Lutembe wetland system

Lutembe Bay swamp is one of the wetland systems along the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda. Lutumbe Bay like many others is among Uganda’s 33 very Important bird watching sites and gained the status of international importance in 2006 after it was designated as a Ramsar site. The bay is also important because of its high numbers of white-winged tern which estimated at about 1.5million.

This is a great tourism site located along the mouth of Victoria’s Murchison Bay. This swamp forms a papyrus island along the shallow parts the lake cutting it off completely from the main Lake Victoria water body.

Roles Played by the Wetland
Water filtering.
Lutemba bay wetland
Photo by Ramsar sites

Naturally, this wetland system plays the hydrological role of filtering that water that goes through it. The swamp that surrounds this area naturally helps to filter stuff like the silt, the sediments and also the excess nutrients in the running water. Swamps also filter that dirty wastewater that comes from factories as well as all that sewage from all over Kampala City.

Bird watching

Lutembe bay just like a number of other bays does support quite a big population of about 200 different bird species and 26 of these are migrants. This group of birds includes the endangered species like the Holub’s golden weaver, the African pygmy kingfisher, among so many others. Other birds include the road-billed Roller, the Brown-backed Scrub-robins, there are the Whiskered Tern, Lead-coloured Flycatcher, the tropical Boubou, the African Green Pigeon and the Sooty Chat, among others.

The existence of these so many birds for instance the 52% population of the White-winged Black Terns birds makes it a great birding spot in the country.

The migratory species come from as far as Liberia and cross over into East Africa landing at the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe. There are those that migrate from countries like Russia, the Scandinavian countries and also from the Main land of Europe. Once they land, they usually stay for about 6-9 months after which they and fly back to wherever they came from to breed. Most of these birds usually start arriving in the bay around September or October and then they depart in the middle of February or March. They always fly back when the weather is favorable for them to breed and the cycle repeats itself the following year.


The wetland is also home to a great number of butterfly species and it is recorded that over 100 butterfly species exists including 3 rare species that are not recorded in any other IBA of Uganda. These species include Acraea Pharsalus, Belenois solilucis and Cacyreus virilis. Thus these makes it a perfect safari destination for Butterfly lovers in Uganda.


Like any other wetland in Uganda, Lutembe is also home to Sitatungas  and other animals to include the Rodents, Shrews, and Otters.  The later animals are not easy to spot however on your visit to Lutembe you should expect to spot the African spot-necked Otter and the African clawless Otter.

A visit to Lutembe bay wetland in Uganda is one of the many trips you have got to make while in Uganda. This is because it is a wonderful site with millions of different bird species and sitatunga. These birds often fly in a pattern creating a shadow resulting from the fact that they blocked the sun light and when they land, they give a very beautiful view that anyone would like to capture on their cameras.

For more information about visiting Lutembe bay wetland, please contact AA Safaris and tours ltd.