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Kibiro Salt Gardens and Hot Springs, another amazing tourist attraction

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Kibiro Salt Gardens is located on shores of Lake Albert in Kibiro fishing village just 35km away and an hour out of the Hoima town.

These hot springs are located very close to Lake Albert shore in Kibiri village, Kigorobya County in Bugahya county Hoima district.

The land is under the Kingdom of Bunyoro and perched on a stony plain stretching to ¾ of a Kilometer amidst the lake shore and the base of the approximated 300m escarpment that mark the eastern side of the Albertine rift valley.

The Kibiro Salt Village stands as a unique example of the industry that has maintained its people for years and probably continues to do this for the generations to come. Kibiro Salt Gardens and Hot springs have for long presented a supplement to fishing on Lake Albert for the communities in Kigorobya County.

Residents produce ash salt that is secured following the recycling of residual earth together with fresh soil that is spread on the salt gardens such that the salty waters can be absorbed through the Capillary system.

This is followed by continuous scrapping, spreading and salty soil heaping for a seven days period which is followed by leaching and crystallizing the scam to produce ash salt.

The residual soil that has remained after leaching is then intermingled with fresh soil in order to repeat the process of salt production.

The production of this salt at Kibiro Gardens was and has been the work of the female making it a hereditary occupation in the area.

Prior to the introduction of wood Vessels and metal, ware made and used to do the leaching and boiling which is evidenced by archaeological depositions featuring pot heads spread all over the village that stretch to about 4 meters in depth dating years ago to up to now according to Marias Businge and only Amooti Maria salt miners.

These women say that village surrounding Kibiro Salt Gardens and Hot springs feature a sandy beach and as a result food cannot grow there. Therefore, the communities taped the opportunity presented by this natural feature along with Lake Albert to derive a livelihood through exchanging salt and fish with the neighboring farming communities and taking them to Kigorobya market and Hoima central market for sale.

This makes the Kibiro Gardens a site of cultural and ethnographic significance in the Ash salt production aspect.

Like many hot springs in Uganda, this too attracts so many people who go there for different reason although most go there for the same reason they visit the other hot springs, for healing.

This water is boiling at 100° all the time and you can see the bubbles which are formed when the water reaches boiling point.
For experiment purposes, you can put fresh eggs or use sweet potatoes or even Irish potatoes, you can also boil cassava or the green bananas and within a few minutes, those different food stuffs will have boiled and ready for consumption.

The shallow waters, very hot and salty at the same time. From the hot springs, it forms a stream and follows in the western direction; it meanders around until it gets to Lake Albert and pours its waters in there.

The sad news is that there are lots of aquatic animals that die from this place and that is because they happen to think that this water is just as cool as that in Lake Albert so once they land in this hot water, they can’t escape and so they are dead in minutes.

When it comes to Myths and Beliefs people have about the Hot Springs; local people have got different myths that they tell especially to the foreigners in the region who visit the hot springs. Local guides are always there to give you all the explaining that you need to better understand the beliefs and why.

For instance, they believe that this water has got some supernatural powers and so can drive away all the bad spirits and demons that someone may possess. For body purification, you will need to take a bathe in this water naked and bathing should be done before 07:00 pm because after that 07 pm, you anger the spirits.

As side from body purification, the water is also believed to be a real cure for so many diseases like measles, also scabies and any skin rush as well as just fresh wounds and boils on the body.

Locals also believe that the hot springs is a property of the spirits which is why you should never use visit the hot springs after 7pm because at that time, the spirits are at the hot spring bathing too. Locals believe crossing the spirits’ path angers them and may harm you.

The springs water also contains different minerals and chemicals in varying amounts thus the reason it can cure the skin diseases when people spend time sitting in it according to the area chairperson Babyesiza Yofesi.

This hot water contains minerals and chemicals like the sodium chloride, calcium phosphate, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, lithium sulphate and calcium sulphate as well as so many other minerals.

NOW; the ministry of energy and mineral development is in advanced stages of surface exploration and will soon be subjected to exploratory drilling that will pave the way for a feasibility study at Kibiro for geothermal power plant that will generate power to the communities and the country at large.

Julius Babyesiza the area chairperson Kibiro village says that because of Kibiros famed history, the tourism product developments including tour operators among others. Earlier there was no road down to the escarpment but now it’s just an hour drive down to Kibiro hot spring and salt gardens.

By Vincent Senyunja