After our Gorilla and Chimps trekking safari recently, we decided to wind up the trip with a hunt of one of the special birds in Uganda; a shoebill. The best place to see them near Entebbe is Mabamba swamps.
Mabamba Swamp is one of the best places in Uganda to spot the highly sought-after shoebill in its natural habitat. Regularly featured on tourism brochures, these appealingly grotesque birds look like they’ve crawled straight out of the swamp (which they literally have), with their out-of-proportion features and massive dirty-yellow bill that resembles an old battered shoe. Birdwatching is mostly via canoe, where you’ll navigate waterways comprising lily pads and papyrus swamp. Among the 260 species in the region, other notable birds include the papyrus yellow warbler, pallid harrier and blue swallow. While the swamp is 12km as the crow flies, it’s a 40km (one hour) drive from Entebbe. There are site guides to take you around to the best spot to find them and also show your bit of the swamp where you stand a good chance to see other bird species. If you are in Entebbe the whole morning before departing after your safari, i recommend you pay a visit to Mabamba. The best time to see the Shoebill is in the morning. Although on this trip we did not see a shoebill, it was a great experience.