Bird Watching at Mabamba Swamp : On a Uganda safari most sightsee would love to have a glance at Uganda’s most adorable birds in the area and while on this safari be ready to sight a lot of different birds and others. When birding is considered Uganda safari will always consider and recommend one to have a stopover at the great mabamba landing site.

Mabamba landing site receptions you with some nice birding even before going out into the wetland. The tall trees, shrubs and thickets host quite a number of birds and can astonish you with a lifer or special sighting. So, you can devote some minutes or an hour skimming the habitats before taking the boat trip to explore the water channels of the Mabamba wetland.

The outstanding Excellent Sunbird has been a mutual sighting here often seen in short trees and shrubs picking insects on tree branches before running into a violent Red-chested Sunbird which is all over the place.

Bird Watching at Mabamba Swamp
Shoe Bill Stork

Birds found at mabamba landing site

Birds often sighted include Yellow-breasted Apalis, Weyn’s Weaver, Village Weaver, Vieillot’s Black Weaver, Grey-capped Warbler, Yellow-throated Greeenbul, Splendid Starling, Brown-throated Wattle-eye, Lesser Striped Swallow, Swamp Flycatcher, etc.

While at the wetland birding can be done from different directions of the wetlands and most of these birds are visible in different ways.

Some of the ways of that sightsee can see the birds are these below.

Birding on water

Birding on Mabamba wetland is done from a motorized wooden canoe/boat. Sufficient boats are obtainable with local riders keenly waiting to take you to see the Shoebill. The Shoebill will be the first bird to air for as soon as you get into the boat. The fishermen who go out initial in the morning to find what they caught in their nets sometimes help in providing data where they saw the Shoebill. Or else it will be a game of probing in the known grasses where the Shoebill loves to hunt.

Trail birding

Afterwards the boat trip on Mabamba swamp you can then take on this trail which starts on your left just before the exit. The path goes along the wetland and passes through agricultures and bush land and past a eucalyptus tree estate that is not so rich but can deliver some astonishing woodland species. You can take a couple of hours walking till when you feel you have had enough because the trail is quite long. Some of the mutual birds include:  Rufous-napped Lark, Sooty Chat, Grassland Pipit, Red-bellied Paradise-Flycatcher, Lizard Buzzard, cuckoos, weavers, scrub-robins, sunbirds and so very more.

Birding in Nkima Forest

Nkima Forest is a small patch of forest situated on a hill superintending Mabamba wetlands. It is about 2km from Mabamba landing site and is just a 20 minutes’ walk from Mabamba. Nkima forest may not compare with the big forests like Mabira forest, but it will give you a valuable forest birding knowledge as an extra to your water and trail birding experience at Mabamba wetlands. If you think of a day of birding Mabamba wetlands and its vicinities, then Nkima forest is the comprised forest locale to advance the variety of bird list with forest species. Nkima forest will shock you with some forest specials that you may not easily see in the big forests. It is a young forest going by the thick scrub.

Attractions in Nkima forest

While on your Uganda wildlife safari to the nkima forest be ready to see the Green Sunbird, Grey-headed Nigrofinch and Weyn’s Weaver for these are hard to miss here. Looking farther up in the tall tree canopies you will see more birds including cuckoos, hornbills, bee-eaters, wattle-eyes etc. After walking the grassy clearing at the top of the hill you can go into the forest interior to look for specials. The shy but vocal White-tailed Fluff tail is top on the list and Nkima forest perhaps gives you guaranteed sightings. Other species you stand a high chance of spotting in the interior include Western Nicator, Red-capped Robinchat, Tambourine Dove, Scally Francolin, amongst others, Bird Watching at Mabamba Swamp.

Additional to birds Nkima forest is occupied with other wildlife including:  monkeys, squirrels, bush babies, sitatunga and so many more.

Best time for birding in mabamba landing site

Uganda safari usually recommends having these trails for the birds most especially in the Morning period being that it is the best stint to see the Shoebill when it is stalking lungfish by standing still for long even periods without movement until an unlucky fish crosses its path. Later in the day when it gets hot the Shoebill rests which it does by spreading out its wings & squatting among the grass and thus may be hard to find. It may also be seen flying high in the sky to cool.

Bird Watching at Mabamba Swamp
Bird Watching at Mabamba Swamp

Where to stay in Mabamba

Nkima Forest Lodge: Nkima Forest Lodge at the moment is the only decent place to stay in/near Mabamba. It is a nice lodge located in the heart of the Nkima forest overseeing Mabamba wetland and Lake Victoria in the distance. The main house that houses the lounge, restaurant, and library is on top of the hill and is a nice place to chill and observe the forest.

The lodge has 8 cottages well situated down the hill in different spots of the forest interior. The cottages are spacious and beautifully furnished and are self-contained with washrooms inside. They have a deck where you can sit and enjoy views into the forest and from the comfort of your lodge you observe monkeys swinging by, squirrels, birds and other forest inhabitants.

The lodge also has a deck standing high up near the forest canopy where you can sit and relax as you have near eye-level views of birds and monkeys, plus partial views through trees of Lake Victoria in the distance.

For nature lovers this is a nice getaway near Entebbe. As for birders starting their birding trip in Uganda this is a great lodge to stay near Entebbe and start your birding in Mabamba and Nkima Forest.

 How to get to mabamba landing site

Mabamba swamp can be accessible both on water and land, the tranquil route from Kampala or Entebbe is by ferry via Nakiwongo landing site towards kasajja landing site with about 30 minutes. As well by land, you can use Kitende off Entebbe road towards Sisa trading center within about 40mins.  and it can become easy to access the landing with a well trusted Uganda safari tour company.

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