1 day birding tour to Mabamba swamp and Mpanga Forest

This one day Uganda birding trip covers two well known Uganda birding hotspots that are also some of the most accessible from Kampala. The Mabamba Swamp is situated on the northern shore of Lake Victoria, west of Entebbe. It is a Ramsar Site and an Important Bird Area (IBA), with over 300 species recorded here. The wetland has proved to be the most reliable place (natural habitat) to see the Shoebill, Uganda’s most sought after bird. To supplement our Mabamba wetland species list with forest birds, Mpanga Forest with over 300 species is a just few kilometers away.

Early birding at Mabamba – Looking for the Shoebill and papyrus specialties

We shall set off as early as 6am. Head to Entebbe and catch the early ferry at Nikiwogo landing site crossing the bay over to Kasanje. The 10 minutes ride will also provide some water species such as the Pied Kingfishers, Egrets and Cormorants are common sightings. We shall then set out driving along dirt roads, going past cultivated lands and bushlands, and reach Mabamba within 20 minutes. shoebill-mabambaWe shall record some species on the fringes before going out in a motorized dugout canoe into the dense papyrus to look for the Shoebill and other papyrus specialists such as the Papyrus Gonolek, Swamp Flycatcher, and White-winged Swamp Warbler. 2 to 3 hours of birding at Mabamba Swamp can produce over 50 bird species. The swamp is even more productive during the period from September to May when it hosts large colonies of Palearctic migrants.

Birding at Mpanga Forest – looking for forest species

We shall then drive away to the nearby Mpanga Forest, situated along the highway Masaka highway. We shall bird the forest edge and the vicinity of the visitors information center before getting onto the main trail into the forest. Notable birds to look for at Mpanga Forest include: Black-and-white, Crowned, and African Pied Hornbills, Little Green, Yellow-whiskered, and Slender-billed Greenbuls, Blue-throated Roller, Red-tailed Alethe, Black Cuckoo, Fire-crested Alethe, Narina Trogon, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher, African Grey Parrots, Weyns’s Weaver, and Superb Sunbird among others. Other inhabitants of the forest that you will see include the Red-tailed Monkeys, and plenty of beautiful butterflies. We shall also spend up to an hour in the cultivation around the forest and will be rewarded with a good portion of garden species.

Boasting with a bird list of over 100 species, wetland, forest and garden, we shall take the Masaka highway back to Kampala, a journey of at least one hour.

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