Mabamba bay is a permanent wetland located in between two districts Wakiso and Mpigi district. Mabamba bay is also a papyrus swamp lying on the edges of Lake Victoria, Northwest of Entebbe peninsula. The outer edges of the wetland are lined with forests dominated by silk trees and needle trees. Mabamba bay swamp is a source of fish for home consumption and commercial use and it’s also a source of raw materials for local crafts, building materials, water for both domestic and livestock use.

It’s an important birding area in Uganda hence being known as “The Bird-Lovers Dream Destination.”

Mabamba swamp has over 260 species of birds and tourists especially the birders make a stop to spot birds like Shoebill stork, Blue swallow, Yellow Warbler and Papyrus Gonolek.

Mabamba Bay is strategically located since its near and close Entebbe International Airport hence attracting a lot of birders within and outside the country.

There are also other routes such as from Kampala and from Entebbe.


From Entebbe, one can follow Entebbe to Kampala road, branch off Kisubi to Nakawuka then Kasanje before reaching Mabamba.


Then from Kampala, take a taxi to Kasanje trading center from the new taxi park then get a boda boda up to Mabamba. It can take 1hour and 30 minutes or 2 hours to the swamp where you will find a local canoe boat and start your search for a special bird.


The easiest route is through Nakiwogo landing site using a speed boat. It can take for about 45 minutes to the Island then meet a motorized wooden canoe so that a search for different species can start.


There are a lot of bird species found in this swamp such as African Water Rail, African Pied Wagtail, African Fish Eagle, African Green Pigeon, Africana Jacana, Angola Swallows, Black Crake, Ashy Flycatcher, Black Headed Heron, Black Faced Rufous, Black-winged Stilt, Black Headed weaves, Common Moorhens, Common Greenshank, Crowned Hornbill, Comrants, Common Waxbill, Fan-tailed widowbird, Shinning blue kingfisher, Slender-billed Waver, Red-Chested cuckoo, Speckled mousebird, White-throated bee eater.



Shoebill stork is also known as Balaeniceps rex. It’s a rare and an endangered bird with long, slender blue grey legs that matches its blue grey feathers. It is a large outstanding bird with a shoe shaped bill and it stands 55 inches above the swampland mud that it calls home. Shoe bill lives and occurs in extensive dense fresh water marshes. They eat big fish {lung fish}, eels, snakes and catfish.

Shoebill is normally silent but during nesting season, they engage in bill-clattering as a means of communication. It’s very obedient to humans since they do not threaten human but rather just stare right back at them. Shoebill stork is considered to be one of the 5 most desirable birds by birdwatchers and this has brought attention and need for protection allover where they are found since they attract hundreds of bird-lovers around the world.

The best time to see these Shoebill at Mabamba swamp is early morning and also it’s during this time shoebill is chasing for fish to eat. It’s also visited all year round but mostly dry months since water levels are low.

Apart from bird watching, there are some other activities to do while at Mabamba bay such as;

  • Farming; there is dry season and wetland edge farming. Mabamba wetland system provide water required for crop cultivation so that to maintain soil fertility. Major crops include yams, pineapples, sugarcane, potatoes, beans, maize, ginger and other leafy vegetables.


  • Boat Tour; birders choose to hire motorized wooden canoe for exploring the wetland. Local fishermen will guide and take you around the swamp since they are very familiar to where you can spot the special rare shoebill stork.


  • Fishing; Mabamba wetland is an important habitant for a number of fish species such as lungfish, catfish, mudfish and Tilapia. They are very delicious fish species leading to high demand on the world market. Also the presence of lungfish in the wetland creates food for rare shoebill.


  • Visiting craft shops; to see beautiful and skillful handmade mats, cottages, purse and other items. This creates employment opportunities for the local community and also increases revenue to the government.


  • Viewing butterflies; Mabamba wetland is also a home for numerous butterfly species. Over 200 different species can be seen at wetland such as Acraea aganice, Acraea aurivilli, Bicyclus sebetus and many more.


  • Enjoying the lake Victoria Sunset


  • Tasting mouthwatering fresh fruits


  • Research and Education purpose.

As you plan to visit Mabamba bay, have to pack the sunscreen, rain jackets, hut, drinking water and camera. And also choose the best tour safaris as FRIENDS NATURE SAFARIS to guide you for the search for different bird species especially the rare shoebill stork.