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Echuya Forest Reserve

Echuya Forest Reserve is a montane rainforest of about 3,400ha, roughly 7km long and 750m wide. It was once upon a time part of the same forest as Bwindi and Mgahinga. Its altitude varies from 2,270m at the junction of rivers at the northwestern corner to 2,570m at Mt Rwabatama at the southern end. It includes a significant amount of bamboo - it is the only source of commercial bamboo in Uganda.

Elephants used to roam Echuya until the 1960s, and according to oral history it once had large herds of buffaloes, antelopes and duikers. Nowadays it is home to blue monkeys, colobus monkeys, a small group of baboons, 19 small species of mammals, batterflies and over 100 bird species. A big swamp lies in its centre, where sedges, heathers and giant lobelias are growing.

Compared to other Ugandan forests, Echuya is not particularly bio-diverse. However, in terms of the conservation value of the species represented, Echuya is in the top 10%. 77 species in Echuya may be classified as restricted-range (recorded from no more than five Ugandan forests).

The areas around Echuya forest are inhabited by some of the poorest people in Uganda, belonging to the Bakiga, Bafumbira and Batwa "Pygmies" ethnic groups. Over 35% of them live below the poverty line of less than one dollar per day. They are dependent on protected areas as an income source.

The Batwa ceased to live entirely in the forest long before it was gazetted in 1939. Since then a mixture of official forest management policies and demographic/social changes have accelerated their exodus, to live with other ethnic groups outside the forests. Most Batwa live in a situation resembling serfdom, in ramshackle huts. They do hard and menial jobs for their landlords, including guarding crops, in exchange for food and a small patch on which to build a hut. Sometimes well-wishers buy them some land, like in the case of the Batwa of Rwamahano.

Overview | Program & Price | Batwa Kids | Info for Parents | Activity Origin | What is Different | Kanusu | Batwa of Rwamahano | Echuya Forest Reserve

To book or get more information please write to info@edirisa.org or call/WhatsApp +256 782 779 599.

Photo: Marcus Westberg

General Overview
Canoeing & Trekking on Lake Bunyonyi
Treks to Gorilla National Parks
Tailor-Made Treks
Budget Accommodation on Lake Bunyonyi
Tom`s Homestay on Lake Bunyonyi
Batwa Today (Echuya Forest Reserve)
  Program & Price
  Batwa Kids
  Info for Parents & Guardians
  Activity Origin
  What is Different
  Batwa of Rwamahano
  Echuya Forest Reserve
Cultural Museum of the Bakiga (Kabale)
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Press & Testimonials

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