Western Uganda is gifted with a variety of physical features which attract tourists. Among the most attraction is the hot springs. Scientists describe a hot spring as a spring produced by the emergence of geothermal-heated groundwater from the earth’s crust. Hot springs are formed when water come into contact with the heated rock. If water percolates deeply enough into the crust, it will be heated as it comes into contact with hot rocks.
Hot springs are formed by cracks extending down towards the exceedingly hot temperatures of the mantle, and water seeping downwards is heated and forced back up under pressure to bubble. Uganda’s hot springs are found in Semiliki National Park which is situated in south western Uganda. In this park, hot springs are the major tourist attraction. The hot springs here include;
Sempaya hot springs are Semiliki’s most famous attraction. They are set in a lush swampy clearing close to the south eastern corner of the forest of Semiliki. These two hot springs are in two sites and are each distinct from each other. There is the Female Spring and the Male Spring. The female spring has water boiling at 103 degrees, and it spurts hot water up to 2m above the ground while the male spring is more distant from the female spring and is reached by following a trail.
Water from hot springs is believed to cure certain diseases for example ringworm. The female spring is visited by women who hope for cure for infertility and other problems. Communities living near hot springs in Uganda usually have both spiritual and superstitious attachments to them.
Uganda’s hot springs are often a popular tourist destinations and locations for rehabilitation clinics for those with disabilities. The trail to the springs leads you through a patch of rain forest where red-tailed monkey, grey-cheeked mangabey and black and white colobus are common. Bird watching safaris are also stunning; you will see different bird species like forest horn.
Tourists have been seen boiling eggs, cassava and green bananas in the two geothermal heated springs.
Uganda also has the Amoropii hot springs which is found in northern Uganda which is believed to do miracles for its visitors because it’s believed to have divine powers.
Amoropii hot spring got its name from an Alur word meaning hot water. “Amoro” means hot and “pii” stands for water.
It is believed that barren women bathe in the hot spring as well as those in need of a fairer and tender skin. However, one must first get permission to visit these springs and illegal visiting of these hot springs may cause you problems such as snake bits.
It is also believed that hot springs are related to traditional briefs forexample every six months; they slaughter a big sheep as a sacrifice to the gods of Amoropii. The meat is left in the open and the following day, it’s gone. It is believed that the gods of Amoropii take it.
Kitagata hot springs; the hot spring is located 1 kilometre from the Kitagata trading centre and have water to temperatures as hot as 80 degrees centigrade. The springs also have historical importance as one was used by the King of Ankole and hence referred to locally as ‘Ekyomugabe’, the King’s Spring while the other adjacent one is more known for its medicinal value and referred to as Mulago in reference to Uganda’s national referral hospital which is mulago . Kitagata hot springs are a must visit to anyone visiting Bushenyi district and are on the route that easily connects to Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Lake Mburo National Parks.
Many visitors travel to Kitagata to treat themselves to the hot baths or just to catch a glimpse of people bathing in these natural hot Spas. Kitagata hot springs are also well known for their curative waters. Patients from as far as 100 kms flock the springs to soak themselves in the spring waters to heal them, some other patients drink the sulphur rich waters of the hot springs for cure from rheumatism and arthritis.