Many fires burn below the surface, creating beauty to inspire and to be marveled at this creates the famous Semuliki National Park.
Uganda has breathtaking scenic views from the rugged mountains of the Rwenzori, lush green rain forests, sprawling savannas, sparkling lakes and rivers, and abundant wildlife and bird species.
Let off a little steam as you get to know about the steamy hot springs of Semuliki National Park in Uganda.
SEMULIKI NATIONAL PARK
Situated in a small corner of South Western Uganda, Semuliki National Park sprawls across the floor of the Semliki Valley on the remote, western side of the Rwenzori.
The park is dominated by the easternmost extension of the great Ituri Forest of the Congo Basin. This is one of Africa’s most ancient and bio-diverse forests; one of the few to survive the last ice age, 12-18,000 years ago.
While Semuliki’s species have been accumulating over the years, Sempaya Hot Springs found in the heart of the park has been a tourist magnet to Semuliki National Park.
Let’s get acquainted:
Sempaya Hot Springs
These are Semuliki National Park’s most famous attractions. They are located in 2 places and are known as the male and female springs.
The “male” spring, known as Bintente, measures 12m in diameter and is set in a lush swampy clearing.
The “female” spring known as Nyasimbi, meaning “the female ancestors”, is a boiling geyser (103°C) which spurts bubbling water and steam up to two meters high. The steam from these hot springs can be seen from 2kms away.
Well geographically, hot springs are springs produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust. But the local community around the hot springs have their own historical folk story. Here goes:
It is said the Bamaga women had gone to fetch firewood from the forest when they sighted a hairy man dressed in bark cloth wielding a spear and with dog moving in a zig-zag formation around that location.
The women ran back home to tell their husbands who decided to pick and take him to their homes and subsequently got him a wife from the same village.
The said man who later became known as Biteete continued hunting but one time never returned home. After three days, the men went out to search for him and at the present day male hot spring, they only found a spear but no traces of the man nor his dog.
It was assumed he had disappeared from the same spot and they ran back to tell the wife (Nyansimbi) who also ran to the forest never to return.
In the subsequent search, only her clothes were found at the present day female hot spring.
This was how the two springs became to be known as the male and female hot springs and to-date the Bamaga believe their female ancestors live beneath the female hot spring while their male ancestors live at the male spring.
This is why the Bamaga performs annual rituals at the springs to appease their ancestors and the national park allows them access.
Visiting these hot springs offers some incredible experiences from being able to boil eggs and matooke (plantain) in the 103oc hot water to seeing other forest wonders like the mangabey monkeys, red-tailed monkey, black and white colobus monkey and much more on your trek to the hot springs.
Other activities within the park include:
On the other hand, Uganda boils and steams of beauty through its Hot Springs located in different parts of the country.
Putting aside the fact that these hot springs are located in different parts of the country, they all have one thing in common. That is, they all have hot water. That’s pretty obvious, not so? Haha
Well on a serious note, that one thing they all have in common is that: The local communities around these hot springs believe that the water of the hot springs is magical with healing powers and spiritual cleansing abilities. Quite fascinating!
You will definitely find most of them soaked in the not so hot pools of the hot springs seeking healing from their ailments.
With these different hot springs found across the country, you do not have to leave without visiting at least one of them. REFRESH YOURSELF IN NATURE.