Mabamba Swamp Shoebill Watching is great for birders who visit this wetland. Mabamba is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay fringed with papyrus towards the western part of lake Victoria, its west of Entebbe and one of the best places convenient to see the unique shoebill which is Uganda’s most sought of bird by birding tourists. Mabamba is a ramsar site which was declared in 2006 to protect the endangered shoebill from fishermen and also an important bird area. The wetland hosts more than 300 bird species, birding is done from a motorized wooden boat ridding through the thick marshes of papyrus.
Mabamba is popular for the shoe bill one of the most famous bird, the shoebill is a rare bird found in Uganda, the swamp is rich with lung fish which is a favorite food for the birds .The shoe bill also known as whale head is a very large stock like bird it derives its name from the shoe shaped bill. The shoe bill stock has outstanding prehistoric looks .it has a massive shoe shaped bill its usually about 150cm tall and weigh up to about 40 pounds. One could easily call the shoe bill a flying shoe because of the shape of its bill.
The shoe bill is with alife span of 50 years, it interestingly forms a monogamous relationship, the parent bird nests on the ground, it lays 2 eggs and both participate in the incubation period. The shoe bill finds their food in the swamp feeding on lung fish, sometimes supplemented with frogs, puddlefish, occasional baby crocodiles and water snakes. The shoebill stocks tend to be nocturnal, they don’t have a webbed feet although primarily waterbirds, they are mostly solitary birds and have got territories, they are normally silent birds and usually seem sluggish on the ground. Despite the shoe bill being famous at mabamba swamp, there are other bird species that can be seen while birding for example swamp fly catcher, African purple swamp hen, African water Vail, pallid harrier, African gym goose, white faced whistling duck among others.
The bird is easily seen in the morning while they stalk their prey but may be spotted all day. The tours to see the shoebill at Mabamba start at 7:30 am or at your preferred time of the day the tour is by boat across Lake Victoria to the swamps.it enables you have a great view of Entebbe airport and the beaches. The best time to tour is morning and evening hours. In order to enjoy the trip, one is advised to come along with a pair of binoculars, hat, sun protection cream, insect repellant, rain jacket, long sleeved trousers and shirts.
Mabamba swamp is located west of Entebbe on the northern shores of lake Victoria covered with thick marshes of papyrus, water lilies and other wetland grasses.it can be reached by a number of routes from Kampala or Entebbe via nakiwogo landing site.it takes an hour’s drive on dirt roads from Entebbe to mabamba swamp. The swamp can be accessed in local fishing boats/canoes with a local guide. There is available accommodation for tourists in Entebbe for example UWEC leisure accommodation, lake heights hotel, sienna beach hotel.
In conclusion, the swamp is one of the most exciting places with the endangered species shoebill, it’s one of the interesting things one should engage in while on their safari to Uganda. Contact us for more information about Mabamba Swamp Shoebill Watching.