In case you ask yourself why several conservation agencies including the IGCP are jointly working with the local Batwa people living in this area, we advise that you imagine one of the locals sitting next to a trap waiting for the wildlife to fall into his snare as he waits for meat to carry back to his family to feed on.
One of the local guides within Buniga Forest who leads tourists during the guided forest walks revealed to us that before joining the tourism industry, he used to trap wildlife living in this forest. He went on to show us how they skillfully made the traps a skill that was passed down to him by his grandfather. They used to make traps which were centered on capturing either one of the limbs or the neck; however, some traps were designed to crash the backbones of monkeys.
Unfortunately, to the Batwa locals, having the skill to set a good trap is looked at as a significant cultural capability as well as very vital the continuity of their cultural considering that these people have fully depended on this forest for survival not only as a source of food but also for medicinal herbs.
Sad to mention is that within the east African Great Lakes region most of such verdant forests like Buniga Forest have been destroyed. Much so to add is that the few remaining forested areas within East Africa lack enough resources to uphold and support the ever growing human population. Because of the many human settlements that previously lived and depended on these forests including the Batwa were during the 1990s evicted
It’s because of the above summarized reason that agencies including the IGCP have initiated projects that give the local Batwa people power. Today these conservative local people are in the pipeline of evolving their lifestyle from the old forest life to living in permanent settlements outside the forest.
However, the evolution of the Batwa people into this new lifestyle is rather a challenging process considering that most of the other locals from different communities not only discriminate them but also over exploit them as casual laborers paying them just a peanut for heavy farm work. It is our responsibility to offer support to these people through their lifestyle transition and also grant them a chance to preserve their culture in a way that is not only beneficial to the Batwa people but conserves the forest and its wildlife.
There is a Buniga Forest Walk conducted within the Nkuringo area near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park an area scattered with lobelia and tree ferns, which offers visitors a chance to explore and experience this verdant forest. The walk is led by a local Batwa guide, and you will also get an opportunity to meet and interact with the local Batwa people. It is a very thrilling culture encounter during your safari in Uganda.
IGCP has extended a hand to aid in the enlargement of a huge management plan on the one square-kilometer Buniga Forest which is under the ownership of the Kisoro Local Government. However under an agreement, it is managed by the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation – NCCDF. With assistance from partner member – WWF based in Denmark, The IGCP, also helps in the development of the forest trail and also train as well as equip the local Batwa guides and also a study tour to the other Batwa cultural experiences within this region. The current responsibility of IGCP is to create uniqueness for this adventure trail, create a website and come up with an informative brochure, so to enable tourists become aware of the existence of this trail during which they will be able to meet the local Batwa people living in Buniga Forest. All this is carried out with authenticity and utmost respect to the locals to offer ultimate enjoyment to this who will decide to take on this adventure during the Safari in Uganda!
For more information about the Buniga Forest Walk please visit http://www.adventureugandasafari.com/