Mabamba Swamp – A Wetland for Bird Watching on Lake Victoria Shorelines
Mabamba Swamp also known as Mabamba Bay Wetlands is a bird watching swamp popularly busy with tours of the Shoebill Stork as well as other bird species. Mabamba Wetland is just one of the many vital birding areas in Uganda. Found west of Entebbe Peninsula across Lake Victoria, the swamp is about 50 kilometres from Kampala City. Well toured on powered canoes through its water ridges, Mabamba Swamp is among the best birding watching spots in Uganda with Shoebill Bird Watching being the key activity.
Occupying an area of 2424 hectares characterized by thick papyrus marshes, water ridges and unique wetland grasses, Mabamba swamp is a Ramsar site as well as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The wetlands is a habitat for around 300 bird species recorded, with seven of the twelve Lake Victoria Basin species found in Uganda available in the swamp. According to recent surveys, recorded bird species in Mabamba Swamp include the indefinable Shoebill stork, the Papyrus Gonolek, Mosque Swallow, the wandering House Sparrow, Weyn’s Weaver, White-shouldered Tit, Sand Martin and the Brown Snake-Eagle.
Others are the Grosbeak Weaver, Eurasian Hobby, Blue-headed Coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo, Flappet Lark, Feral Pigeon, Striped Kingfisher, Long-Crested Eagle, Common Stonechat, Little bee-eater, Common Greenshank, Great Blue Turaco, Whinchat, Grassland Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Orange Weaver, Black-headed weaver, Tawny-flanked Prinia, Slender-billed Weaver, Yellow-backed Weaver and the Black Headed Gonolek among others.
More species on the list of Mabamba are Ruppell’s Long-tailed Sterling, Grey-Headed Sparrow, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Spur-winged Lapwing, Yellow Wagtail, African Pied Wagtail, Olivaceous Warbler, Pied Kingfisher, Yellow Billed Stork, Tawny Eagle, Carruther’s Cisticola, Ross’s Turaco, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Yellow-throated Greenbul, Ashy Flycatcher, White-faced Whistling-duck, Rufous-naped Lark, Common Squacco Heron, Slender-billed Gull, Spur-winged Goose, Fulvous Whistling-duck, Long-toed Lapwing, Goliath Heron, White-browed Coucal, African Marsh Harrier and the Violet-backed Starling among the many.
The above mentioned bird species of Mabamba are all spotted on a canoes cruise across the vast wetlands that is watered by Lake Victoria. The birds are best seen morning hours when they trail their prey especially the mud-fish or frogs even though they can be spotted at any time throughout the day.
Accessing Mabamba Swamp
There are various routes visitors can use to reach this prominent destination.
- Entebbe to Mabamba – From Entebbe area, one can use a ferry that operates daily between Nakiwogo and Buwaya Landing sites. From Buwaya, you then proceed with your vehicle to the swamp which is between 15 to 20 kilometers.
- From Kampala or Entebbe, you can go through Nakiwogo-Buwaya landing sites to and from Mabamba to avoid a longer of a marum road.
- Kampala to Mabamba – One can drive from Kampala along Entebbe highway and turn off at Kisubi on a marum road via Sisa, Nakawuka up to Kasanje and turn on left side up to Mabamba.
- You can also drive to Nakiwogo landing site in Entebbe, park your vehicles there and cruise by the boat direct into the swamp, search for a Shoebill plus other birds and return to the mainland.
- If you are coming from Western Uganda, you can turn off on your right along Masaka-Kampala highway at Mpigi and drive via Kasanje up to the swamp.