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Mbuti people

The  semi nomadic  Mbuti  and  Efe  were  probably  the  first  inhabitants  of  the  region, but when they arrived is unknown. While their  way  of  life  today  is  similar  to  what  it  was  originally,  these  Pygmies  have  not  been  able  to  live inside the forest independently of other ethnic  groups  and  had  to  colonize  the  forest  at  the  same  time  as  groups  practicing  shifting  agriculture. The latter are believed to have come to the region 2,000-3,000 years ago.

At present, the number of Pygmies in the Landscape is estimated at 30,000. They continue to lead a semi-nomadic lifestyle, but still depend heavily on the Bantu populations. Among  the  forest  farmers,  the  main  ethnic  groups  are  the  Bila,  Ndaka,  Lese,  Mbo  and  Mamvu. They depend on shifting agriculture, supplemented by fishing and hunting.

The Ngwana arrived in the Landscape with the Arab slave trade in the 19th century. During the colonial era, new populations were added. The most numerous are the Nande, from the mountains to the east of the landscape, and the Budu, from densely populated regions to the north and west. Many of the new-comers came to rejoin members of their family or clan. Today, all the centers where several families live contain several ethnic groups. The population of Epulu, with 2,000 inhabitants, comprises over 30 different ethnic groups.