Mabamba bay has grown into one of the most interesting and spectacular site for bird watching in Uganda. Apart from Murchison Falls National Park, Mabamba bay is the only place and site (so far rated as the best in Africa and/or the whole world) where the elusive Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) can be spotted at any one time of the day, approximately 38% of the global population of the Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea), and the globally-threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler plus other birds of global conservation concern. It is also a habitat to rare plant species like Scadoxus species. Recently, Mabamba has become one of the strong holds for the migrant Blue Swallow with over 100 individuals recorded every year. Mabamba has been surveyed in recent years and now boosts of over 260 species with one day’s record of 157 species (Bird Life International)
Mabamba bay wetland is West of Entebbe city the and can be accessed by road or boat with preference to boat transfer where tourists are guaranteed much more bird viewing than by road.
Mabamba bay wetland is most famous for the elusive shoebill the most sought after bird by tourists and a birding safari in Uganda.
Birding safaris can be organized on any given day especially for visitors staying in and around Entebbe town. After a few minutes in a small canoe the papyrus reeds opens up into a flat grassy wetlands where a number of Shoebill can regularly be seen.
Tourists with specific interests in viewing the shoebill have to embark on an early excursion because they are easiest seen in the morning when they stalk their main prey, the mudfish or frogs, but may be spotted all day. They may stand absolutely still for long periods awaiting the movements of their prey and then suddenly strike with a marvelous speed.
Although one can reach Mabamba by road we highly recommend the boat tour across Lake Victoria. Reaching Mabamba by boat, rather than by car, gives you an opportunity to see many of the birds that you may otherwise miss. The Mabamba shoebill stork tour takes approximately 4 or 5 hours and is mainly done in a dug-out canoe.
A tour to Mabamba bay wetland is a day’s tour and can be done independently or combined with your longer Uganda safari. It is one of the best sites in Uganda to spot the highly sought-after Shoebill in its natural habitat.