1 Day Mabamba Wetland Birding Tour



The Mabamba wetland tour is a worthwhile adventure for the birding enthusiast as it brings you closer to the majestic Shoebill in Mabamba swamp in Uganda. Mabamba swamp is arguably the best place to see the shoebill in Uganda and the one day tour is a short trip that takes you on a journey through the swamp and offers other great birding opportunities aside from looking out for the Shoebill. Mabamba Swamp is situated on the north end part of Lake Victoria and is close to Entebbe town in Uganda. The wetland is a birding hot spot and about 300 species of birds have been recorded here. Mabamba is an Important Bird Area (IBA) and is a great area to visit while on a birding safari in Uganda.

Sighting the Shoebill is a highlight for birdwatchers and visitors to Uganda as the Shoebill is a majestic and pre-historic bird with distinctive features and beautiful plumage. Watching the Shoebill is like an out of this world experience as its features are bound to capture one’s attention and watching it feed, fly or move around the swamp is an incredible experience. Birdwatchers visiting Uganda usually add Mabamba swamp to their birding itinerary while visitors who are in Uganda for business or work and are wildlife lovers tend to do a day tour to Mabamba for the Shoebill, either way one can look forward to a great excursion in Mabamba wetland.


  • Pick up and Drop off in Entebbe or Kampala
  • Transport in a Private car and Fuel
  • Experienced and Professional Birding Tour Guide
  • Birding Fees
  • Lunch
  • Drinking water in the car

Tour Plan

Your tour will start with pick up by your guide from your hotel in Kampala or Entebbe. After exchanging greetings with your driver guide you then start the journey to Mabamba with stopovers along the way every time you spot some birds. On arrival you continue birding as right at the starting point in Mabamba, some birds are usually in the trees or on the shores so you can spot some species before you embark on the main excursion. The trip is on a motorized dugout canoe ride which you get on with your site guide. After briefing from your birding site guide you start the journey looking out for the majestic and elusive Shoe bill. Mabamba wetland is a marshy swamp surrounded by papyrus so the canoe ride takes you around the swamp in search of the Shoe bill as you also look out for other birds along the way. You might come across some local fisher men from the neighboring communities as they hope to catch something for the day.
The birding experience takes about 3 hours and the best time to look for the Shoe bill is in the morning hours of the day as this is usually its hunting time. Once you locate the Shoe bill you will spend time watching this per-historic bird. The Shoe bill mainly feeds on lungfish so as you watch it you notice that it stands in one area for a long period of time, once it spots its prey it attacks using its powerful large and strong beak. The Shoe bill is a magnificent creature with distinctive features ( fierce eyes, large beak and interesting plumage), watching it exist in its natural habitat is magical! After spending time with the Shoe bill we continue with the trip looking out for some wetland species. Mabamba swamp is home to 7 of Uganda’s 12 Lake Victoria Basin restricted species so it offers some great birding opportunities. Birds of interest to look out for aside from the Shoebill while on the tip include the Papyrus Gonolek, Stripped King Fisher, Black-Headed Weaver, Blue Swallow, White-Winged Warbler, Swamp Fly-catcher, Malachite Kingfisher, African Jacana, Slender-Billed Weaver, Pied king fisher, Carruthers’s Cisticola.
Most visitors to Mabamba come specifically for the Shoe bill but Mabamba wetland does not offer that alone. Mabamba offers more birding opportunities in the neighboring Nkima Forest where one can look out for forest birds. Nkima translates as “monkey” in local dialect and the forest is home to wildlife like monkeys and that is where it derives the name Nkima forest. Nkima forest is relatively small so is easy to navigate on foot as you look out for forest birds. The White-tailed Fluff tail is a special bird to look out for while on the forest excursion. Other species to look out for include the Whistling Cisticola, Vanga Flycatcher, Snowy-Crowned Robin-chat and the Black-headed paradise Flycatcher. Birding in Nkima forest is done after the canoe ride excursion. After a good time in Mabamba you end your one day tour with transfer to your hotel in Kampala/ Entebbe or to Entebbe International Airport for your flight back home. Journey time: 1½ hours Meal Plan: Lunch
  • A rain coat to protect yourself and your equipment in case it rains while on the canoe ride.
  • Long sleeved Shirt
  • Camera and rechargeable batteries
  • Sunscreen

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