Mabamba Swamp

Mabamba Swamp – A Wetland for  Bird Watching on Lake Victoria Shorelines

Mabamba Swamp also known as Mabamba Bay Wetlands is a bird watching swamp popularly busy with tours of the Shoebill Stork as well as other bird species. Mabamba Wetland is just one of the many vital birding areas in Uganda. Found west of Entebbe Peninsula across Lake Victoria, the swamp is about 50 kilometers from Kampala City. Well toured on powered canoes through its water ridges, Mabamba Swamp is among the best birding watching spots in Uganda with Shoebill Bird Watching being the key activity. The swamp is also not far from Entebbe town and Entebbe International Airport, giving it an easy strategic access by visitors to Uganda. This also means that whoever wants to do a 1 day Entebbe tour can include Mabamba in the trip plan. On the other hand, a 1 day Mabamba Swamp Shoebill Bird Watching toursmay as well a tour of various tourist attractions in Entebbe including the Botanical Gardens and the Snake Park (Entebbe Reptile Village). Other tourist places in Entebbe Peninsula also include the Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) or Entebbe Zoo among others. 


Mabamba Swamp

Occupying an area of 2424 hectares characterized by thick papyrus marshes, water ridges and unique wetland grasses, the swamp is among the Ramsar Sites in Uganda as well as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The wetlands is a habitat for around 300 bird species recorded, with seven of the twelve Lake Victoria Basin species found in Uganda available in the swamp. According to recent surveys, recorded bird species in Mabamba Swamp include the indefinable Shoebill stork, the Papyrus Gonolek, Mosque Swallow, the wandering House Sparrow, Weyn’s Weaver, White-shouldered Tit, Sand Martin and the Brown Snake-Eagle.

Others are the Grosbeak Weaver, Eurasian Hobby, Blue-headed Coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo, Flappet Lark, Feral Pigeon, Striped Kingfisher, Long-Crested Eagle, Common Stonechat, Little bee-eater, Common Greenshank, Great Blue Turaco, Whinchat, Grassland Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Orange Weaver, Black-headed weaver, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Slender-billed Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver and the  Black Headed Gonolek among others.

More species on the list of Mabamba Bay, one of the tourist attraction in central region include Ruppell’s Long-tailed Sterling, Grecentraly-Headed Sparrow, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow Wagtail, African Pied Wagtail, Olivaceous Warbler, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow Billed Stork, Tawny Eagle, Carruther’s Cisticola, Ross’s Turaco, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Ashy Flycatcher, White-faced Whistling-duck, Rufous-naped Lark, Common Squacco Heron, Slender-billed Gull, Spur-winged Goose, Fulvous Whistling-duck, Long-toed Lapwing, Goliath Heron, White-browed Coucal, African Marsh Harrier and the Violet-backed Starling among the many.

The above mentioned bird species of Mabamba are all spotted on a canoes cruise across the vast wetlands that is watered by Lake Victoria. The birds are best seen morning hours when they trail their prey especially the mud-fish or frogs even though they can be spotted at any time throughout the day.

Accessing Mabamba Swamp

There are various routes visitors can use to reach this prominent destination.

  • Entebbe to Mabamba – From Entebbe area, one can use a ferry that operates daily between Nakiwogo and Buwaya Landing sites. From Buwaya, you then proceed by road to the swamp which is between 15 to 20 kilometers.
  • From Kampala or Entebbe, you can go through Nakiwogo – Buwaya landing sites to and from Mabamba to avoid a longer drive on of a marum road by Kasanje.
  • Kampala to Mabamba – One can drive from Kampala along Entebbe road, turn off at Kisubi or Kitende areas on a marum road through Sisa, Nakawuka up to Kasanje and turn on left side up to Mabamba.
  • You can also drive to Nakiwogo landing site in Entebbe, park your vehicles there and cruise by the boat direct into the swamp, search for a Shoebill plus other birds and return to the mainland.
  • If you are coming from Western Uganda on a safari, you can turn off on your right along Masaka-Kampala highway at Mpigi and drive via Kasanje up to the swamp.

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