Mabamba Wetland

The Mabamba Wetland is located in Entebbe in the northern part of Lake Victoria which is believed to be the second-largest freshwater lake in the world. The swamp is covered by thick mashes of papyrus, water lilies, and other wetland vegetation. The wetland is home to a variety of bird species found in the Kasenge village. The communities living next to the swamp majorly depend on the mining of sand, fishing, and hunting which has greatly affected the area. It was recognized as a Ramsar site in 2006. This was when the government increased its protection against encroachment and it contained threatened species. Presently, this area is designated as an important birding area by BirdLife International.

The wetland is a host of over 260 bird species and also some mammal species. it also hosts 38% of the world’s population of blue swallows and the sitatunga antelopes often referred to as the swamp antelopes are also available.  All these species are facing challenges of extinction due to increased hunting. However, the government is working hard to overcome this illegal hunting. The government is working with international organizations to overcome this encroachment.

The most sought-after bird for travelers on their Uganda safari in the Mabamba wetland is the shoebill stork.  Since the wetland is rich in lungfish which is a favorite food for the shoebill stork. However, the fishermen on this island believe that the shoebill on the wetland has reduced the number of lungfish that are usually caught. The fishermen decided to kill them so that they would get enough fish which led to their reduction in number. Currently, about 12 shoebills are remaining in the Mabamba wetland.

What to do in the Mabamba wetland?

Shoebill tracking

Shoebill tracking or whale head stork tracking is one of the most famous and popular activities done in the Mabamba wetland. This involves canoeing on the small canoes around the swamp. Shoebills nest within the swamp vegetation which is always floating on an island and this is 3 metres in width. During the breeding time, they lay chalky white eggs in their nests. When the eggs are laid, there are rivalry fights between the hatched chicks and these chicks tend to fight which will out-compete them and kill them at times. There seasons of the hatching and laying of eggs change with the seasonal flood cycle.

Mabamba Wetland
Shoebill stork in Mabamba Wetland

The shoebills are found in over 9 countries in Africa in swampy areas in small population groups. They also live in pairs of male and female towards the various ends of their shared territory. Shoebill tracking is usually done very early in the morning since it is still cool for the day. During this shoe bill tracking, you are required to have waterproof equipment any time it rains.


The Mabamba wetland is a birder’s paradise for travelers on their birding tours to Uganda. The wetland is home to over 260 bird species which makes it a special place for birding.

While on a safari in this wetland, travelers have the opportunity to track many birds. Birding at Mabamba Wetland is done in the morning hours of the day. The bird species in this area include waterfowl, raptors, African fishing eagles, African fire finch, African green pigeons, common sandpiper, brown parrots, cattle Egret, Grey parrots, and many others. Travelers on their Uganda safari may decide to do a 1 day Mabamba Wetland tour for an exceptional birding experience since the area is near the Entebbe International Airport.

Canoe rides

The canoe rides or canoe safaris are also done within the area where travelers on their Uganda safari tend to have the opportunity to see the natural habitats in the area. These canoe rides are usually done in the tight channels of the swamp where you will have to track some bird species and animals. The animals that are usually tracked include the sitatunga which are the swamp antelopes living in the area.  And they have reduced in number due to poaching by the natives. Also, some reptiles are sited within the swamp.

Accommodation facilities in the Mabamba Wetland

Travelers on their Uganda safari to the Mabamba wetland usually choose to stay in Entebbe on their safari to Uganda since the facilities within the wetland are less compared to those in Entebbe. There are also campsites for travelers on their Uganda safari who usually wish to stay near the wetland. They are usually recommended to have waterproof equipment due to the rains. Some of the facilities include the Mabamba Lodge overlooking the wetland and the forest is an eco-lodge found in the area. The other facilities are found in Entebbe. They include; the Nkima Lodge, Via via Hotel, Red Chilli Lodge, Green Valley Resort, and many others.

What is the best time to visit the Mabamba wetland?

Mabamba wetland is one of the destinations that is near the airport in Uganda. The wetland is usually visited throughout the year. And the best time to visit the wetland is during the dry months of the year that is to say December to February and June to September. During these months, the area is dry and has open vegetation where you can have the opportunity to site the attractions within the area. On the other hand, during the wet months of the year, the wetland is also available for tourism. But less wildlife is seen due to thick vegetation, and large water volumes. The other opportunity you have during the wet season is that there is less traffic and a high chance of getting a more personalized experience.

How to get there?

While on the safari to the Mabamba wetland, travelers can choose from either water or road transport. When using water, travelers on their Uganda safari will use a ferry on Lake Victoria. They sail to Kasenge village in the northern part of Lake Victoria. Upon arrival in the village, they proceed to the wetland for their excursion. This water transport is one of the fastest ways to reach the sanctuary in time. Alternatively, by road, you will have a 2-hour drive through the old Entebbe Road to Kisubi, Nakawuka Village. Then proceed to Kasenge Village where the wetland is located. This kind of transport means is somewhat longer and at times tiresome. The Mabamba wetland offers a one-day or half-day excursion to travelers on their Uganda safari since it is near the Entebbe International Airport. Book yours now and enjoy an exceptional birding experience on a Uganda trip.

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