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Located at the edge of Lake Victoria and an hour’s drive from Entebbe city, Mabamba Swamp is a popular place to visit in Uganda because it is famous for its bird watching and shoebill tour. The swamp is characterized by small channels of water and lagoons and is an ideal place to spend your Africa tour. Mabamba Bay stretches to about 16,500 hectares and is a huge part of Wetlands of International Importance that was chosen by the Ramsar Convention. Mabamba Swamp is a well known wetland which is famous for its birding site where you can spot the famous Shoebill bird-Uganda’s most sought after bird. Attracting tourists from all walks of life, the swamp has become a popular tourist attraction in Uganda. This swamp boasts of many other birds and other species and is an ideal place for all the nature lovers. It is a natural habitat for elusive Shoebill storks and allows the visitors to watch these species via a canoe. If you are interested in bird watching tours, Mabamba Swamp is a perfect place to stop by and admire the beauty of the entire region. Since the swamp is close to the Entebbe international airport, it is a perfect starting point for all those who are interested in a long safari in Uganda. Apart from the shoebill Storks, the swamp is a sanctuary that boasts of four threatened species such as the Blue Swallow, Pallid Harrier, Papyrus Gonolek and White Winged Warbler which you can easily spot. If you are in Uganda, you cannot miss this place as it has lot in store for the enthusiast travelers.

Best Time To Visit Mabamba Swamp

The Mabamba swamp can be visited anytime of the day but if you wish to enjoy the birding tour, it is best you head there in the late morning hours. Make sure you carry your sunglasses, hats, insect repellent, sun protection and a rain jacket that will keep you safe in the summer season. The climate of Mabamba swamp is the same as in other areas of Lake Victoria which has an average temperature of 17 degree Celsius and maximum temperature of 26 degree Celsius. 

Things To Do In Mabamba Swamp

Let the experts guide you to the best of this mesmerizing destination

Shoebill Tour

Mabamba swamp is popular for its shoebill tour where you can spot these species from a closer point of view. The best time to view these birds is in the morning where you will get to see them preying on the mudfish or frogs. Otherwise also, you can spot these birds all day long in their natural habitat. Experienced guides will guide you about the place and the bird species as well. Get on your canoe and have your binoculars to watch these shoebill birds from a distance. Discover the swampy marshlands and wetland areas around and make the most of your birding trip.

Meet the local fishermen

Mabamba swamp is home to abundance of bird species where you can spot them in their natural habitat. The local tour guides at the Mabamba swamp are mostly fishermen who have been trained to preserve both the birds as well as the swamp. While on your birding tour, make sure you meet these fishermen who will be happy to tell you a story about the swamp as well as about the entire region. Get to know about their culture and how they protect these birds residing in the Mabamba swamp.

Watching Butterflies

Bird watching is the main highlight of the Mabamba Swamp but apart from the shoebill storks and other bird species, you can spot countless butterfly species that will leave you awe struck. The swamp is home to more than 200 species of butterflies that has attracted tourists from all walks of life. You can spot most common species like Acraea Consanquine, Acraea aganice, Achaea aurivilli, Bicyclus sebetus, Abisaraneavei and many others that will make your birding tour more interesting and exciting.

Spot fishing

Before Mabamba Swamp became popular, fishing was the main activity in this entire region of Uganda. Fishing is still considered to be the main economic activity in the area and has become a popular sight to spot abundance of fish species. You can spot popular species such as Tilapia, mudfish, lungfish and the large Nile Perch while on your fishing tour in Mabamba Swamp. You can see many fishermen in the area and even join them or watch them for afar. If you wish to join them make sure you take your own equipment with yourself and begin your fishing tour.

Spot the Sitatunga antelope

Mabamba Swamp is a well known sanctuary that houses the Siatunga antelopes. When you are on your bird watching tour, you are most likely to encounter these elusive antelopes in the area. These endangered species are a treat to the eyes as you can witness them in their natural habitat. Over the past few years, their population has been dwindled because if it’s uncontrolled poaching

Canoe Tour

Although Mabamba Swamp is famous for its Shoebill storks, but you can easily view other bird species as well in the region. If you wish to watch other species of birds, canoe tours can be arranged where you can enjoy watching the birds, go for fishing and also enjoy a tour of the nearby islands of Lake Victoria. Make sure when you board the canoe, you have your life jackets on for safety reasons. Look out for birds in the reeds and also on the water where you can spot species like hamerkop, papyrus gonolek, yellow-billed ducks, spur-winged geese, African jacana, and purple swamhens.

Village walks and visiting Craft Shops

When in Mabamba swamp, make sure you take a village tour and visit the craft shops as well. The village tour gives the visitors excellent opportunities to interact with the locals and get to know about how they live and make their ends meet. Head to visit the craft shops where you can get to see beautifully crafted bags, mats, baskets and huts. You can also shop these products and take back memories of the place.

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Uganda Birding and Chimpanzee Tracking

Duration: 7N / 8D

Kampala - Mabamba Swamp (1N) - Murchison Falls Uganda (3N) - Kibale National Park (2N) - Queen Elizabeth National Park (1N) - Kampala

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How to Reach Mabamba Swamp

The best way to reach Mabamba Swamp is by boat across Lake Victoria. This route is highly recommended for all the visitors who wish to come to Mabamba swamp. The boat tour gives a perfect opportunity to see abundance of bird species which you may otherwise miss compared to road or car transport.  Get down at Entebbe town and from there you can take a speed boat that will take you directly to the Swamp through Lake Victoria. It takes about 40-50 minutes by a speed boat to reach the swamp and it can be hired from the town or the sailing club in Entebbe.

Those who wish to travel by road, the swamp can be accessed from both Kampala and Entebbe. If you are coming from Entebbe, you can follow the old Entebbe and Kampala road and leave from Kisubi. From there, one can drive to Nakawuka then Kasanje before reaching Mabamba. For those who are coming from Kampala route have two options-the first is you can take a taxi from the new taxi park to Kasanje trading centre and from there you can hire a motorcycle taxi up to Mabamba. The other route is you can use the Masaka road and reach Buyege. On arriving Buyege, you can drive to Mabamba which is approximately 22 Km. 

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