Mabamba Bay wetland – Home to the Shoebill and other bird species

Uganda is one of the African safari countries where you’ll find varieties of exciting tourist activities in different parts of the country. This is where you have a long bucket list including gorilla trekking, chimp trekking, game drives, white water rafting and bird watching. There are many different areas in Uganda where bird lovers will have incredible birding experiences and one of them is at Mabamba bay. Mabamba has wondrous species of birds and the most popular one is the shoebill stork.

Mabamba bay wetland is one of the swamps on the edges of L. Victoria. It is an International Ramsar Site situated in Kasanje village close to Entebbe about 45km from Kampala city. Besides the shoebill stork, there are more beautiful species of birds at this swamp. This is one of the destinations that you ought not to miss when you are in Kampala or Entebbe.

Birding on Mabamba bay is conducted on an engine-powered boat which takes you to areas where you’ll watch lots of species of birds including shoebill storks. As you go for birding, you’ll also see the neighboring villages whose main economic activities are fishing and mining. It is easy to get there without having to drive to distant areas like the rest of the popular destinations such as Bwindi national park, Bigodi swamp and others.

Mabamba swamp is a great site for birding and is internationally recognized as an Important Bird Area. Another place to visit for the shoebill stork is Murchison Falls national park but Mabamba remains the best for this elusive specie. The chances of spotting the shoebill stork throughout the day at the bay are higher than at any other place in Uganda.

Bird species at Mabamba bay Wetland

Mabamba bay wetland is a home to over 250 species and you can be able to record a sighting of about 150 bird species on your excursion on the wetland. There are 4 threatened species namely the Blue swallow, Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and the Pallid Harrier.

Other species at the wetland include the yellow-billed tinkerbird, yellow warbler, wood sandpiper, white-thraoted bee-eater, white-shouldered Tit, Goliath Herons, Winding Cisticola, Pygmy geese, Blue swallow, Brown Parrot, Common greenshank, Black-faced Rufous, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Yellow billed kite, Lesser Jacana, Long toed Lapwings, Papyrus Canary, water thicknees, Tambourine dove, swamp fly catcher, Village weaver and many more.

Getting to Mabamba Swamp

This wetland is located on the edges of Lake Victoria on the border of Kamengo and Kasanje sub-counties in Wakiso and Mpigi districts. It can be accessed from both Kampala and Entebbe. Using Entebbe road, you drive off from Kisubi and drive towards Nakawuku, Kasanje to Mabamba. And from Kampala, you’ll drive along Masaka road a distance of about 30km and branch off to the road that heads to Buyege. You’ll drive a distance of about 22km and reach Mabamba.

Apart from Mabamba bay wetland and Murchison falls national park that are famous for the shoebill stock, this bird species is also sighted at Nabajuzi swamp in Masaka, at Ziwa rhino sanctuary, lake mburo national park, lake Kyoga, in the Ishasha sector of queen Elizabeth and at Semliki wildlife reserve.

Alternatively, you can use a speed boat from Entebbe that will take you on Lake Victoria to Mabamba. You will use bigger speed boats which will transfer you to the starting point at Mabamba and then shift to the smaller one which you use to move to different parts of the wetland.

The birds at Mabamba Swamp are featured by butterflies and mammal common sightings of sitatunga and the spectacular landscape in the surrounding. Other activities to do at Mabamba are spot fishing, village walks and you could also pass by Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe.