Mabamba Swamp Bay Shoe Bill Birding
Mabamba Swamp is a prime wetland in Uganda and is considered one of the best birding sites for the rare shoebill, Uganda’s most sought-after bird by most tourists as well as nature lovers. The swamp is located West of Entebbe on the Northern shore of Lake Victoria and covers an area of 2424 hectares of land with thick marshes, water lilies and other wetland grasses.
Over 300 bird species are found on the Mabamba wetland and these also include many of the globally threatened species, 7 of Uganda’s 12 Lake Victoria biome restricted species most notably the Papyrus gonolek plus plenty of other wetland specialities. The swamp also has huge flocks of Palearctic migrants every year most probably from October to March. Mabamba bay swamp is a RAMSAR site as well as an Important Birding Area(IBA). Birding on the swamp is done by a motorized boat cutting through thick marshes.
The swamp is rich with lungfish or ‘emamba’ as termed in Luganda and this is the favourite food for the shoebill.
Other bird species in the Mabamba swamp
Apart from the rare shoebill, Mabamba bay swap has other bird species and these include the African Green Pigeon, African fish eagle, African Pygmy Goose, Black Winged Stilt, Grey-crowned Crane, Double Toothed Barbet, Black Headed Heron, Hadada Ibis, Great White Egret, White Faced Whistling Duck, Spur Winged Goose, Blue Cheeked Bee Eater, Wood Sandpiper and Woodland Kingfisher among others.
Where to stay
Tourists to Mabamba bay swamp have a variety of accommodation facilities to choose from but the most convenient place to stay is Nkima forest lodge. It is located on Nansubuga Hill overlooking the Mabamba wetland. It is a spot for birding as well as primates like the vervet monkeys and the red-tailed monkey.
How to reach Mabamba swamp
Mabamba bay swamp can be reached using different routes depending on where the client is.
From Kampala, the easiest route is through the Entebbe Nakiwogo landing site with a 10-minute ferry crossing to Kasanje and from there drive for about 20 minutes to Mabamba passing through open fields. Here you also get the chance to spot different birds in the cultivated fields on the roadside.
Tourists coming from Kampala, can also branch from Kisubi and drive through Nakawuka arriving at Mabamba swamp.
From Masaka road, a branch of about 30 kilometres to Buyege and arrive at Mabamba swamp after covering a distance of about 22 kilometres.