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Pygmy culture in Semliki and Bwindi

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The ancient equatorial forests of Africa are in some cases still home to the indigenous hunter-gatherer people that originally made these intense beautiful environments their homes and in Uganda’s case this includes the Batwa Pygmies.

It is believed that the pygmy tribes have lived in the forests through central and east Africa for about 60,000 years.

This is an enriching experience, learning about their ways and ‘reading’ the forest through Batwa eyes – finding wild honey, tracking animals through dense under growth, listening for the bird calls sounding alarm and making shelters from the tropical showers. The Batwa have not forgotten their ancient ways and have a longing to show and educate visitors and one also shares a traditional meal with them in forest shelters made from palm leaves and roots. Watch how the men re-enact a mock hunt for bush pig and how they collect honey high up in the canopy. The Batwa will also sing some of their songs about their families and they love dancing and mimicking some of the animals they hunt too.

The income from these walks helps to support the Batwa community whose very existence is in decline. They are some of the poorest native peoples in the world.

The Kellerman Foundation has set about improving living standards, increasing their western education, providing spiritual support as well as giving part of Bwindi (300 acres) back to the Batwa so that they can continue and pass down their information to younger generations.

In Semliki the pygmies that live there are from the Basua or Bambuti tribes and they manage to survive by showing visitors how they and their ancestors have lived in these lands for thousands of years.

Spending precious time with the Pygmies is a humbling affair and one very much recommended by us.

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