Visit The Sempaya Hot Springs


Hot-springs are produced by geothermally heated groundwater emerging onto the surface of the earth. The water temperatures are substantially higher that the surrounding region air-temperature and therefore may be dangerous. Most hot springs across the globe are know for discharging heated groundwater through shallow intrusions. Sempaya Hot Spring is one such occurrence. Found in Semuliki National Park, the hot springs have a temperature of up to 103⁰C (217.4⁰F) and are categorized into Male and Female by locals. Adventurous visitors to these hot springs habitually place raw-eggs on the springs, let them cook and later eat them! This is the real depiction of how hot these springs are.

Semuliki National Park is a protected area in western Uganda. The park occupies an area of 219 sq. km.

Visit The Sempaya Hotsprings – The Sempaya hot springs found in two places and also commonly as the male and female hot springs are located in the Semuliki national park in Ntandi town council in the western district of Bundibugyo approximately about 70km from Fort Portal town. The springs got the name Sempaya 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.

As briefly stated above, when you visit the Sempaya hot springs, you will find that they have both the male and female hot spring each with distinctive characteristics. The female hot spring with sparkling waters is the most attractive and commonly visited by a number of travelers worldwide among the two.

Steam Bath At Sempaya

These unique and amazing hot spring have hot waters and high temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius. The male hot spring is locally known as Biteete and is approximately 12 meters in width while the female hot spring is locally known as Nyansimbi and it gushes out water approximately 2 meters in the air.

The indigenous story about the existence of the Sempaya hot springs

The indigenous Bamaga clan the neighbours to these awesome hot springs and their own story from the folk lore. According to Mzee Adonia Balinsanga the leader of the Bamaga clan, it is said that the Bamaga wowen once went to the forest to get themselves firewood and then saw a hairy man dressed in bark cloth wielding a spear and with accompany of a dog. The women ran back to their homes and narrated everything to their husbands who decided to pick and take him to their homes and later got him a wife from the same village.The said man was 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 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 the present day the female hot spring. All in all, that’s how the two springs became to be known as the male and female hot springs and to-date the Bamaga believe their male ancestors live beneath the male hot spring while their female ancestors live at the female spring.

Formation of the Sempaya hot springs

Scientifically, the hot springs were spirally formed by the appearance of the geothermal heated underground water from the earth’s layer which increases the hotness of the underground rocks. Hot springs are made by fissures spreading deep towards the exceptionally hot temperatures of the earth layer and water trickling down is heated and enforced back up with much pressure to produce bubbles.  Here is additional information you might be interested in when you Visit The Sempaya Hotsprings:

Human Uses Of The Hot Springs

Locals in the Semuliki area sometimes take a bath where the water is cooler, for hygiene purposes. Others have attached traditional motives to the bath. Some include healing skin-disorders, fertility for those yet to bear children, ease of delivery for pregnant women and relaxation.

Traditionally the Bamanga people hold the spring sacred; citing the gods are female and go ahead to hold celebrations in order to appease them.

How To Visit The Sempaya Hot Springs

The drive to the hot-springs is long to say the least but also rewarding in terms of magnificent views. This transfer takes a number of winding turns-and-twists that meander all the way up to the Rwenzori Mt escarpment. And to Sempaya Hot-springs.

Travelling along this escarpment from Toro Kingdom offers views of undulating green mountain ranges which are a sight to behold! In sight are small scale farms, beautifully arranged, posing for good photographic moments.
The falls are located at the eastern most limit of the Ituri Forest of Congo basin. A few meters away from the Semuliki river which meanders away pouring into Lake albert.

Other Sites & Wonders?

While in Semuliki National Park, there are several activities to engage in. These include;

  • Nature walks – with a ranger guide, a few places can be visited.
  • Bird watching – various bird species are attracted to the wetland that surrounds the springs
  • Game watching – Salt deposits around the springs have a way of attracting wildlife. Therefore animals like buffalo will occasionally visit the hot springs to lick these deposits.

The Sempaya hot-springs are by far the most common hot springs in Uganda! The country is however known to have many other hotsprings. From a traveler’s point of view, the gushing out of hot water in Sempaya is remarkable (as per photo). And a must see with the naked eye.

Accommodation choices in Semuliki National Park

The park is gifted with a number of accommodation facilities ranging from budget, midrange and luxury plans. Some of these include; Semuliki safari lodge, Ntoroko game lodge, Crater safari lodge, Buguma campsite, among others.

Visit The Sempaya Hot Springs – Tafari safaris occasionally adds the Sempaya hot-springs visit to its itineraries especially the ones going through Semuliki. A visit to Sempaya hot spring is one of the breathtaking activities that one should never miss out on while on a tour to Uganda. Just take a day or two days in Semliki National Park for an overwhelming experience.Contact us for more details. Email: [email protected] or Phone : +256700830807 | +256762524558

Post Written By Tafari Safaris

Tafari Safaris, The Best Safari Travel Agents in Uganda, is your ultimate guide for unparalleled and unforgettable African safaris. As a renowned safari operator based in Uganda, we offer exceptional tours throughout the East African region, covering a wide range of thrilling experiences, from wildlife adventures and cultural explorations to bird watching and luxury gorilla safaris.

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