Cultural Encounters In Semuliki National Park

Batwa is among the ethnic groups that you should not miss out on encountering and see their appearance.

Cultural Encounters In Semuliki National Park

Cultural encounters in Semuliki national park- The park is well known for Sempaya hot springs and other tourist activities such as primate walks, bird watching, game drives, and cultural encounter experiences. Batwa is among the ethnic groups that you should not miss out on encountering and see their appearance. Semuliki national park at first was occupied by Batwa people but later they were evicted out of the Semuliki forest and it turned into a game reserve to a national park.

The Batwa people were hunters, fruit gatherers, and leaver eaters in the forest and did not do any forming of farming but all they wanted was found in Semuliki forest. The Batwa people came from Itura Congo forest. They were using click language and short in height. They also have a political leadership style of kingship.

The Batwa people are now living in Boma cultural village in Nabisoli at Ntandi outside the Semuliki national park where they have been given by the government. But they are accepted to access the Semuliki forest at any time they want for their cultural ceremonies and collection of resources like water, food, herbs, firewood yet they are restricted from hunting. They are also encouraged to live a normal human life.

These are facing much pressure from other communities and a lot of intermarriages which has led to changes in their ways of living and this is due to the great trend of globalization with its impact, of which they have started schooling. However, they still represent performances about their culture and norms through dance, drama, and music, at Ntandi

The Batwa cultural trail was created to visit the Batwa ceremonial locations and cultural performances held.

Karugutu – Kyabandara community

The community is found in the south of the park which takes 20 kilometers from Fort portal town. The place is inhabited by the Bakonjo people and they cultivated the mountain ranges of Rwenzori with crops like Soya beans, beans,  maize, cassava, and planted some trees on the mountain slopes. The most common method used here is terracing to avoid soil erosion from eroding their crops. Ntoroko market is the major source market is Ntoroko where they do take their harvest or they can supply them to Fort Portal or Bundibugyo.

Kasesenge – Kyakabaseke community

This community is positioned on the Eastern cliffs of the rift valley of the park. Semuliki Valley is full of the Bakiga who migrated to this place in the late 1960s as workers to the tea estates since the Bakiga are known as farmers and hardworking community tribe.

Ntoroko fishing community

Ntoroke fishing community is found near Semuliki River of Lake Albert in between 2 rivers that are Wasa and Muzizi. The local people around Ntoroko fishing community are known for fishing as their major economic activity. When visiting these people, you will get to know what method they use to catch fish, how they preserve fish, fishing gears used by the local people, and tilapia, mudfish, catfish are the common fish species caught at Ntoroko fishing community.

Rwebisengo Community

Rwebisengo community is located on the northwestern border of the reserve in the Semuliki flats. The community settled in this valley of Tooro-Semuliki national park. The local people around here are cattle keepers and they are mostly rear the long-horned ankole cattle where they get milk that they supply in areas like Karugutu and Bundiugyo district.

How to reach Semuliki national park for cultural encounters?

Semuliki national park is located in southwestern Uganda in Bundibugyo district, it can be accessed by road on 2 routes, especially if you’re coming from Kampala city, and 4WD vehicles are best for both routes.

Route 1:  Kampala-Fort Portal via Mubende is the shortest route than route 2 which covering over 180kilomaters and takes about 4-5 hours drive.

Route 2: you may use Kampala-Masaka via Mbarara and Kasese. It takes 465 kilometers and 7-8 hours.  The route is longer but it gives you a chance to visit other places along the way like Lake Mburo national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, and others.

After these amazing cultural encounters in Semuliki national park, you can go to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park for gorilla trekking and combine it with Batwa people, or visit Kibale forest national park for chimpanzee tracking, Mgahinga gorilla national park for tracking the rare golden monkey and among other national parks.

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