1 day birding tour to Mabamba swamp and Mpanga Forest

This one day birding trip to Mabamba Swamp and Mpanga forest covers two well known Uganda birding spots that are also some of the most accessible from Kampala and Entebbe. 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 bird species list with forest birds, is Mpanga Forest with over 300 species is a just few kilometers away.

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

You shall set off as early as 6am. The the drive from Kampala or Entebbe to Mabamba is about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes, but you will take a little bit more time as you shall go birding along the road which goes along cultivated lands, bush lands, small swamps, and settlements. Hence by time you get to Mabamba wetlands you will have recorded quite a number of birds along the way.shoebill-mabambaOn arrival at the Mabamba you start by birding the fringes of the wetland before getting into a motorized dugout canoe/boat and going out 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

You shall then drive away to the nearby Mpanga Forest, situated along the highway Masaka highway. You shall bird the forest edge and the vicinity of the visitors information center before getting onto the main trail which runs through the forest and offers great views into the different parts of the forest from the canopy to the undergrowth or ground. 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. You shall also continue out of the forest spend some time 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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