Shoebill - Birding tour
Mabamba Swamp is one of the best places in Uganda to spot the highly sought-after Shoebill in its natural habitat. Regularly featured on tourism brochures, these appealingly grotesque birds look like they’ve crawled straight out of the swamp (which they have), with their out-ofproportion features and a massive dirty-yellow bill that resembles an old battered shoe. Birdwatching is mostly via canoe, where you’ll navigate waterways comprising lily pads and papyrus swamp. Among the 260 species in the region, other notable birds include the Papyrus yellow warbler, Pallid harrier, and Blue swallow
What to Expect
After breakfast, we embark on the drive from your place of residence in Kampala/Entebbe to Mabamba Swamp, around 50km from Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The drive to Mabamba offers an experience of exploring various bird species like Papyrus Gonolek, White Shouldered Tit, Red Cap, Western Banded Snake Eagle, White Winged Warbler, White Spotted Flufftail, and Weyns Weaver.
Upon arrival in Mabamba Swamp, you get to the canoe and head to the swamp in the company of a local guide with expertise in paddling through the narrow water channels surrounded by dense swamp vegetation. The Shoebill stays in the papyrus but will also rarely stay on land overlooking the water. Each wooden boat at Mabamba Swamp will carry at least 3-persons for easy bird watching with a birding guide and a boat captain, and each session takes at least 3hrs depending on the day’s luck, but a full day birding excursion is also possible.
Birding in Mabamba on Lake Victoria swamp features counts of birds, including the rare and the Vulnerable Shoebill stork, the Allen’s and Purple Gallinule, Grey herons, Jacanas, Ruffaus Squacco, the globally threatened Pallid Harrier, and Bellied Heron. Other species like the Blue swallow, ducks, and Egrets, among other birds, can be explored. The swamp-dwelling Sitatunga antelope may be sighted during the swamp tour. You have a picnic lunch and then return to Kampala, arriving in the evening to mark the end of the excursion.