Ihimba Hot Springs

The hot springs derive their name from the Bahimba people, who live near the springs and believe that they have divine powers to heal various ailments.

Feb 21, 2024 - 23:49
Ihimba Hot Springs
Ihimba Hot Springs

Imagine soaking in a natural pool of hot water, surrounded by a lush eucalyptus forest, while listening to the sounds of birds and monkeys. Sounds relaxing, right? Well, that's exactly what you can experience at Ihimba Hot Springs, one of the most unique attractions in Uganda.

What are Ihimba Hot Springs?

Ihimba Hot Springs are located in Kabale district, in the southwestern region of Uganda, near the border with Rwanda. They are about 8 kilometers south of Kabale town, along the Kabale-Katuna road.

The hot springs derive their name from the Bahimba people, who live near the springs and believe that they have divine powers to heal various ailments. The springs are clean but unpleasant pools on the side of the road, partially obscured by a eucalyptus forest.

The water from the hot springs is heated by geothermal heat as a result of the temperature from the rocks within the earth increasing with depth, forming what is known as a 'geothermal gradient. When the water seeps deeply into the cracks, it gets heated, then comes into contact with the hot rocks and is then forced back up with much pressure to produce bubbles. Such areas with hot springs are usually called non-volcanic areas.

The hot spring water emerges from the ground, boiling at 63°C. Many locals and visitors use the hot water for bathing, cooking, and washing. Some even drink the water, believing that it has medicinal properties.

Why visit Ihimba Hot Springs?

Ihimba Hot Springs are not only a natural wonder but also a cultural and historical attraction. They offer a glimpse into the traditions and beliefs of the Bahimba people, who have been using the springs for generations. The Bahimba people are a subgroup of the Banyankole, one of the largest ethnic groups in Uganda. They are mainly cattle keepers and farmers, and they have a rich culture and language.

The Bahimba people regard the hot springs as sacred and have rituals and ceremonies associated with them. They believe that the springs are inhabited by spirits who can grant wishes and heal diseases. They also believe that the springs can ease the delivery of pregnant women and protect them from evil forces.

The hot springs are also a source of tourism and income for the local community. Many people from different parts of Uganda, Rwanda, and beyond come to visit the hot springs, especially during weekends and holidays. They enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic effects of the hot water and also interact with the friendly and hospitable Bahimba people. Some tourists also buy souvenirs and handicrafts from the local vendors, who sell items such as baskets, mats, pots, and jewelry.

What else can you do near Ihimba Hot Springs?

Ihimba Hot Springs are not the only attraction in the area. There are many other things to see and do nearby, such as:

  • Explore the Ihimbo Central Forest Reserve, which is a tropical rainforest that hosts a variety of wildlife, such as birds, butterflies, and primates. You can follow the trail that leads to the hot springs and enjoy the scenic views and the fresh air.
  • Visit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is one of the most biodiverse and spectacular parks in Africa. It is home to more than half of the world's remaining mountain gorillas, as well as other endangered species such as chimpanzees, elephants, and leopards. You can go for gorilla trekking, birdwatching, hiking, and cultural tours.
  • Check out Lake Bunyonyi, which is one of the most beautiful and serene lakes in Uganda. It is also the second-deepest lake in Africa, with a depth of about 900 meters. It has 29 islands, some of which have historical and cultural significance. You can go boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming, and camping.
  • Experience the Sempaya Hot Springs, which are another set of hot springs in the Semuliki National Park. They are more spectacular and larger than the Ihimba Hot Springs and have a higher temperature of about 103°C. They also have the unique feature of a hot water geyser, which shoots up to 2 meters high. You can also see the rare and endemic plant species that grow around the hot springs, such as the cycads and the palms.

How do I get to Ihimba Hot Springs?

Ihimba Hot Springs are easily accessible by road from Kabale town, which is the main hub of the southwestern region. You can take a taxi, a bus, or a private car to Kabale, which is about a 6-hour drive from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. From Kabale, you can take a motorcycle taxi, also known as a boda-boda, to the hot springs, which are about 15 minutes away.

You can also fly to Kabale from Entebbe International Airport, which is the main airport in Uganda. There are daily flights operated by domestic airlines, such as AeroLink and Eagle Air. The flight takes about an hour and costs about $200 per person. From the Kabale airstrip, you can take a taxi or a boda-boda to the hot springs.

When should I visit Ihimba Hot Springs?

Ihimba Hot Springs are open all year round and can be visited at any time of the day. However, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which is from June to August and from December to February. During this time, the weather is sunny and warm, and the roads are in good condition. The wet season, which is from March to May and from September to November, is less ideal, as the weather is rainy and cold and the roads are muddy and slippery.

What should I bring to Ihimba Hot Springs?

If you plan to visit Ihimba Hot Springs, you should bring the following items:

  • A swimsuit, a towel, and a change of clothes are needed if you want to bathe in the hot water.
  • A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are necessary to protect yourself from the sun.
  • A camera, binoculars, and a guidebook are needed to capture and appreciate the beauty of nature and culture.
  • A bottle of water, some snacks, and some cash are needed to stay hydrated, energized, and prepared.
  • A gift, a donation, or a tip to show your gratitude and support for the local community.


Ihimba Hot Springs are a hidden gem in Uganda that offer a unique and memorable experience. They are not only a natural wonder but also a cultural and historical attraction. They are also a gateway to other amazing destinations in the southwestern region, such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, and Sempaya Hot Springs. If you are looking for a relaxing, therapeutic, and adventurous getaway, you should definitely visit Ihimba Hot Springs. You will not regret it.

What's Your Reaction?








HiUG Thanks for checking out HERE IN UGANDA! I hope our content sparks your inner explorer and makes you a smarter Ugandan traveller! To learn about our story, check out the "About" page. For business inquiries and potential collaboration opportunities, please refer to "Write with Us" and "Contact" pages, or write to me at [email protected].