Buniga Forest is one of the remaining forest tracts neighboring Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. This hidden gem offers shelter to a number of wildlife, bird and plant species that can be explored through this popular trail hence worth your time during Uganda safaris.
Due to the increased encroachment into the forest and human activity that affected the rich biodiversity, the Buniga Forest Trail was established by the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) so as to ensure its conservation and manage it for the ecotourism-related activities. All in all, the Buniga Forest walk is a way of involving the Batwa people in Conservation.
Besides conserving Buniga Forest, the proceeds from this activity (nature walk) also benefits the villages surrounding the Forest hence encouraging them to actively participate in the protection of this precious resource. Additionally, the trail is one of the interesting ways that the Batwa pygmies (people of the forest) show you the way they lived, hunted and gathered in the Forest before being displaced when Bwindi Impenetrable Forest was gazetted into a National Park in 1991.
It is said that these people were the first inhabitants of Bwindi Forest and because they didn’t wish to live homeless lives, the trail was established because the Batwa have knowledge about Buniga Forest. Expect nature and ancient experience when you engage in the life changing activity. Luckily, you can be able to sight some of the residents of the Forest such as Chimpanzees, Red-tailed monkeys, the Black and white colobus monkeys as well as Forest birds among others. You will also get to see exceptional flora species such as the tree ferns and giant lobelia among others.
Not only that, the trek will give an insight to the plants, mainly fruits, barks, berries roots and leaves that the Batwa used to gather for food as well as the ones used for medicine and surprisingly, majority of them still depend on traditional medicines. You will also see the local materials used for building huts and making backcloth among others.
The Mutwa (singular) guide will also show you some of the ways used for gathering honey. Much as it is still not known by most tour operators, don’t miss to participate in this exceptional adventure during your gorilla trekking safaris. There are also handcrafts made by some of the local women and can be bought to keep memories of the place. It is undeniable that these people were the original inhabitants of the Forest and the entire region before other people migrated to the area hence displacing them. During the nature walks, you will learn some of the ancient traditions that date back to thousands of years back and were passed on to different generations. Now that they are people in transition without the forest that used to be their home, there is great danger for the next generation losing their rich ancient ways.
You will learn some of the intricate methods of hunting, collecting honey and gathering in the forest. Surprisingly, the Batwa left a small footprint of their presence behind very different from other places in the World. It is because the forest was considered sacred hence need to be protected from exploitation by the people of the Forest.
Cost of the Buniga Forest walk
Tourists are charged only $25 per person to participate in the Buniga Forest Trail and as earlier mentioned, part of the proceeds goes back to the Nkuringo Community Conservation and Development Foundation (NCCDF) which pays the local guides and operates the Community Conservation Projects while the rest goes to the Local government.
Therefore after your gorilla trek, you can engage in the Buniga Forest Walk to learn about the Batwa people of the ancient Buniga Forest near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. You get a chance to learn about their ancient traditions of hunting and gathering.