Mabamba Swamp Tour / Uganda Birding Safari Tour
Mabamba Swamp tour is one of best birding destination on Uganda Birding Tour with the most unique birds like the unique shoe bill stork plus other bird species around which can be spotted while using a boat to access the birding areas. In spite the fact, the swamp is positioned on the fridge of Lake Victoria towards western Uganda ,a home to the shoe bills which is uncommon bird to see in very safari destination you visit .The shoe bills are only found in only four countries such as Uganda ,Rwanda ,South Sudan and Zambia .In Uganda are commonly seen in Mabamba swamp which is easiest way to be accessed by road from Kampala or Entebbe and from Entebbe can be reached by boat .The drive to mabamba from Entebbe or Kampala is approximately one hour depending on the number of the stops made for bird viewing.
Mabamba Swamp hallmark wetland that acts as a famous birding site for the unique shoe bills which is Uganda’s most attractive ever sought after bird by Uganda birding tourists as well as by nature lovers.
Location; It is a renown as birding site on Uganda birding safari located west of Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, having a lowland of over 2424 ha with thick marshes of papyrus, water lilies plus other wetland grasses. The mabamba swamp is a personal owned site ‘’Ramsar site and important Bird Area ‘’ ‘IBA’. This wetland is a home to over 300 bird species that include to many globally threatened species, of which 7 of Uganda’s 12 Lake Victoria are the notable papyrus Gonolek and various of wetland specialties. The wetland also boosts with variety of palearlic migrants every year from October to March.
Accessibility; Mabamba Swamp can be accessed by a number of routes. You can access it from Kampala or Entebbe the easiest route via Nakiwogo landing site in Entebbe which it takes only 10 minutes with ferry crossing to Kasanje landing and from there, you will have to drive about 20 minutes to Mabamba passing through cultivations and open field that will provide number of garden birds.
Birding in Mabamba Swamp can be done from a motorized wooden boat by riding through an interesting trails cutting through the thick marshes.
Since birding is best enjoyed early in the morning and evening hours when the sun hasn’t risen out or down, you will need to leave your hotel /lodge early to beat the traffic and the viewing time in order to enjoy the trip.
Mabamba swamp can be access by boat from Entebbe on the Lake Victoria, once you access the area, you will have leave the speed boat and join the canoe to access the location of the shoe bills and other bird’s species.
A visit to mabamba swamp is just a one-day birding tour which can be encountered in motorized traditional canoe as we search for the rare shoebill wading through the overgrown papyrus areas. On your birding tour to mabamba swamp tourists will be joined in with the team to advise you on the possible location of the different special bird life species found in the area.
Travelers who are bird lovers along their visit to mabamba have chances of spotting other bird species in the community and at the swamp .There are also many water bird species such as the migratory birds from Europe which tend to migrate in the month of November to April .Some of the bird species to encounter on addition to the rare Shoebill include; Angola swallow ,Olive bellied Sunbird ,Swamp Flycatcher ,Grey rumped swallow ,Blue breasted Bee-eater ,African Jacana ,African Fish Eagle ,Long tailed Cormorant ,Malachite Kingfisher ,Glossy Ibis ,White winged Tern ,Yellow billed Duck .White faced Whistling Duck ,Madagascar Bee eater, Sooty Chat ,Weyl’s weaver ,Grosbeak weaver ,Crowned Horn bill ,Knob billed Duck ,Little stint Spar winged Goose ,Great Cormorant ,Grey headed Gull Black winged stilt ,Hamerkop ,Grosbeak weaver ,Crowned Horn bill ,African pied ,Common Squacco Heron ,Red-billed fire finch ,African Green pigeon ,African Jacana ,Black Heron ,Black crowned pigmy ,African Marsh Harrier ,Purple swamp hen ,African Fish Eagle ,Blue-cheeked Bee –eater ,Cattle Egret ,Common Moorhen ,Common Sandpiper ,Common Sqacco Heron ,Black Crake ,Black Heron ,Black-Crowned Night ,Black winged Stilt , Gull billed Tern , Rey eyed Dove ,Spur winged Lapwing, Swamp Flycatcher ,Speckled Mouse bird ,Orange weaver ,Papyrus Gonolek ,Pied kingfisher ,pied wagtail ,ink backed pelican ,Long toed Lapwing ,Double Toothed Barbet ,Glossy Ibis ,Goliath Heron ,Little stilt ,Hadada Ibis ,wooden sandpiper ,wooden whitefish mentioned few species.
Best time to Visit to encounter Shoebill shock in Mabamba Swamp and other bird species, is all year around though the best comfortable time to see abundance of bird species here is in wet season that occurs from April to May and November.
On your way back, you will have chance of viewing more species you could have missed on your way to Mabamba swamp.
Birding at Nkima Forest/Mabamba Swamp
On your visit to mabamba swamp, you can decide to tour the Nkima forest also a great location for birding, it’s a small patch of forest positioned on a hill overlooking Mabamba wetlands. It is approximately 2kilometers away from Mabamba landing site and just 20 minutes’ walk from Mabamba birding site. Though Nkima forest may not be compared with Mabira forest a big forest but will give you worth an encounter of birding experience as an extra to your water birding experience to Mabamba wetlands. If you think of birding at Mabamba swamp, then Nkima forest must be an included forest habitat to improve the variety of bird list with forest species. Nkima forest is a small forest undergoing by the thick undergrowth.
Birding in Nkima forest begins at Nkima Forest Lodge right at the top of the hills where different hiking trails radiate into the forests. The clearing around the lodge is amazing as starting point of spotting birds as you can see numerous of them on fruiting and flowering trees and shrubs at the edge of the forest. Some of birds to see include Green sunbird, Grey headed Nigrofinch and Weyl’s weaver hand among others. You will have a look in the tall tree canopies where you will be able to see more bird life like cuckoos, hornbills, bee-eater, wattle eyes among more. Other species to see are Western Nicator, Red capped Robin chat, Tambourine Dove, Scaly Francolin among many.
There is also possibility of seeing wildlife like monkeys, squirrels, bush babies among others
Where to stay in Mabamba Swamp/Wetland
Around Mabamba swamp there’s no accommodation but you can sleep in Nkima Forest Lodge a nice lodge to stay in located in the heart of the Nkima forest overlooking Mabamba wetland and Lake Victoria in the distance. The lodge has nice place for chilling, relaxing and providing gainful view of the lake, monkey swinging, squirrels, bird species plus other forest inhabitants.