Shoebill in the Mabamba Swamps Uganda

Mabamba Wetlands View 1

The Mabamba Wetlands a paradise for birds and home of the Shoebill.

Mabamba Shoebill Tours

Best place to see the Shoebill is the Mabamba Swamps

The Mabamba Swamps west of Entebbe is one of the best and most convenient places to see the elusive Shoebill. 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 with luck.

Laura looking for Shoebill 1

The bird is best looked for 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 marvellous speed.

Yellow billed Duck Uganda 1

This Yellow-billed Duck allowed a very close approach.

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. Sometimes even the shoebill may elude you in the canoes only to be seen as you approach, or leave, by the bigger boat.

Long tailed Cormorant Uganda 1

Long-tailed Cormorant right alongside our boat.

The tours to Mabamba leave daily from Sunset Entebbe, 25 Church Road, Entebbe at 07:30 or at a time of your choice. The tour takes approximately four hours.

You may also be picked at any other hotel within Entebbe at no extra cost. For outside Entebbe we can organize the transport at a small extra cost.

The tours should preferably be booked in advance 1700 hrs the day before.

The costs-per-person is the same for 1-3 persons as it is based on transport, boat/canoe and guides. For group discounts please contact us to discuss the costs as group rebates are available for 4 and above. Payments can be made at the time of booking or before departure at Sunset Entebbe reception, or to the driver when picked from other places.

Fish for Shoebill Uganda 1

We met local fishermen who had a good catch - including lung fish, Shoebill food!

Please note that although the chances are high, the organisers can never guarantee that the bird is viewable at the time of reaching the Mabamba swamp.

The cost for 1-3 persons is UGX 500.000. For any additional person the cost is UGX 100.000. For group’s seven participants and above please enquire.

Intermediate Egret Uganda 1

Masses of birds make the swamps here home.

Leave from Sunset Entebbe or pick-up at your hotel, within Entebbe at no extra cost. For outside of Entebbe please enquire.

Drive to the harbour to enter the boat. The boat has life-vests.

Fishermans Huts Uganda 1

Local fishermen stay out in the swamp in these basic huts.

Boat-ride across the lake with beautiful view of Entebbe, the airport, fishermen and lots of birds, especially on approaching the swamps.

At Mabamba or Bussi we disembark the bigger boat and enter the smaller canoes for the Mabamba Swamps. The canoes will take a maximum of 3 persons excluding the driver and guide.

After some minutes in the canoe the papyrus reads opens up into the big grassy swamps. Most of the times this is where the Shoebill can be spotted.

Shoebill Uganda 2016 5

Shoebill Uganda 2016 6

After about two hours it is time to return out of the swamps and shift to the bigger boat for the journey back to Entebbe.

Sometimes the Shoebill may also be seen from the shores in the lagoon while coming into or when returning to Entebbe. Whatever the case may be, the boat trip through the lagoon is usually very rewarding for all of its birds.

This project has come about as a means of supporting the community, especially the fishing families on Bussi Island.

Except for a small administration fee to cover costs of advertising and handling all money goes to the community in form of...

- The owners of the bigger boats that take you across the lake are smaller traders from the island - The owners of the canoes and the guides are local people from Bussi and Mabamba - The guides we use are unemployed youth from Entebbe that we train at no cost - The taxi drivers that ferry you from your hotel to the harbour are local and in most cases owning their own vehicles The proceeds go towards supporting the community at Bussi Island.

Our relation with the communities at Bussi Island is indeed very long. The ABF of Sweden have, for instance, since long back through us supported the Kidayo Hospital with a water collection tank, solar power for lighting, equipment for the maternity ward, medicine etcetera.

We have also, through the cooperation with international schools given support to Bussi Junior School, Bussi Parents Primary School and to individual families on the island.

This is a wonderful community based project that is protecting these wonderful wetlands and providing much needed income to the local people – well worth your support.

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