7 Hot Springs in Uganda That You HAVE to Visit
Even though it’s a landlocked country, Uganda is well-known for many different amazing water features. Among these are hot springs, which locals believe have healing powers.
A stop at one of the many hot springs in Uganda has to be on your list — but with so many to pick from, where to begin? Whether you’re interested in wildlife, history, culture, or vibes, there’s a hot spring that will fit perfectly into your agenda.
How hot springs are formed in Uganda
If you’re planning a trip to Uganda, you can’t miss out on visiting some of the iconic hot springs. A hot spring is a naturally occurring body of water that forms when water flows down through cracks in the Earth’s surface. The water is subsequently heated up to extremely high temperatures due to magma or hot rocks deep in the Earth’s crust. The hot water is then pushed back up due to extreme pressure, resulting in a hot spring.
The result is stunning, and many locals worship the hot springs for their believed healing powers. Individuals visit certain hot springs to bathe, cure ailments in themselves and livestock, and boil tea or eggs.
Best hot springs in Uganda
You can’t go wrong with any hot spring you choose to visit in Uganda — but with each having their own unique history, culture, and appearance, some might be more appealing to you than others. There are 7 main hot springs in Uganda, primarily located in the north and the west. Read on to see which is the best fit for you.
Sempaya Hot Springs
The trek to Sempaya hot springs is a worthwhile attraction in and of itself. The hot springs are situated beyond the Semuliki forest — and you might be able to catch a glimpse of red tailed monkeys along the way. The Sempaya hot springs have a female hot spring and a male hot spring. Women will visit the female spring to cure issues such as infertility. These are one of the most visited hot springs in Uganda, and a great place to also go on a birding safari.
- Vibe: Adventurous
- Location: Western Uganda, Semuliki national park
- What it’s known for: The separate male and female hot springs
- Pro tip: Check out the tree house in the park for a stunning aerial view
Rwigamba Hot Springs
If you’ve ever wanted to bathe in the same water as royalty, then the Rwigamba hot springs are your best match. It’s believed that the king of the Toro Kingdom used to frequently visit the springs. Now, the hot spring is believed to have healing properties that benefit both people and animals — sick cattle are often brought to the springs.
- Vibe: Historical
- Location: Western Uganda, Kabarole district
- What it’s known for: Ancient history of Toro Kingdom
- Pro tip: Stop by Murchison falls before/after you visit the springs
Ihimba Hot Springs
For the animal lover looking to add both gorilla trekking and hot springs to their Uganda itinerary, look no further than Ihimba hot springs. They’re the perfect hot springs to check out if you’re already planning on visiting Bwindi National Park. Plus, if you’re a culture buff, they have an extensive history of the Bahima people.
- Vibe: Cultural
- Location: South-Western Uganda, Kabale district
- What it’s known for: Cultural history of nearby Bahima communities
- Pro tip: Make the most of your trip and go gorilla trekking nearby
Kitagata Hot Springs
The Kitagata hot springs consist of two hot springs opposite one another, both with their own purpose. One hot spring, the Ekyomugabe hot spring, also has some history as it was frequently used by the King of Ankole. The other, Mulago, derives its name from Uganda’s national hospital. The water is very hot, and locals will even boil food at the Kitagata hot springs.
- Vibe: Restorative
- Location: Western Uganda, Sheema district
- What it’s known for: Historical and medicinal value
- Pro tip: Soak up the beautiful, green scenery on the walk over
Amoropii Hot Springs
Unlike some of the others on this list, you need permission before visiting the Amoropii hot springs. There are many long standing traditions since the hot spring is worshiped by locals. They are believed to solve a number of ailments, and the locals often leave sacrifices for the gods of Amoropii to appease them. Be respectful when you visit, and you may find yourself on the receiving end of well-revered healing powers.
- Vibe: Spiritual
- Location: Northern Uganda, Pakwach district
- What it’s known for: Traditions and sacrifices to the Gods
- Pro tip: Ask for blessings from Prime Minister Nyipir Onen before your visit
Kibiro Hot Springs
For those looking to adventure off the beaten track, the Kibiro hot springs are less frequently visited due to their isolated location. When you arrive, a local guide will explain some tales regarding the hot spring. Locals don’t recommend bathing after 7 p.m., because the hot springs are ultimately the property of spirits, who use the baths after that time.
- Vibe: Remote
- Location: Western Uganda, Hoima district
- What it’s known for: There are lots of myths and spiritual beliefs surrounding Kibiro hot springs.
- Pro tip: Visit the hot springs on the way to Kibale national park
Buranga Hot Springs
For a 3 for 1 deal, check out the Buranga hot springs. Animals and birds flock to this area due to the swampy environment and salt from the Earth’s surface. You can find the Kagoro, Mumbuga, and Nyansimbe hot springs all within walking distance of one another. They’re located at the base of Bwamba escarpment — in a rather remote location — and you’ll meander through a tropical rainforest to reach the springs.
- Vibe: Environmental
- Location: Western Uganda, Bundibugyo district
- What it’s known for: Three springs in one area
- Pro tip: Be on the lookout for wildlife — the hot springs have created their own ecosystem
Explore Uganda With Explorer Chick!
There are a lot of options when it comes to visiting the hot springs in Uganda. At the same time, you’ll want to get your fill of wildlife, natural attractions, and hiking. Trying to fit that all into one trip can be stressful — so sit back and let Explorer Chick do the planning for you.
Michelle is an avid writer and traveler (who takes her cat along for the ride). Solo travel has allowed her to meet lifelong friends and participate in unforgettable adventures. When she’s not jumping out of a helicopter or climbing the nearest mountain, you can find her curled up with her cat and a good book — and probably planning her next trip. She writes about her travels and her readings on her personal blog, www.frontmatterblog.com.
Favorite outdoor adventures: Hiking and biking! Those two, or long walks, are my favorite way to soak in scenic sights. I also grew up in the mountains, so I’m a skier as well.
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