Two places house the male and female hot springs in Uganda, situated in the Semuliki National Park in Ntandi town council in the western district of Bundibugyo, approximately about 70km from Fort Portal town. Sempaya, a name given to the male and female hot springs in Uganda, comes from a Kiswahili word “Sehemu mbaya” translating to “the difficult side” as a result of finding it challenging to penetrate the existing rocks during the construction of the Fort Portal Bundibugyo road along the ridges of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Sempaya hot springs, also known as the male and female hot springs in Uganda, have distinctive characteristics. The female hot spring with sparkling waters is the most attractive and most visited by many travelers worldwide among the two.
These unique and amazing hot springs have hot waters and high temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius. The male hot spring, locally known as Biteete, has a width of approximately 12 meters. In comparison, the female hot spring, locally known as Nyansimbi, gushes out water approximately 2 meters in the air.
The said man later known as Biteete went on with his hunting activities, but one time never returned home. After 3 days, the men that had brought him went out to look for him and they couldn’t find him nor his dog only to spot his spear at some one point in the present day the male hot spring. It was assumed he had disappeared from the same.
The men went back to tell the wife (Nyansimbi) who also ran to the forest never to return. Later also after a continued search for the woman, they only found her clothes at some point in the present day the female hot spring.
In conclusion, the Bamaga believe their male ancestors reside beneath the male hot spring, and their female ancestors reside at the female spring. The belief that the two springs came to be known as male and female hot springs originates from their nomenclature.
Scientifically, the hot springs form spirally as geothermal heated underground water emerges from the earth’s layer, increasing the temperature of the underground rocks. As the water abundantly infiltrates the crust, it heats up upon contact with extremely hot rocks. Fissures extending deep into the exceptionally hot temperatures of the earth’s layer create hot springs, heating water trickling down and forcefully pushing it back up with pressure, producing bubbles. Fissures extending deep into the exceptionally hot temperatures of the earth’s layer create hot springs. They heat water trickling down and forcefully push it back up with pressure, producing bubbles.
The park features a variety of accommodation facilities, including budget, midrange, and luxury options.. Some of these include; Semuliki Safari Lodge, Ntoroko Game Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge, and Buguma Campsite, among others.
Situated in the western region of Uganda, the Sempaya hot springs are found in the Semuliki National Park.
The park can accessed by road via two routes one being Kampala – Masaka – Mbarara – Fort portal. This covers a journey of about 465km within a 7 to 8-hour drive.
The second route is via Kampala – Mubende – Fort portal covering a journey of about 180km for about 5 hours’ drive.
Upon arrival at Fort Portal, embark on your journey for a 2 to 3-hour drive on a rough road to get to the amazing Sempaya hot springs while seeing the beauty of Rwenzori mountain ranges and other interesting things.
Note: Before getting to Fort Portal town, we recommend using the first route because you can easily switch to other awesome tourist destinations like the Uganda Equator, Lake Mburo National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park
The walk to unveil these hot springs is one of the breathtaking activities that one should never miss while on a Uganda safari more so those interested in paying a visit to Semliki National Park or other parts of western Uganda.