Before Mgahinga National Park was gazzeted in the early 90’s, it was home to the Batwa, a forest chiefdom that is now considered endangered due to their population below 350. During the three centuries of their stay here, they relied on it for day-to-day survival. Not only was it a source of food for them, it was a divine ground with prayer points. It further doubled as a source of clothing—thanks to its abundance of fig trees from which they got back-cloth. All this can be witnessed in a half-day tour that is guided by the Batwa elders.
You will spend only half a day with them, but you will feel as though you have known them for years. Nothing compares to the depth of insight provided by their love for their ancestral home. They not only guide you to and through the sights on the trail, but bring the sites alive with their knowledge and ability to make you sense and feel the surroundings.
Drumming troupes thunder through the jungles playing the tribe’s signature traditional wedding music: a rousing fusion of energizing reggae, and an ancient dance-hall that is easy to confuse for salsa.
The tour climaxes with a visit of Ngarama caves, the former palace of their kings.
What a legendary national treasure this is. Formed as a result of volcanic eruptions over 5,000 years back, this underground caves is spacious and has lots of chambers. That’s why the Batwa tribe ended using it as a palace for their royal family.
The cave is dark as it has only one entrance. Its chambers are rugged, its floor has ripples. Upwards, the ceiling is low, so please watch your head while exploring inside. To get to extreme corners, you will have to crawl as they are not that high. This wasn’t much of a problem to the Batwa though, they are less than 4 ft. tall.
Some parts of the cave are wet due to the constant dripping of water, so make sure you bring suitable hiking shoes and waterproof jackets.