for their brides by way of flying squirrels and honey from stingless bees. Today’s bride price corresponds to an individuals wealth which can be two to three goats.

The Tradition 
Station 1-3. The beginning of Batwa Tradition commences with the Mutwa guide discussing the various types of plants and insects that the Batwa utilized for a variety of reasons such as;

  • Impatience Burton (food). Stinging nettle 9vegetables). Cocktail ants (crushed and utilized as medicine for skin rashes), rumex berquaerti . Smilax aceps (baskets and stretchers). Red ginger. Urera hypselodedron (ropes). Phytolacca dodecandra (utilized to reveal guilty criminals)00000. 0Polycias fulva (carved cups and plates). Cassine ethiopica  (produce fire ), and parinari excels (Viagra)

At Station 4, Here visitors learn how the Batwa buried deceased family members using the buttresses of fig trees. There will also be a demonstration on the removal of a wasp nest to illustrate the medicinal benefits of its materials in order to treat various types of burns.

At Station 5, Raphia palm threads are revealed to on lookers with a discussion on their many uses such as the homemade wires created and utilized in animal traps

At Station 6, a demonstration on the use of Fire and collocation pots illustrates to viewers the traditional methods used to hunt and collect honey.

At station 7, Visitors are being welcomed into a traditional homestead by the eldest man of the house along with his singing family. The different shapes and names (Omuririmbo, Akafuha, and Kyamutwara bwashesha) of each structure art this station are all very unique in their uses and meaning. The structures in trees were for the safety of the children while adults went off in search for food.

Tips For walkers;

  • Walking/ hiking shoes, long pants ad sleeves are advisable
  • Walking / hiking stick
  • Bring protective rain gear, sun hat, and sunscreen
  • Carry water and a light snack
  • Photographs of scenery are allowed but please ask your guide for permissions where taking photos of the local people
  • Your guide carries a first aid kit

The Batwa Trail

The Batwa Trail experience is conducted in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, where the group of indigenous Batwa race, used to reside.  This nature walk tour introduces visitors to this African tribe’s

life style.  Visitors will learn about the Batwa’s cultural heritage during this cultural encounter experience.  The funds from this tour are part of a give back program that supports the indigenous people’s cultural heritage by helping them purchase new land, provide education and books.