Mabamba Swamp tour; Mabamba swamp is one of the Uganda’s top birding safari destination a home of the most sought bird species ‘’shoebill’’, located on the fringes of Lake Victoria in western Uganda which   takes about 1:20 minutes’ drive from Kampala City.

The mabamba swamp is an arm of Lake Victoria that connects to the main fishing village, birding along here is done on a motorized traditional canoes as you search for the unique shoebill through the overgrown papyrus. You will also get a great opportunity of viewing other bird species in the community including the migratory birds from Europe in the winter. Apart from seeing the rare shoe bill stork  and here some  of other bird species to encounter  which include ;Spur-winged Lapwing ,Black-winged Stilt ,Madagascar Bee-eater ,Spur-winged Goose ,Knob-billed Duck ,Little stint ,White-winged Tern ,Hammerkop ,Great Cormorant ,Grey –headed Gull ,Angola Swallow ,Olive bellied Sunbird ,Grey-rumped Swallow ,Blue-breasted Bee-eater ,African Jacana , Long tailed Cormorant , White-faced Whistling –Duck, Glossy Ibis ,Madagascar Bee-eater ,Yellow-rumped Tinker bird ,Sooty Chat ,Wayne’s weaver , Grosbeak weaver among others.

Mabamba Swamp Tour
Shoe Bill Stork

This wetland sanctuary is a home to over 260 species of birds thus making it a stopping area for birding, still a home to 38% of the total population of blue swallows in the world and inhabit various endangered yellow warbler. However, Mabamba swamp is under management of Ramsar listed Mabamba as wetland of international importance which started in 2006 and it was formed to raise global awareness and the funding   to protect it from destruction. Additionally, Uganda’s government has also provided support from International partners in order to stop encroachment on the wetland and helped to promote it as leading birding destination in the country. All this is provided to improve on birding tourism in the area and the area fishermen have become birding guides since they know every corner of the swamp.

Tourists on a Uganda birding safari often visits the area for birding and some of birds to spot include; Yellow warbler, Papyrus gonolek and shoebill stork among others. This is truly a birding site to see the rare shoebill stork, the most sought after bird in the world. Other countries where they can be found include; Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia and Uganda.

Facts about Shoe bill stork

 The male weigh over 5 kilograms and a female about 4 kilograms on average.

Adult species are grey in color while juveniles offer orange feather.

They have one of the longest bills and are said to be related to storks and pelicans.

They are shy bird species and elusive.

 Shoe bills prefer living in the wild and as far away from humans as possible.

They thrive in water logged swamps with less oxygen where fish need to come up to breathe.

Shoe bills feed on fish, frogs, insect and insects.

Original, Shoe bill stork were first discovered by the Egyptian and Arabs and got its scientific name Balaeniceps rex in the 19th century from Europeans.  In Uganda can be found in several different marvelous places such as; Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary where you can combine Rhino trekking experience with Shoebill excursion, Mabamba swampland among many. Though the Mabamba swamp has become the most convenient place on Uganda Birding Tours, it is the best place to spot birds and easy to access on birding if you’re within Kampala and Entebbe Uganda. However, it has attracted or drown near most of the international birders to the swamp.

Mabamba Swamp Tour
Mabamba Swamp

Best time to see Shoebill Stork

Shoe bill stork is best spotted in morning hours in their nature inhabits of papyrus while waiting patiently to catch mud fish when they come out to breath. The best way to spot them is by use of binoculars in search for other bird species like Yellow warbler, Papyrus gonolek, lesser Jacana, Purple heron, Flappet lark, blue swallow ,double toothed barbet among others  Birding here can take 3 to 4 hours and if you are interested in carrying a full session can be arranged, Mabamba Swamp Tour

Best time of the year to enjoy birding at Mabamba is from April to May and November good to encounter migratory bird species from Europe to Africa.

What to carry for Mabamba Swamp Tour-Birding Tours?

Here are the useful essential to carry with including; Insect Spray, Light Jacket, Binoculars, Camera, Snacks, Sunscreen, right clothes, rubber hiking shoes.