Mabamba Swamp in Uganda- Shoebill day trips from Entebbe
Mabamba Swamp in Uganda – The Mabamba swamp/wetland is a historical and scenic swamp or water logged area that has a wide array of bird species including the elusive shoebill stork. The local community has worked hard for years to preserve the swamp because of the tourism activities that take place in this area and the community benefits from birding safaris – the community provides boats that travel to Busi Island and guided boat tours to see the unique shoebill stork and the community provide the life jackets if requested.
The boat tour .at Mabamba swamp in Uganda takes approximately 3 hours n a traditional canoe boat that are used to move along the narrow channels of the great wetland as you search for the elusive shoebill stork and other rear birds in the wetland.
About the shoebill stork
It is also know as the whale head-stork is a very large stork like bird – it derives it’s name from it’s enormous shoe-shaped – bill – it has a somewhat overall stork like form and previously has been classified with storks in the order ciconliformes based on the morphology, the adult is mainly grey while the Juveniles are browner. It lives in large swamps of East Africa and Zambia.
Traveling to Mabamba swamp/wetland from Entebbe or Kampala
By boat – We can either use a motorized canoe boat to transfer you from Nkaiwogo landing site in Entebbe to the edge of the island – where you will meet with the island guide and head into the swamp to search for the shoebill -.This is the easiest way.
By Road – Mabamba wetland is a two hours drive via Kisubi – Nakawuka Road turning at Kasanje and this is the popular route because the boat might be expensive.
The history of Shoe-bill stock in Mabamba swamp and the local fishermen.
Mabamba Swamp is rich with lung fish which is the favorite food for the Shoebill. However the lung fish is also one of the most sought after fish by the local fishermen. The fishermen had long held a superstition that seeing a Shoebill (locally called ‘Bulwe’) resulted in a poor catch that day. For the fishermen it was a bad omen to see a Shoebill when one set out to fish in the wetland. They hunted the Shoebills and killed them, leading to a decline in the numbers and almost rendered them extinct in the wetland. Designating the wetland a Ramseur site in 2006 provided some protection to the Shoebill. However bird watching on the wetland brought about enlightenment to the fishermen and community. The fishermen rent out their boats to birdwatchers and make a lot of money, and even some fishermen have been trained in birding and guiding. The fishermen protect the Shoebill and that even when they set out to fish and see a Shoebill they do not move too close not to disturb it and will gladly inform the tourists of where to see it. There is about 12 Shoebills said to be resident in Mabamba wetland.
The best time to see the Shoebill in Mabamba swamp is early morning, say 7am, before there is more fishing activity.
Other bird species in Mabamba wetland
African Fire finch, African Fish Eagle, African Green Pigeon, African Hoopoe, African Jacana, African Marsh Harrier, African Pigmy Goose, Black Crake, Black Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Black-crowned Waxbill, Black-headed Heron, Black-winged Stilt, Blue Swallow, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Brown Parrot, Cattle Egret, Common Bulbul, Common Moorhen, Common Sandpiper, Common Squacco Heron, Crowned Hornbill, Double Toothed Barbet, Eastern Grey Plantain Eater, Glossy Ibis, Goliath Heron, Great Blue Turaco, Great Cormorant, Great White Egret, Great White Pelican, Green Cuckoo, Grey Heron, Grey Parrot, Grey Woodpecker, Grey-crowned Crane, Gull-billed Tern, Hadada Ibis
Best time to visit Mabamba swamp
This swamp is accessible all year round but dry months are much preferred as the water levels are low and it gives much better feeding places and the grass is short. This is June –September and Dec- Feb.
What to park for the Mabamba swamp tour?
Being an open canoe boat is used travelers visiting the swamp are required to carry sun screen, rain jacket, hut, drinking water, rain protective camera cover in case of rain, spear batteries. Contact Great Adventure Safaris about your boat trip tour to search for the shoebill stork in Mabamba swamp in Uganda.