Mabamba Bay wetland
Mabamba wetland is an extensive marsh of over 17,000 ha that stretches through a narrow and long bay fringed with papyrus opening into the northern side of the main body of Lake Victoria. The wetland is located on the west of Entebbe international airport along the shores of Laek Victoria. This is an extensive swamp cutting through that narrow bay occupied with Cyperus papyrus and extending towards the main water body. Somewhere in the middle of the swamp is an open water body, very small like a water channel and sometimes parts of the swamp get cut off from the main swamp creating some sort of sudd and it always sails away.
Why you should visit the Mabamba wetland
Mabamba wetland is very popular for hosting a variety of bird species including the rare shoebill stork. This is the closest wetland to Kampala where you can find this shoebill stork bird which is one of the most sought bird in the whole of Africa. Mabamba hosts more than 300 different bird species, including the beautiful species that every bird watcher may be interested in seeing while on a bird watching safari. The wetland is also home to the papyrus endemic birds which include the Papyrus Gonolek, the Papyrus Yellow Warble. Apart from the shoebill stock the wetland is also home to othe globally threatened birds species like the Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus), Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaaerulea), Gull-billed terns (Gelochelidon nilotica), Whiskered terns (Chlidonia shybridus) and White winged Black terns (Chlidonias leucopterus).
Mabamba wetland is also home to 38% of the world’s Blue swallow total population. Some of the migrant species to expect are the Gull-billed Tern. Other birds that you can expect to find include birds like the Spur-winged Goose, the Goliath Heron, the Squacco Heron , to mention but a few thus making it a really great bird watching site and so a must visit place for those that are interested in birds. Mabamba bay wetland system is an internationally recognized Important Bird Area (IBA).
Within Mabamba wetland, you can get to see over 200 different butterfly species flying around and this is a really a big number which makes the swamp look colorful. Most of them are the very rare types that can only be found in this swamp for instance the Bicyclus sebetus, the Abisaraneavei, the Acraea consanquinea and Acraea aganice as well as the Acraea aurivilli, to mention but a few. Those that love butterflies need to visit Mabamba while in Kampala or Entebbe.
This wetland supports a profitable fisheries business. Local people and communities do fishing for both home consumption and for commercial purposes since there is a readily available market for them. If you have never witnessed or gone fishing on a boat/ canoe, you can join the local fishermen in the casting to trap and collecting the fishnet after the fish has been trapped! A big number of people living around this wetland are fishermen and to participate in this fishing adventure, you will follow them on a boat to do some fishing. There are different fish species which is why this bay is very important to the growing of the profitable fishery industry. You can expect to catch one or all the 3 types of Tilapia fish like the Tilapia zillii also called the Zilli’s Tilapia, there are the Orechcromis niloticus which is also commonly known as the Nile Tilapia and then the Oreochromis leucostictus, the 3rd type of the Tilapia fish and this is highly demanded on the market.
Enjoy a canoe ride
Canoe rides can also be arranged from the shores to the deeper ends of the lake and during this canoe ride, you can do some spot fishing using the locally available materials like the rods and hooks. You might also be lucky enough and get to see birds like the shoe bill stork that is why this ride can also be termed as a Shoebill trek. On your lucky day, you might be able to see more than just one shoe bill storks.
Source of raw materials for the domestic crafts work
If you take a guided village walk, you get the opportunity see that different craft work that they do as a source of income and also for domestic use. You can visit the local craft shops where they display their finished work ready for sale and these products that include items like the baskets, the hats, mats, and many more. Almost all their raw materials is got from this wetland for example the papyrus to make baskets, papyrus is also a building materials used for roofing, it’s also a source of water for both domestic use and livestock survival. This wetland is also source of local herbs especially in areas along the shore where various medicinal plants can be seen.
Wildlife viewing and nature walks
This is home to a few wild animals but the most outstanding one is the Sitatunga antelope. Sitatungas are commonly seen in swampy places just like this but their existence is being threatened by human activities like hunting for bush meat. You can expect to see other small animals during your nature walk.
The Mabamba wetland system should be on your list of must visit places in Uganda since it’s the closest birding site to Kampala with variety of birds including the shoebill and also the rare Sitatunga antelope. A visit to Mabamba can be an addition activity to your long Uganda safari Holiday.