Cost of birding Mabamba swamp

Cost of birding Mabamba swamp

December 31, 2021
Safari Tips

What is the cost of birding Mabamba Swamp in Uganda? The Mabamba wetland is located west of Entebbe and among the place to see the elusive Shoebill stork in Uganda. After a few minutes of sailing in a traditional canoe, the papyrus reeds open up into a flat grassy wetland where visitors do spot a number of shoebills regularly.

Mabamba swamp or Mabamba wetland or Mabamba bay is situated at the outskirts of Lake Victoria and it’s a home to several shoe bills. Beside Uganda, shoebills can be seen in Rwanda, South Sudan and Zambia.

The drive to Mabamba swamp from Entebbe takes approximately one hour depending on the number of stops made for bird watching activities.

We always recommend our guests leave Entebbe very early morning if they are planning to do a 1-day birding trip to Mabamba in order to avoid traffic.

You can also access Mabamba swamp by boat from Entebbe Nakiwogo landing site by a ferry of a speed boat. Once you arrive at the swamp, embark of a canoe to start searching for the rare shoebill through the overgrown papyrus.

A site guide from Mabamba area normally joins to advise on the possible location of different special bird species of the area. Travelers should note that the best time to see the shoebill stork is during the morning hours.

Besides shoebill stork, Mabamba swamp hosts several resident and migratory birds from Europe and north Africa such as African Jacana, Swamp Flycatcher, Grey-rumped Swallow,  African Fish Eagle, Great Cormorant, Grosbeak weaver, Malachite Kingfisher, Long tailed Cormorant, Yellow billed Duck, Spur-winged GooseLittle Stint, Glossy Ibis, Common Squacco Heron, White-winged Tern, Red-billed fire finch, Hamerkop, Blue breasted Bee-eater, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Grey-headed Gull, Angola Swallow, Spur-winged Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Olive bellied Sunbird, Madagascar Bee-eater, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Weyns’s weaver, Crowned Horn bill, African Pied, Knob-billed Duck, Sooty Chat, among others.

The cost of birding Mabamba swamp depends on the number of days and number of people in the party however, for 1-day birdwatching trip to Mabamba; the cost of a tour goes for $210 for a sole traveler, $128 per person if you are two people, $100 per person if you are three people, $92 per person if you are four people, $83 per person if you are five people and $76 per person if you are six people.

The birding price in Mabamba wetlands includes; Ground transport, Bottled water, Birding fees, Service of an English-speaking bird guide, Lunch and all mentioned activities that might be incorporated in your travel birding itinerary except for the optional ones however the price excludes; Tips to porters and driver/ guide and Insurance

For the best birding experience in Mabamba wetland, we advise guests to pack and carry a binocular, camera, light clothes, insect repellents, a raincoat and a life jacket if they can.

It is also important for birders to book their tour to Mabamba swamp in advance to allow local operators to prepare their birding safari thoroughly.

What to do in Mabamba swamp Uganda after shoebill tracking?

After understanding the cost of a 1-day birding trip in Mabamba swamp, you need to note that the wetlands offer several other tourist activities such as;

Butterfly Watching

Mabamba Wetland hosts a number of butterfly species. As you look out for the shoebill and other birds, get an opportunity to search for butterflies too. The butterfly species found in Mabamba wetlands are; skippers, American moth, Pieridae, emperor swallowtail butterflies, charaxes, abisaraneavei, Brush- footed butterflies, green banded swallowtail, Papilio ophidicephalo, acrea cansaquine, hairstreaks, Gossamer winged butterflies, bicyclus sebetus among others.


The Mabamba Bay is covered with muddy waters, papyrus and reeds but it joins the clear fresh waters of Lake Victoria; therefore, you can go spot fishing to catch like tilapia, lung fish, Nile perch and mud fish. The Tilapia and Nile perch are very delicious fish species and are always on a high demand not only in Uganda but also on a world market.


Much as canoes are normally used during fishing and birding activities around the wetlands, adventure tourists hire canoes to explore the swamp. Fishermen also take you deeper into the Mabamba bay up to the main Lake Victoria. On your tour, you may meet several fishermen laying their nets and lots of village dwellers sailing to the neighboring communities of Entebbe.

Community walks and visiting craft shops

Mabamba swamp is surrounded by several communities where visitors can take part in village walks and community interactions. You may but some souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Mabamba from the local communities like baskets, sandals, mats, huts, stools and bags made from papyrus/reeds.

In conclusion, the cost of birding tour in Mabamba wetlands is worth it if compared to the experience you can derive from your safari. After birdwatching in Mabamba bay, a visitor can complement it with a visit to Entebbe beaches to swim and bask in the African sun.

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