Mgahinga national park is located in the southern part of the country covering an area of 33.9 km2. The park is mainly well known for gorilla trekking as it is home to mountain gorillas with 2 habituated gorilla groups that is Nyakagezi gorilla family and Hirwa that migrated from the Volcanoes national park in Rwanda.
Gorilla trekking in Mgahinga national park involves a simple hike on the lower gentle slopes of Gahinga Mountain; one of the eight chained Virunga volcanoes. Trekkers walk through the thick forest in search of the great apes, on encountering them, spend one magical hour watching the gorillas feed, play, and relax up in the tree branches, an experience that lasts forever.
Not only gorilla trekking, but there are also other things to do in the park which include golden monkey tracking, bird watching, hiking mountain Mgahinga, visiting the Ngarambe caves, and Batwa culture. Our mine enphasis in this article, are the Batwa cultural people found in the park.
However, having encountered the mountain gorillas, trekkers can still do the Batwa cultural trail in Mgahinga national park. It is the best trip extension one can ever have while on a gorilla trip in Uganda. Meeting the Batwa ancient people is the last thing that will fail to excite any traveler.
The popular Batwa Cultural trail in Mgahinga national park is a community bases safari product by the Batwa themselves. The Batwa is one endangered group of people in Uganda, located in the deep forests of Bwindi impenetrable forest. Perhaps if tourism wasn’t developed, it even wouldn’t be known to the world.
Together with the Uganda wildlife authority and a Non-Government Organization called the Pearls of Africa, the Batwa developed this trail as a way of enhancing more benefits from the tourism era that had hit their regions. The direct beneficiaries are purely the local people, so by taking on the Batwa cultural trail safari, you are directly improving the lives of the local people here.
The trail goes through the prolific vegetation on the mountain slopes, littered with several wildlife and birds, the flora is so amazing, all making the walk more than just an ordinary nature walk. Walkthrough the ancient forest homes of the Batwa pygmies with a themed interpretation of how they used to carry on their daily lives. The Mtwa guide takes you through the ancient pharmacy, the village herbalist, wild honey hives, and the caves that used to be home to the Batwa.
Experience the shelter building process, fire making, and food preparation of the Batwa, gather wild food, and taste the local cuisines. The trail also furnishes opportunities of watching several Batwa traditional performances through their notable music, dance, and drama.
One of the major icons of the Batwa trail is the ascent of the popular Garama Cave; a 200-meter lava tube extending beneath Gahinga Mountain. The subterranean Council chamber offers an outstanding platform for remarkable performances that no traveler deserves to miss while on any Uganda safari.
Batwa cultural trail starts at 8:00 am. From the mountain base of the three Virunga volcanoes found in Mgahinga national park; Sabinyo, Muhabura, and Gahinga mountains. It then goes through a series of numerous attractions that are simply beautiful to the eyes.
Trekkers are required to be with rain gear, as it is very common to rain at any time in Mgahinga, closed shoes, a hut, packed lunch, and enough drinks to sustain you through the trek that is to teach a lot about the Batwa traditions and legends.
Remember that while Mgahinga national park, travelers can still go for gorilla trekking and habituation, golden monkey trekking and habituation, birding as well as hiking to the top of the three chained volcanoes of Virunga.
On any safari in Uganda, Mgahinga national park should be on your list of to-do things, and particularly the Batwa cultural trail.