Baka Pygmies Cameroon,
The Baka, also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, Bibaya, or Babinga, are anethnic group inhabiting the southeastern rain forests of Cameroon, northern Congo (Brazzaville), northern Gabon, and southwestern Central African Republic. Likewise, the name “Baka” is sometimes mistakenly applied to other area peoples who, like the Baka and Twa, have been historically called pygmies (the term is no longer considered respectful). The Baka’s exact numbers are difficult to determine, but estimates range from 5,000 to 28,000 individuals. Unlike most other Central African pygmy groups, the Baka maintain a unique language, also called Baka.
For the most part they are very welcoming and just love to have their pictures taken! They are known to possess a vast number of secrets about the forest. They know how every leaf, tree and bark can heal any ailment… and rumor has it they can speak to animals
Baka pygmies camp – Cameroun
The Baka are hunters and gatherers who live in the tropical rainforest. They live off edible tuberous plants, funguses, leafs, nuts, caterpillars and fruits and game. They trade many of these products of the forest with neighbouring peoples for knives, cooking utensils, and crops like bananas and cassava roots.
Visiting the Baka Land of Pygmies is one of the most enriching cultural experiences one will ever enjoy in Cameroon. Being involved in their socio cultural activities is the best way to have fun through dangers and excitement in a worldtoo different from what anyone in townships have lived through.
FOOD GATHER AND PREPARATION
Food gathering in the rainforest is one of the most important activities for the survival of the group. The products gathered (wild yam and fruit, mushrooms, etc.) are basically vegetables, but in some seasons of the year it is also possible to find small animals, such as termites and caterpillars.
Carried in baskets and panniers, the products come to the camp, where they are shared by the families according to principles of reciprocity and mutual assistance. Here the food is eaten at once or within a few days from the gathering, for it cannot be preserved for a long time.
|Child with freshly
picked edible caterpillars.
More so, you can learn to make baskets with the handful of people producing baskets woven from plant fibres. These baskets are used by women to carry farm produce to their homes. Some of the baskets are sold or offered to tourists as souvenirs to be kept as objects of art.
They eat mainly monkey, porcupine, viper, hare, fish, manioc (like patatoes), leaves, bark, mushrooms and all that other good stuff that you find here in the forest. They also are allowed to eat forest elephant, gorilla and crocodile which happen to be very highly protected species here.
A stranger in the Baka land may be tempted to think the food is gross when they hear of main meals like caterpillar and turtle soups, but truly, these meals are without doubt appetizing. Snails, fish and turtles are very common but animals are also hunted for food. Also commonly eaten, is wild honey amassed by bees on high trees.
The methods of food preparation remain primitive. The people cook outdoor on the three-stone fire places with wood. Ingredients are natural plants which are ground using flint stones or mortars.
OUT DOOR AND PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
Pygmies are natural hunters, and carvers. They make spears, bows and arrows from tree trunks as hunting weapons. The hunters mostly go out in large groups to set traps for smaller animals, and hunt down bigger ones together. After every catch, the hunters sit down and the team leader shares the meat to them all before they depart to their homes. Hunting is dangerous but mostly fun.
baka peopel glancing at strangers and camera.
baka woman cooking
Some have integrated the general cameroonian population most live primarily in the forest and survive by hunting, fishing and gathering fruits and vegetables in the forest.
PYGMIES MAN HUNTING
termite gathering: young Baka boypiercing a big termite nest with a spear,after having smoked it with burnt twigs.
Some others are called Net Hunters. These hunters specialize in catching sea animals such as fish and turtles using nets, and canoes dug from tree trunks. Joining in the canoe ride is mostly exciting on the waters with their turbulent nature of great rushing of waves. You may also take the chance to swim in the calmer parts of the waters. Bathing is generally done and enjoyed this way.
There are also wine tappers. They climb incredibly tall palm trees right to the top to get fresh palm wine everyday. Palm wine is white and initially very sweet. The longer it stays, the stronger the alcoholic concentration. Palm wine tappers have been trained over many years to climb these trees. It is not advisable for tourists to try. It is all the same fun watching the process.
however, the Baka pygmies also do fishing as one of their out door activities