Kitagata is a vernacular for warmth, but because of the popularity of the place, the village and sub-country are called Kitagata. The place is dotted with small houses, some grass thatched, others roofed with corrugated iron sheets, which act as private rooms for patients to hire. The scene of people almost naked resting in water in a pond-like formation is the first to inform you that you have arrived at the healing place. Women and men of all ages seem to be enjoying the water in flowing from the two nearby springs. The water in the springs can warm up to 80 °C (176 °F).
One hot spring is famously known as Mulago while another is called Ekitagata kyomugabe, meaning the hot spring for the king of Ankole. Mulago is national referral hospital in Uganda, while Ankole is a sub region in Western Uganda.
People with ailments on the body dip that particular part in the water to get healed. If someone is having stomach problems, they draw the water directly from the burble source locally called Akaswonswo and let it cool to the temperature they can drink it.
It is indeed as busy as a hospital. As other patients come in, others go out, admitting themselves to the hospital and discharging themselves after treatment. Kabasekye says that they get around 800 visitors (patients) every week, people of all ages and from all corners of the country.
The hot springs are located in Sheema District, Western Uganda
50 sq. km
350kms west of the Ugandan capital Kampala, 72 kilometres by road, west of Mbarara
What to do
The usual visitors are patients who use the water from Kitagata twice a day to drink and to bathe. Here, you witness patients taking turns to lie in the water for treatment. The official schedule is four hours in the morning and up to 7 hours in the evening. Other tourists visit to view the uniqueness of the feature.
When to visit
Throughout the year.