Cultural communities to visit near Bwindi
Bwindi impenetrable forest is one of the most visited national parks in Uganda because of gorilla tracking. However, the park is not only home to wildlife, birds and gorillas, but also besides it are local communities. The cultural communities are comprised on the Bakinga and Batwa pygmies who used to inhabit the forest. These communities offer villages walks that take you to visit farms, conservation projects, black smiths, craft shops and also watch them dance, against the backdrop of Bwindi Impenetrable forest. All the proceeds that come from community visits go back to the local communities. Therefore, a visit to these local communities is a must add to your gorilla trekking safari in Uganda. Below we list some of the cultural communities to visit near Bwindi.
Buhoma Community development association.
This community was amongst the first community to start the community visits near Bwindi. It is located in main Bwindi and in a truly dramatic setting for your cultural tour.
Taking a walk in Buhoma community costs between 20 to 40 USD per person depending on your preferences. However, the standard nature walk takes 3 hours and starts with a stop at the craft shops, that sells handmade artefacts to include fabris, bee-wax candles, wood carving and so much more. All the artefacts are made by the local craftmen and women.
You will also visit the neigbouring batwa community that will perform songs and dances about their current life and also former life in the forest. And then the 3 hours community visit will end with a you learning how to make Juice and beer from bananas.
Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF)
Set on the southern sector of Bwindi, bordering DR. Congo is the Nkuringo community. Nkuringo community is one of the communities worth visiting because it offers a combination of culture and scenery because of its location, closer to some of the volcanoes. This cultural community visit near Bwindi, will reward you with views of Muhavura volcano and Nyirangongo volcano at a distance. You will also visit the black smith, Nicholas who will remind you of stone age time. The time when metals, where moulded, by burning them in charcoal. You will also visit sesilia’s home which is a series of traditional huts, with cooking pots, and an apparatus for distilling alcohol from bananas. Another must visit is the traditional healer, Pena who uses herbs and ointments to cure a great range of ailments.
Obviously, like any other community visit, this will end with a visit to the local artisan shop and also allow you to visit some of the Batwa people in the area.
Buniga Forest Nature Walk
Take a nature walk in Buniga forest to discover and learn more about the hidden treasure of Buniga forest. Buniga forest trail was created to reduce enchroachment and for an opportunity for the visitors to appreciate the fauna and flora that Buniga has to offer. Buniga forest is one of the pocket forests of Bwindi and is now protected and conserved by the Nkuringo community conservation and development foundation. Take a nature walk in Buniga forest to contribute to the conservation of this forest. More so, you will contribute to the sustainable survival of the surrounding communities.
Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC)
Are you looking to learn something new, whilst visiting gorillas in Bwindi forest park? Join one of the Nkuringo cultural centre workshops in the afternoon. You will learn about the cultures and traditions of the local people. You can opt to learn about the traditional African cooking, or learn how to weave baskets or even learn how to dance the tradition dances. The Kiga dance, requires energy and therefore a visit to a local primary school, and you watch children dance, can motivate you to dance. As the Bakiga believe that the best dancer is the one who shakes the earth. All these community visits are coordinated by the local communities and part of the proceeds go to the local community development to include IT classes for the locals, buying costumes for dance groups and so much more.
Nyundo Community Eco-Trails
After experiencing the adverse effects of climate change, including erosion, change in rainfall patterns and disappearance of mist, the Nyundo community decided to plant and protect more trees. To date the trees have regenerated and thus the rainfall patterns have stabilised. Hence their crops are able to grow and they can also organise nature walks in the new forest to get revenue. They now practice sustainable agriculture. Learn about the success story of this community by taking a nature walk in this new forest.
Or you can opt to visit King Byakara’s waterfall. This waterfall, is believed to be just for the kings. It is only the kings that are allowed to bathe in this waterfall. You can also opt to visit a blacksmith and also learn how to make millet bread.
Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)/ community visit near Bwindi.
Whilst in Bwindi you can visit the gorilla conservation centre. Learn how CTPH has improved the health of wildlife, livestock and also the people living in Buhoma close to Bwindi national park. Learn about how CTPH helps communities reduce transmission of disease between wild animals and livestock. You will also visit some aquaculture farms to learn about the sustainable methods of fish farming. The fish from these farms is sold to the local lodges/ hotels. All the proceeds go back to the community.
Rubuguri Village Walk (NCC)
This is an isolated community whose warm welcome makes the walk and hustle to go visit the community worthwhile. The walk through the villages, takes you through the swamp to a small homestead. Meet some of the residents and learn about their life in this remote village. Later you can visit St Peters primary school the only school in the region. Watch some children dance Kiga dance as they jump with Joy, up and down.