Cultural Tourism

Nkuringo Cultural Centre (NCC) is a Community Based Organization (CBO) found in Uganda (Africa) in Kisoro District neighbouring Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. The Park is a World Heritage Site and is home to about 300 gorillas, half the world’s remaining Mountain Gorillas. Nkuringo Cultural Centre was formed by a group of people from the Community living near Bwindi National Park. Led by Fidelis Kanyamunyu, the group embarked on a Batwa community preservation program to help in preserving the Batwa culture and traditions and also ensure their livelihood outside the forest. NCC has put together various community tourism aspects around Bwindi, culminating in what they call “The Batwa Cultural Experience”, which is a living museum.
In April 2012 Nkuringo Cultural Centre installed Aggrey Mwesigwa as a Board Member of the Centre. He is the founder and proprietor of Trek Africa Eco-Tours, a tour and travel company specializing in customised itineraries in Uganda. He brings with him a wealth of expertise in enterprise development and management in both public and private sectors.

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Bwindi’s mountain gorillas shared their forest measuring about 127 sq miles with the Batwa pygmies, a tribe of hunter-gatherers who lived in its caves and trees for more than 4,000 years. Although they never hunted gorillas, the Batwa’s proximity increased the risk of infection to animals that share 98 per cent of human DNA.
When the National Park was gazetted in 1991, the Batwa were evicted from the forest to protect the primates, becoming conservation refugees. With no land rights or compensation, they were left to fend for themselves, living in a society that stigmatised them and for which they were totally unprepared. Only an estimated 4,000 Batwa live in south-west Uganda.

.In 2000, a survey conducted by an American physician, Dr Scott Kellerman, and his wife, Carol, revealed shocking statistics: life expectancy of the Batwa was 28 years, and four in 10 would die before their fifth birthday. The tribe was dying out, along with its unique culture and intimate knowledge of the forest.

 

Batwa Children with their mother near Nkuringo Sector of Bwindi

Batwa Children with their mother near Nkuringo Sector of Bwindi

.In 2000, a survey conducted by an American physician, Dr Scott Kellerman, and his wife, Carol, revealed shocking statistics: life expectancy of the Batwa was 28 years, and four in 10 would die before their fifth birthday. The tribe was dying out, along with its unique culture and intimate knowledge of the forest.

Aggrey Mwesigwa and Dr Arthur Mugisha, Uganda Country Director FFI with a Batwa family near Nkuringo

Aggrey Mwesigwa and Dr Arthur Mugisha, Uganda Country Director FFI with a Batwa family near Nkuringo

Through the Tourist Industry, the Cultural Centre works among the Batwa and other communities living around the Bwindi Park to create work opportunities and promote creativity like handcrafts, performing arts, bird watching, canoeing, hill climbing and village walks. This creates an alternative income to gold, timber, bush meat and honey, which the communities used to get from the National park.

Aggrey Mwesigwa, Founder of Trek Africa and Army Scarth a volunteer with NCC being escorted by a Batwa family after a visit in Nkuringo

Aggrey Mwesigwa, Founder of Trek Africa and Army Scarth a volunteer with NCC being escorted by a Batwa family after a visit in Nkuringo

The Executive Director Fidelis showing Directors of NCC and a group of volunteers the “Itambira” demonstration garden in Rubuguri Due to the terrain of high hills and heavy rainfall that washes away fertile soils, agriculture alone may not be sufficient alone to sustain the communities. NCC through community tourism the local inhabitants get an increased understanding of how much biodiversity especially gorillas mean for their survival as an important conservation aspect that brings to them benefits for their sustainable livelihood.

The Executive Director Fidelis showing Directors of NCC and a group of volunteers the “Itambira” demonstration garden in Rubuguri
Due to the terrain of high hills and heavy rainfall that washes away fertile soils, agriculture alone may not be sufficient alone to sustain the communities. NCC through community tourism the local inhabitants get an increased understanding of how much biodiversity especially gorillas mean for their survival as an important conservation aspect that brings to them benefits for their sustainable livelihood.

NCC Board Meeting April 2012

NCC Board Meeting April 2012

Batwa Community program

NCC brings a sense of self-esteem, pride and confidence among the pigmies who were evacuated in their habitat (Bwindi), which also was their sole dependence. Their beautiful music, Dances is exhibited in the Centre for them to earn a living.

A Batwa elderly woman doing a welcome dance in Nkuringo

A Batwa elderly woman doing a welcome dance in Nkuringo

Tourism Activities

What do we offer for tourists?

•Bird watching

Cultural and Nature Walk:

•Blacksmith and Herbalist Expedition

•Byakugaba Scenic Point exploration

•Ruhezamyenda Excursion

•Rubuguri Village walk

Other activities include:

•Catering

•Canoeing

•Hill climbing

•Camping

•Village walks

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