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1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour – Shoebills & Boat Ride

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One Day Mabamba Birding Tour Uganda

This 1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour takes you Mabamba Swamp, one of the best and most accessible Uganda birding spots from Kampala and Entebbe.

The extensive 16,500-hectare papyrus swamp is situated on the northern shores of Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest lake – west of Entebbe City. It is a Ramsar − listed wetland of international importance and Important Bird Area (1BA), with over 300 recorded bird species.

Mabamba has proved to be the most reliable and convenient place in the world to catch a rare glimpse of rare Shoebill in its natural habitat. The shoebill is Uganda’s most famous avian resident and the prime attraction to the country for most birders and nature lovers.

Highlights of 1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour

  • Bird watching – over 300 species
  • Spotting the rare shoebill stork in its natural habitat
  • Photography
  • Boat ride along the papyrus fringed channels of Mabamba Swamp
  • Scenic view of Africa’s largest lake and Mabamba Swamp

Details Of One Day Bird Watching Tour Mabamba Swamp For The Shoebills

Transfer from Kampala Or Entebbe at 6.00 am

You will set off early in the morning at around 6.00 am. Your drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Mabamba Swamp will take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Boat Tour In search of Shoebills and Other special birds

On reaching the swamp, you’ll embark on birding adventure in search of a very special bird. The birding tour will be done on wooden engine powered fishing boat.

You will be accompanied by a local birding guide who has expertise in paddling through the narrow water channels surrounded by dense swamp vegetation.

The prime target is the legendary Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). This scarily prehistoric-looking Uganda bird captures the imagination because it really does look like the dinosaurs.

The shoebill is huge – measuring up to 1.5 metres tall and with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres. It’s named after its massive bill which some say looks like a shoe and which can grow up to 24cm long and 20cm wide.

Although they are mostly silent, they use this huge bill to make loud, scary clattering sounds to communicate with other birds.

The shoebill (also known as the shoebill stork) is a solitary bird, living alone in marshy swap areas where it can sit still, waiting for fish, frogs and water snakes, for long periods without moving. This charismatic species, the only representative of its family, is certainly amongst the most highly prized birds in the world!

1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour - Shoebill

Other water birds abound and you should find several species of herons, egrets and waterfowl, the ever-present African Fish Eagle, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Marsh Harrier, Purple Swamphen, Long-toed Lapwing, African and the tricky Lesser Jacanas, Malachite Kingfisher, and African Pygmy Goose.

The papyrus holds the endearing Swamp Flycatcher, Blue-headed Coucal, Greater and White-winged Swamp Warblers, Grey-capped Warbler, the indescribable Papyrus Gonolek, and the nomadic and unpredictable Weyn’s Weaver. If you are exceptionally fortunate, you may also see the rare Sitatunga, a shy swamp-dwelling antelope with splayed hooves.

1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour - Shoebill

Birding the surrounding grasslands, papyrus swamps and farm bush

Thereafter, you will bird the surrounding grasslands, papyrus swamps and farm bush. Here you might expect to see the funky-looking Long-crested Eagle perched atop telephone poles, Wahlberg’s Eagle;

Palm-nut Vulture, hovering Black-winged Kite, African Harrier-Hawk, Lizard Buzzard, the truly impressive Great Blue Turaco, raucous Eastern Plantain-eater, seemingly awkward Black-and-white Casqued Hornbill and floppy-flighted Crowned and African Pied Hornbills, dazzling-blue Woodland Kingfisher;

Broad-billed Roller, Brown throated Wattle-eye, Angola and the endangered Blue Swallows, Splendid and Rüppell’s Starlings, African Thrush, Northern Black Flycatcher, Sooty Chat, gregarious Grey-backed Fiscal, Scarlet-chested, Superb and Red-chested Sunbirds as well as the comical Pin-tailed Whydah. Should you have missed it in the swamps, we have another chance to find the scare and nomadic Weyn’s Weaver.

Lunch At Nkima Forest Lodge

After the birding adventure, you will enjoy lunch at the nearby Nkima Forest Lodge. The lodge is named in Luganda after the many red-tailed monkeys which leap about in the trees. After lunch, you’ll return to Entebbe or Kampala for your onward travels.

End of the 1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour Uganda

Tour Inclusions

  • Transportation in 4X4 Safari vehicle
  • English speaking bird guide
  • Canoe ride fees
  • Birding fees
  • Wi-Fi Internet on board the safari vehicle
  • Bottled water
  • Lunch
  • Rolex snack on request
  • Pick up and drop off at a hotel in Kampala/Entebbe

Tour Exclusions

  • International flight
  • Your Uganda Visa fees
  • Items of personal nature
  • Gratuities and tips
  • Other beverages/drinks
  • Insurance
  • Other extras not mentioned in the itinerary above

Things to Carry For The 1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour Uganda

  • Binocular
  • Camera with additional battery and charger
  • Safari hut
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Light rain jacket
  • Insect repellent
  • Good shoes
  • Field guide book

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

1 Day Mabamba Birding Tour – Shoebills & Boat Ride


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