Introduction to Mabamba Swamp
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 (IBA).
The Mabamba Swamp is Uganda’s best location for adventurers who wish to see the mysterious Shoebill. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Shoebill as vulnerable.
The swamp is named after the lungfish which inhabit its waters, and they form the staple of the Shoebills’ diet. The local fishermen also rely on catching the lungfish, and this tension led some fishermen to kill Shoebills and destroy their nests.
However, the IUCN has forged a partnership between the fishing communities and the Shoebill. The conservation project empowered local communities to create an income through providing tours for travellers.
These guides are now a part of the Mabamba Wetland Eco-Tourism Association. They share their knowledge of the swamp and part of the revenue from their tours is re-invested in conservation projects which protect the Shoebill.
Birding in Mabamba Swamp
You have the highest chance of spotting the Shoebill in the early morning.
Glide through the swamp’s channels in a traditional canoe and listen as your guide educates you about the complex ecosystem.
Mabamba is also home to many other majestic birds, including the African marsh harrier, the glossy ibis, and the long-toed lapwing.
Getting to Mabamba Swamp
From Entebbe, a one-hour road trip will take you to the village of Mabamba where a local boatman will take you out in local dugout canoes.
This is a lovely half day excursion that works well when you have a few hours between flights.
It is also possible to travel to Mabamba via boat, across Lake Victoria. The scenic journey gives you more time to appreciate the beautiful birds.
From Kampala, the journey takes around an hour by road, via Nakawuka-Kasanje.
Where to stay around Mabamba Swamp
The Protea Hotel Entebbe
The Protea Hotel Entebbe is a luxury 4-star resort hotel which serves as a great base for your adventures at Mabamba Swamp.
Its restaurant offers a delicious à la carte menu and its speciality dishes are Tilapia and Nile Perch.
The Fitness Centre is open 24/7 and The Tides Spa offers a wide range of beauty and massage treatments. It is the perfect place to relax at the end of your Ugandan adventure.
Entebbe is renowned for its small and characterful guesthouses and our favourite is The Karibu Guesthouse.
The charming boutique hotel was once a presidential residence, and it is just ten minutes from Entebbe International Airport.
Karibu’s team of dedicated staff go the extra mile to provide a personalised service.
The hotel offers bespoke accommodation, and its 8 en-suite rooms have unique designs. The main house maximises its stunning surroundings and its rooms have a spectacular view of Lake Victoria’s sapphire waters.
The Boma Hotel
Nestled in a leafy suburb, the Boma provides a warm and homely welcome, with comfortable rooms, a lovely garden and excellent food. The accommodation blends modern luxuries with the charm of 1940s architecture.
If you like small lodges on safari, then The Boma will be perfect for you. The staff provide an outstanding service, and they can help organise your airport transfers.
The Lake Victoria Serena Hotel
The Lake Victoria Serena Hotel is defined by exclusivity and indulgence.
The grand golf resort is located in between Entebbe and Kampala, and it is the only luxury accommodation in the area.
Overlooking the crystal waters of Lake Victoria, it is a great place to pamper oneself.
Home to Uganda’s finest championship golf course, the hotel also offers a boating marina, a business centre, and a spa.
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