Kanangorok Hot Springs: Excitement of safari into Uganda in Kidepo valley national park goes beyond merely looking at large herds of mammals and beautiful birds flying in the air. The Kanangorok hot spring is a true testimony of Uganda as a travel destination that never runs out of surprises. One and half hours drive northeast of Apoka into the Kidepo valley, lays the Kanangorok hot spring close to international borderline with South Sudan.
Accessing the real site of the hot spring is not an easy undertaking but worth the challenges. The travelers wade through bush littered with tall grass, thorny acacias, thickets and bush. To the adventurers this is an opportunity to get authentic wilderness experiences. The Kanangorok hot spring is nestled between hard rock where water boiled underneath the earth crust seeps through vents and it emerges from rock outcrops onto the surface. The boiling Kanangorok hot spring reaches the earth surface hitting temperatures beyond 500 Celcius and the water flow at 1 liter per second. To many adventurers traveling into Uganda not very conversant with geography and geology, the puzzle of Kanangorok hot springs remains an unsolved mystery.
To the traveler with strong belief in African tradition and the indigenous communities, the cultural theory attempts to give its version of how Kanangorok hot spring came into existence. Many African traditions assume strange things like epidemics, calamities, droughts, infertility, sudden death and others happen because the spirits of ancestors have been annoyed.
To appease and seek pardon, they offer sacrifices. To them Kanangorok hot spring was formed out of ritualism. Long time ago long drought hit the Karamoja region and territories beyond into the current South Sudan. The traditional King of the time sent a youth, Longorok to fetch water in a traditional gourd from the south, possibly Kidepo valley. On the way back with water in gourd, heavy clouds of rain formed and it started raining heavily. Longorok had reached the exact spot of the hot spring when a very bright lightning blinded his eyes. He fell down, water in the gourd poured and Longorok suddenly died. The locals believe the water in the gourd mixed with blood flowing from body of Longorok and the hot spring formed in an instant. “Kanangorok” is a combination of Longorok and the incidence of hot spring formation.
To the geologists the formation of hot spring is merely geography and no different from other hot spring formations elsewhere. What the two theories have in common is the high mineral content in the hot spring water and to the indigenous communities a spa that is cure to many body ailments.
The travelers to Kanangorok hot spring traverse different vegetation zones and get extra opportunities of exploring the Kidepo valley national park. The travel to Kanangorok hot spring traverses grasslands, bush and shrub, woodland onto the borassus palm forests of the Kidepo valley. There are high opportunities of randomly ramming into exciting sightings at any time. The area surrounding the hot spring has a foul smell, sulphur emanating from the hot spring. Sulphur is a mineral component that wildlife species feed on to treat their gastronomical ailments. There are high possibilities, wildlife species worry of human presence during day, may hang around under the cover of darkness for self-medication. This increases possibilities of sighting rare wildlife species in areas around Kanangorok hot spring.
To the indigenous communities the hot spring is a sacred place, the residence of spirits and ancestors. People from afar visit Kanangorok hot spring to pay homage, offer sacrifices, seek blessings and bathe in hot spring waters for self-medication to cure body ailments. The site of hot spring is a hive of activity with large groups of people. A resident guide is always on call to explain the traditional beliefs and the cultural set up of the hot spring. The travelers on safari to Uganda who visit Kanangorok hot spring in Kidepo valley national park without doubt sum up their highly successful tour with a balanced combination of game viewing, scenic viewing, cultural excursion, natural spa and great wilderness experiences.