Sempaya Hot Springs – Uganda Adventure Tour Sites
Sempaya Hot Springs is one of the top attractions and the famous hot spring in Uganda located in the Semuliki national park on the Uganda- DRC border in the eastern part of the great Ituri Forest of Congo basin.
Geographically, hot springs are formed as a result of geothermal heat which boils underground water. These hot springs have high temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius which is a clear indication of the strength of the underground geographical forces
Sempaya Hot Springs originated from a Kiswahili phrase Sehemu Mbaya (difficult side) owing to the steep challenging rocks and terrain of Rwenzori Mountains during the construction of the Fort portal Bundibugyo road.
History of Sempaya hot springs
According to Bamaga people, local women spotted an unknown man (Biteete) wearing barkcloth with a spear and a dog in the forest when they had gone to fetch water. The women ran and called men because they were scared, men brought the man home and then married one of their women called Nyansimbi.
One day he went hunting as it was his usual task and never returned all that was found was his spear next to the currently called the male hot spring and when his wife discovered that her husband has disappeared, she rushed to the site and also disappeared next to what is currently known as the female hot spring.
It’s the reason why the Bamaga people believe that their female and male ancestors live here hence performing annual traditional rituals at the hot springs.
The Semuliki National Park contains numerous features however Sempaya hot springs form a unique feature of the Semuliki National park. It contains two hot springs, the male also known as Bitende, and the female hot springs also known as Nyasimbi. Each hot spring has its unique features.
The female hot spring is the most attractive and visited among the two hot springs. It is a 30-minute hike through palm forest from the main road. Hikers boil eggs and bananas in this bubbling hot water.
Pregnant females attend this hot spring to pray for safe deliveries and the barren women take their sacrifices to please their ancestors and bear children because they believe that their female ancestors live there.
Male hot spring is associated with wealth and men annually perform rituals and sacrifice to their gods for wealth.
The long trail to the Sempaya Hot Springs leads through a patch of the forest offers a chance to explore a variety of wildlife.
The park is home to eight species of primate, 400 birds, and 300 butterfly species. Elephant, buffalo, leopard, monkeys such as red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabeys, and black-and-white colobus monkeys all live here.
Birds like the yellow-throated cuckoo, piping hornbill. Red-billed dwarf hornbill, black dwarf hornbill, white-crested hornbill, black casqued wattled hornbill, red-rumped tinker bird, African piculet, white-throated blue swallow, yellow-throated nicator, swamp palm bulbul among others all live around Semuliki National park.
The forests of Semuliki also harbor Batwa pygmy people who are an endangered group of people with a unique lifestyle living in thatched huts, the Semuliki River which forms the international boundary.