TOURISM POTENTIALS IN BATWA CENTRES
Rwamahano Batwa centers found in Kabale- south-western part of Uganda is good for mountain climbing which makes it the perfect base for a number of activities beyond Batwa museum, Batwa trail and entertaining music, dance and drama. The area is great for walking, hiking, mountain biking, cultural village tours and bird watching.
The forested peninsula and the nearby lake Bunyonyi attract a wide variety of birds. There is first-of-all Uganda’s National Bird: the grey-crowned crane, but we also see pelicans on the lake and flying birds from the Echuya forest. In the nearby swamp and on the islands one can find the African spoonbill and the sacred ibis. Raptor birds like kites, buzzards and hawks circle in the sky and the colorful sunbirds and busy weaverbirds can be spotted throughout the day.
For those wanting to see more of the region, a two-day hiking and canoeing trip to nearby Bunyonyi lakes can be organized through Batwa Eco Tourism Company Limited or AICM-Kabale with prior arrangement.
Walk through Kacereere Hills
Neighboring Rwamahano Batwa centre, Kacereere is a village that is located in Bufundi Sub county Rubanda formally Kabale District. It has a population of about 700 people who are basically peasants. The village neighbors Lake Bunyonyi and people often navigate across the lake for livelihoods. However, the journey through this village has been discovered to be interesting and enjoyable to the tourists visiting Rwamahano Batwa centre. The journey involves walking through narrow foot path, hills and valleys. The village is composed of scattered settlements with citizens that are free in providing guidance to the people walking through the area. Batwa are among the natives who are always involved in guiding tourists to their centre. While walking through, they are able to locate Lake Bunyonyi, birds which stay in the area, Bwindi-Echuya forest and many other interesting features in the area.
More than 200 bird species have been said to be staying in and around Bwindi -Echuya forest. This makes it a place of many little birds. The bird species include the White tailed Blue Monard, grey crowned cranes, the African Harrier Hawk, Herons and egrets, the Levillant cuckoo, the Cardinal Woodpecker and the Rufous-breasted wryneck. Weavers nesting on the Islands of Lake Bunyonyi, include the large golden, slender-billed Baglafetch, as well as the yellow-backed and spectacled weavers. The Batwa centers where most of these birds can be seen from is Rwamahano which is found in Muko Sub County and Murubindi found in Bufundi sub county. The centers a located on the periphery of Echuya forest and are close to Lake Bunyonyi where most of other birds stay
The crested crane is one of the birds in the crane family which is commonly found around the showers of Lake Bunyonyi. They often move in groups of two and tourists visiting Batwa find time and have a view of these birds. They are also seen in the periphery of Bwindi Echuya forest
Swimming and Canoe Trips
The guided man made trench canoe trip is a famous activity as you visit the Islands around and the beautiful hills. Most tourists who visit the Batwa most time enjoy participating on lake activities especially Cray Fishing and photography. Lake Bunyonyi which neighbors the Batwa of Murambo and Rwamahano is bilharzia-free and is one of the clearest water bodies in Uganda. It is the deepest Crater Lake in the country with around 6,500 feet above sea level. A canoe ride at night thrilling given the loud chorus of crickets, frogs, nocturnal birds magically in sync with the rippling water that makes the ride extremely interesting
View of lake Bunyonyi
Welcome to Lake Bunyonyi Uganda, The lake of Small Birds!Lake Bunyonyi also called Place of many little birds is located in south western Uganda between two districts of Kisoro and Kabale close to Rwanda border. It’s Located at 1,962 m (6,437 ft) above sea level, it is about 25 km (15.5 mi) long and 7 km (1.35 mi) wide. The depth of the lake is expected to vary between 44 m (144 Ft.) and 900 m (2,952 ft), which if true would make the lake the second deepest in Africa. It is one of the few lakes in the region that is rumored to be free of bilharzia and safe for swimming.
The temperature on the surface rises to 25 degrees Celsius (77ºF). Fish was introduced to the lake in the later years and in the 1930s fishing became profitable. Unfortunately in the 1960s the fish died massively as a result of a violent shallow mixing that is anticipated to be caused by wind. Subsistence fishing prevailed in the lake, people mostly caught clarias species – the lake’s depth and stratification makes it difficult for the breeding of the common Ugandan species Nile Perch and Tilapia. Nevertheless, 300,000 Nile Tilapias and Clarias fish were released in the lake at the end of 2002. Also present in the lake are Mud fish, Cray fish and Mirrowcarp – and plenty of their predators, otters.
Towns on its shores include Kyevu and Muko, while its 29 islands include Punishment Island and Bushara Island. It is a popular location for watersports and is known for the surrounding terraced hillsides. It is popular with both foreign and domestic tourists and there is a wide variety of tourist accommodation.
Many tourists and travelers who visit Batwa in Kabaleor after their Gorilla visit experience in Bwindi and Mgahinga impenetrable forests rest and relax at the beautiful Lake Bunyonyi as they enjoy the best scenery in the whole world, involve themselves into various cultural and community activities as well birding and canoe rides.
The Batwa centers that accessible and commonly visited include Rwamahano in Muko Sub County and Murambo in Butanda sub county. The centers have trained Batwa drama groups for entertainment, well equipped museum and old Batwa that good at story telling. Tour activities commonly done at Bunyonyi include canoeing, boat riding, and local tour, swimming, hiking the highlands around the lake, pygmy village tour and birding. Visitors who usually take safaris to Lake Bunyonyi generally enjoy and experience a breathtaking nature of Lake Bunyonyi which is a bilharzia free swimming lake.
VISIT BATWA MUSEUM
The Batwa museum is established in Rwamahano Batwa centre-Muko Sub County-Kabake District south western Uganda. The place is equipped with Batwa museum where you can learn about the Batwa People, a minority tribe in south western Uganda that used to live in the Mgahinga National Park. These people were hunter-gatherers and fierce warriors who depended on the forest for shelter, food and medicine. In creating the Mgahinga National Park, these people were forced out of the park and were later rehabilitated by charity organization for example African International Christian Ministry (AICM) in Kabale bought and gazetted ten (10) centres around the park for Batwa resettlement. Batwa were not consulted during before the eviction and they started staying on the periphery of Echuya forest and were earning a living from working on local farms of other people. The Batwa museum was therefore developed to teach visitors and the current generation about the lifestyle of these people – You will learn about how these people survived and survived while in the forest. After the museum experience under the guidance of Batwa, a walk is taken through Echuya forest to Kanyamaguru cave under Batwa guide while providing insights into their traditional forest life and culture. During the walk, Batwa demonstrate their past hunting techniques; ways of gathering honey and the trees they stayed in. They also point out the medicinal plants that were used while in the forest as well as demonstrating how to make bamboo cups.
SHELTER IMPROVEMENT IN BATWA CENTRES
Batwa are one of the minority tribes found found in Kigezi Region South Western Uganda. They are found in Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu and Rubanda Districts. The total number of Batwa according to the 2011 population census was 6500 in Uganda and 3500 in Kabale District. It is important to note that the Batwa lived harmoniously with animals in the forest and would go with animals wherever they went. This is because they depended on them for both food and medicine. The Batwa lived a hazardous life prone to all sorts of danger; they depended on wild/traditional medicine; and did not have hospitals or any organized livelihood where they originally stayed. They depended on hunting unlike today where there are no animals to hunt; and are not even allowed to be in the forest. Later in 1991 during the forest conservation program, the Batwa were evicted from the Bwindi-Echuya forest with neither consultation nor compensation. This left helpless while staying with the neighboring tribes that were superior to them. Later with time most organization came to the plight of the Batwa among them include AICM under the foundation of Rt.Rev. Enoch Kayeeye which over 1,000 acares of land and resettled the Batwa in ten (10) centers of Rwamahano, Murubindi, Murambo, Makanga, Kinyarushengye, Nyakabungo, Rushekye, Ryamihanda, Karengyere and Kagogo. Pilot Light foundation from USA came in partnership with AICM after they had read about what AICM was doing and came to ask if they could join in doing the work. The project has since then supported 150 Batwa with improved shelter, conducted trainings in better agronomic practices, mobilized Batwa into village savings and loans Associations
Batwa drama groups
Enjoy entertainment from Batwa dram groups that entertain people in Batwa tradition music, Dance and drama. The groups have been invited to provide entertainment on number social and public functions. Tourists who book to visit Batwa are always enjoy amusing entertainments in Batwa entertainment; Batwa are naturally good at entertaining people. The groups are also composed of old Batwa who are good at story telling especially about Batwa forest life experience. The entertainment is mixed with the playing of traditional instruments such as the local guitar, traditional flute and traditional trumpet and of which provide good melodies during entertainments