The Bamaga people and hot springs in Semuliki national park
Hot springs to Bamaga people are the living area of which they believe that their ancestors are not dead but do live in the hot springs. The Batooro women married to Basaiga clan, the day they went to fetch water at Mungiro falls and met a stranger with a dog and spear, dressed in a bark cloth moving around and looked hairy on his appearance, the women scared and decided to go back home and inform their husband of what they saw on their way to the falls.
After their husbands got this information, they did not waste any minute and run to see what they had just been told, they were also scared to see the man who does not look like them. The Bamba clan named him “Bakamwbire”, a local word that means a “stranger”. Then later the Basaiga clan adopted the man and renaming him Bamaga which was related to his movement style and later he was given the daughter of the soil known as Nyansimbi.
Bamaga and Nyansimbi were leaving together for a long period while giving birth to his children. Bamaga was a hunter, one day he went hunting as usual but he did not come back home after three days which forced Nyansimbi to go and search for him in the neighboring community even the community member went to look for him in the forest as he was a hunter. Finally, they found his spear and on the Nyabahuku hot spring which is now known as a male hot spring with a pool of boiling water. They also saw his barkcloth, so they released that Bamaga had died and his sons named this place “Bitente”, a local word which means has gone. Therefore this is why the male hot spring is called Bitente.
Then when Nyansimbi got this information about her husband, she also disappeared into the forest. Her sons also called another search within the forest and on the third day, they found her bark cloth around another hot spring which is now known as the female hot spring and that is why the local people call it Nyansimbi hot spring. The Bamaga clan belief that their female ancestors stay at the female hot spring (Nyansimbi) and their male ancestors are found at the male hot spring (Bitente). They usually celebrate and do cultural rituals in both two areas in November each year.
They also do sacrifices that involve drinks, food crops, wildlife, and money as they believe that these hot springs cure many diseases, bring wealth and cause fertility by women. The spear has been kept even now and it is used by community members when performing several rituals. Men always first make celebrations and sacrifices at the Bitente hot springs (male) and then later join females at the female hot spring where they dance and celebrate together in harmony with a purpose of making their ancestors happy so that, they can get all they need from these hot springs.
Currently, the local peoples perform cultural rituals each year as a sign of making their gods happy around the hot springs and they even throw coins in the water and making scarifies. But this cannot stop the travelers to explore these hot springs plus the students, tourist researchers, and also the monkey-like so much to visit this place.
After visiting these hot springs, you can visit other nearest tourist destinations such as Kibale Forest National Park for chimpanzee trekking, Bwindi impenetrable forests national park for exclusive gorilla trekking, Toro Semuliki wildlife reserve, or visit Ngarama caves and among others.