Kibiro is known as a small fishing village found at the base of the Western Rift valley along the Southeastern shores of Lake Albert in Uganda and majorly what people in this area do is fishing, produce and trade salt. In the fishing villages of Kibiro there are Hot springs situated also at the shores in Kigorobyo sub-county, hence can be reached after an hour of travel by road from Hoima town approximately 35 km.
The location of Kibiro has been one of the reasons why most tourists don’t reach there but visiting Kibiro salt gardens is an amazing and adventurous thing one can ever do while on a Uganda safari. The area is like any other fishing villages on Lake Albert but was distinguishes it is the Salt Gardens found here. You can access this area only by boat along L.Albert, on foot, using a monster 4X4 vehicle or having a hike to the base of the Escarpment.
Kibiro salt gardens are on the land controlled by the Bunyoro Kingdom, so for many years these gardens have provided salt to this kingdom. At the starting point of the gardens there are people selling salt along the road, which is a great eye opener to what you will see.
Locals don’t really earn much and yet they go through hardship to make salt, all they do is to carry salt and fish up the escarpment to sell and get money or do barter with those found at the top. Women mainly carry out salt production; it has been the case even in the past years.
The hot springs
As earlier said there are hot springs in the area and the water boils at 100°C every time, most people visit this area for various reasons and one of them being healing. It is great to watch water form bubbles as it reaches its boiling point, you can place in Irish potatoes, green bananas, even eggs to experiment; and these foods get ready and can be served. This water forms a stream flowing to the west where it meanders to pour in L. Albert, the worst part of it is some animals die, especially when they enter water thinking its temperature is like that of Lake Albert.
Mining and Processing Salt
Since the area is home to many salt gardens of course mining and processing salt is highly done and where this activity is done it is the salt garden. Water in this area is salty so it flows over salty soils, so the locals choose to use traditional ways of mining and processing salt for consumption.
They sprinkle dry soil on the moist soil in the water channel, after some time it dries up and salt can be easily picked, though with soil. So they go on to collect it and put in a big filter, place the filter on a container/a bucket. Later, water is poured in the salty soil and left to go through the filter to the bucket, after the salt solution got is burnt until what is got are salt crystals which turn into big cones after.
What to carry
Visitors are advised to carry enough drinking water, snacks, long sleeved shirts, long trousers, and hiking boots, also a walking stick will be given for support during the hike.
Beliefs and Myths
The locals that stay near hot springs have different beliefs and myths told to foreigners and other visitors. So while here local guides will take you around as they explain to you what you need to know. Some locals believe that the water in the hot springs completely cures many diseases like scabies, wounds, and measles among others. They also believe that hot springs can be visited up to 7pm because after that time spirits are in the springs and if you are there you can anger them among other myths.