1 Day Mabamba Birding Safari will mostly be in a motorized traditional canoe as we search for the Shoebill wading through the overgrown papyrus. A site guide from the Mabamba area will join the team to advise on the possible location of the different special bird species in this area.
Mabamba Swamp is an extensive marsh stretching through a long narrow bay, fringed with papyrus towards the western main body of Lake Victoria in Mpigi District. It has the status of an unprotected area with bird categories, globally threatened species, and Lake Victoria Basin biome species. This Important Bird Area (IBA) is one of the best marshy areas along the Northern shores of Lake Victoria for bird watching, it is the closest place to Kampala. The climate is similar to other areas of the Northern shorelines of the lake (1200 – 1500mm of rain with an average minimum temperature of 17°C and the average maximum temperature of 26°C).
Birding in Mabamba wetland, Uganda.
Mabamba bay has grown into one of the most interesting and spectacular sites for birding in Uganda and is one of the wetlands of International Importance. Apart from Murchison Falls National Park, Mabamba bay is the only other place and site ( so far rated as the best in Africa and/or the whole world) where the elusive Shoebill can be spotted at any one time of the day. Recently, Mabamba has become one of the strongholds for the migrant Blue Swallow with over 100 individuals recorded every year. Mabamba has been surveyed in recent years and now boasts of over 260 species with one day’s record of 157 species.
For a seasoned birder, you have opportunities for many other bird species in the community and at the swamp. There are numerous water birds including migratory birds from Europe. Some of the bird species to look out for in addition to the Shoebill include; Angola Swallow, Swamp Flycatcher, Olive bellied Sunbird, Grey-rumped Swallow, Blue-breasted Bee-eater, African Jacana, African Fish Eagle, Long-tailed Cormorant, Yellow-billed Duck, Malachite Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis, White-winged Tern, Hamerkop, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Spur-winged Goose, Knob-billed Duck, Little Stint, Great Cormorant, Grey-headed Gull, Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Madagascar Bee-eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Sooty Chat, Weyns’s weaver, Grosbeak Weaver, Crowned Hornbill, African Pied , Common Squacco Heron, Red-billed fire finch etc.
After breakfast, you embark on the drive from your place of stay in Kampala to Mabamba Swamp around 50km from Kampala the capital of Uganda. The drive to Mabamba is an experience of its own offering chances of exploring various bird species like Papyrus Gonolek, White Shouldered Tit, Red Cap, Western Banded Snake Eagle, White Winged Warbler, White Spotted Fluftail and Weyns Weaver. Upon arrival in Mabamba Swamp, you get to the canoe and head to the swamp in the company of a local person worth expertise in paddling through the narrow water channels surrounded by dense swamp vegetation. Birding in Uganda`s Mabamba on Lake Victoria swamp features counts of birds including the rare and the Vulnerable Shoebill stork, the Allen’s and Purple Gallinule, Grey herons, Jacanas, Ruffaus Squaco, the globally threatened Pallid Harrier and Bellied Heron. Other species like blue swallow, ducks and egrets among other birds can be explored. The swamp dwelling Sitatunga antelope may be explored during the swamp tour. You will retreat from the experience and drive back to Kampala/Entebbe to mark the end of the excursion.