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Mabamba Swamp in Uganda is a prime wetland birding site famous for the Shoebill which is Uganda’s most sought after bird by Uganda birding tourists as well as by nature lovers. Mabamba Swamp is located west of Entebbe on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, covering 2424 ha with thick marshes of papyrus, water lilies and other wetland grasses.

Mabamba swamp is a Ramsar site and Important Bird Area (IBA). The wetland hosts over 300 bird species that include many globally threatened species, 7 of Uganda’s 12 Lake Victoria biome restricted species (notable is the Papyrys Gonolek) and plenty of wetland specialties. The wetland also hosts huge flocks of Paleartic migrants every year from October to March.



Mabamba will captivate birders and non-birders alike. The wetland is Uganda’s most important birding site, and it is home to over 300 bird species.

Mabamba is an area of immense ecological importance. In 2006, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands awarded Mabamba Swamp the status of a ‘Wetland of International Importance’ since it contains globally threatened species.

BirdLife International recognises the Mabamba Swamp as an Important Bird Area


Things to do and See in Mabamba swamp

Mabamba Swamp
Mabamba Swamp
mabamba birding
mabamba bird

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.

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.

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.

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