Ethiopia and Kenya are home to some awe-inspiring geothermal activity thanks to the ripping-apart effects of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Many hot springs in Ethiopia are close to the capital city, Addis Abba, making them accessible to visitors. The belief that hot springs have curative powers is universal. They’re a big tourist draw in Africa, and often become the basis of lucrative ventures such as spas and hotels. Here are the top 10 hot springs in Ethiopia and Kenya that have become famous around the world.
Sources: TripAdvisor.com, VirtualTourist.com, Travel.Kenia.co.ke, Journals.Worldnomads.com, Norway.org.et
These springs that once attracted Ethiopian nobility are now accessible to citizens and visitors in the form of a public bath and showers. Ethiopian citizens visit the spot regularly to relax or soak in water that is usually between 40-and-50 degrees Celsius. The area also attracts birds and wildlife such as water bucks, dik-diks and Nile alligator (they eat fish).
The two pools at Ethiopia’s Sodere Hot Springs Resort are fed by natural hot springs. Public baths and showers are also available. The resort attracts many Ethiopians who want to escape from the city for a short time. Tour companies also offer day trips to the springs.
This spring supplies the Wondo Genet Resort Hotel with a steady stream of hot water. It is located outside of Addis, and members of the public can pay for admission. Part of the allure is the lush green mountainside and abundance of wildlife.
The Negash Lodge offers visitors access to the healing waters of this hot spring. Locals strongly believe the water cures certain ailments.
Ethiopia’s Lake Abijatta and Lake Shala have a number of hot springs that are tourist attractions. There is usually so much steam rising from Lake Shala that the view is foggy. These two lakes are located in the Great Rift Valley area.
Other hot springs in Ethiopia include the Lake Shala hot springs, which are part of the Rift Valley land formation, and the Wanzaye hot springs. Unlike some other African countries with hot springs, many Ethiopian hot springs feed into hotel swimming pools and are generally accessible to visitors and locals.
In some areas, it is possible to enjoy a soak in the soothing waters, however, there are some that are so hot, that you have to be content with just feeling the steam and inhaling the vapors. Some natural hot springs in Kenya include:
This is the most famous of all the hot springs in Kenya. Lake Bogoria actually has more than 200 hot springs around it. Some of these springs are in the lake itself while others are close to it. The temperature of the water is around 98.5 degrees Celsius.
The saline, alkaline lake is located in the Kenyan Rift Valley known for its volcanic features and hot springs. Visitors can go on a one-day expedition of Magadi to explore the fascinating sand flats, swim in the hot springs and try bird watching. Being in Maasai country, this is a perfect opportunity to learn about the culture of the people.
Also located in the Kenyan Rift Valley, this salt lake is the world’s largest desert lake and by volume, the fourth-largest salt lake in the world. The area has many fossils and is regarded as the cradle of humanity, resulting in expeditions there every year. While swimming is possible, most visitors avoid getting into the blue waters that give the lake the name, the Jade Sea.
This hot spring is one of Kenya’s largest and has 32 separate springs. Three of these are constantly shooting water into the air, earning them the name, “perpetual spouters.” Tourists can take tours to the lake.
Also part of Lake Bogoria, this is a group of approximately 40 hot springs. Like most of the other lakes and hot springs in the area, the vegetation is one of the attractions.