The Batwa, also known as the “Pygmies”, stir our imagination. Often perceived as tricky to deal with, they are amazing and friendly people — as long as you treat them with respect. The Gorilla Highlands team’s long partnership with the Batwa is a guarantee that this Echuya Forest trip will get you the best experience. It includes a nature walk in Echuya to showcase the impressive herbalist knowledge of the Batwa but the emphasis is on the way they live today, and on friendly interaction with them.
If you come with your family, children get a thrilling opportunity to play hunters: during the nature walk they learn how to shoot with Batwa bows at targets representing Echuya’s past wildlife.
NB: Echuya Batwa Adventure does not include costumes or imitating bush life. It is focused on how people live today. No Batwa group in Uganda live in the forest anymore.
This is our suggested Echuya Batwa Adventure programme (timing can be adjusted to your preferences) ...
9am: Departure from Kabale/Lake Bunyonyi; our guide can meet you at any place. Using the scenic road around Bunyonyi you will drive to the northern part of the lake. During the 1-hour journey, the guide will share with you background information on Batwa and their environment.
10am: Start of a forest walk in Echuya Forest Reserve, with a Batwa leader explaining their history and current situation in the forest, the flora and fauna of Echuya.
There are two options:
- the longer 1.5-2 hour trail is not demanding and therefore recommended for anyone; it takes you to the place where Batwa used to slaughter the animals they hunted;
- the shorter 30-45 minute trail is meant for visitors who have difficulty walking.
The trails are circular and return to the starting point. A big group can be divided into two subgroups and people doing the short trail can wait at a local shop.
12pm: A steep walk to the picturesque Rwamahano Batwa settlement, ending with a chat with the community. The Batwa like their visitors to first tell them something about themselves and why they came to Rwamahano. The conversation ends with bows and arrows, dancing and singing.
1pm: Departure from Rwamahano; on the way home we would wish to listen to your impressions...