• Entebbe, Uganda

    5 Min drive from Airport

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Beyond Imagination

Awesome Image

Unique Experiences


Captivating Encounters with the Mabamba Shoebill. A 1-day itinerary for a Mabamba Shoebill Tour typically revolves around birdwatching, particularly the iconic shoebill stork. Mabamba Swamp, located near Entebbe in Uganda, is one of the best places in the world to spot this magnificent bird.

Unlocking the secrets of Uganda

1. Departure from Entebbe: Start your day early with a pick-up from your accommodation in Entebbe or Kampala, usually around 6:00 AM to 6:30 AM. Make sure to have breakfast before departure or carry some snacks with you.
2. Transfer to Mabamba Swamp: Travel by road to Mabamba Swamp, which is approximately a 1.5 to 2-hour drive from Entebbe. Along the way, you'll enjoy scenic views of rural Uganda and local communities.
3. Arrival at Mabamba Swamp: Reach Mabamba Swamp around 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, depending on traffic and road conditions. Upon arrival, you'll meet your local guide who will lead you through the swamp and help you spot the elusive shoebill stork.

4. Birdwatching at Mabamba Swamp: Spend the mid-morning exploring the swamp by canoe or boat, accompanied by your experienced guide. Mabamba Swamp is rich in biodiversity, so keep your eyes peeled for various bird species aside from the shoebill, including herons, egrets, kingfishers, and more.
5. Shoebill Spotting: Your guide will navigate through the channels and papyrus reeds, searching for the iconic shoebill stork. Be patient and quiet as you wait for the perfect moment to catch a glimpse of this prehistoric-looking bird in its natural habitat.

6. Lunch Break: Around midday, take a break for lunch. Depending on the arrangements, you might enjoy a packed lunch amidst the natural surroundings or return to a nearby lodge or community center for a meal.

7. Continue Birdwatching: After lunch, resume your birdwatching adventure in Mabamba Swamp. Your guide will continue to lead you through the swamp, pointing out different bird species and sharing interesting facts about the ecosystem.
8. Optional Activities: Depending on your interests and available time, you may have the option to visit nearby attractions such as Mpanga Forest Reserve or the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC) upon returning to Entebbe.

9. Return to Entebbe: Depart Mabamba Swamp in the late afternoon, aiming to return to Entebbe by early evening. Enjoy the scenic drive back, reflecting on the incredible wildlife experiences of the day.
10. Arrival in Entebbe: Arrive back in Entebbe by late afternoon or early evening, where you'll be dropped off at your accommodation or preferred location, concluding your Mabamba Shoebill Tour.

Discovering the Enigmatic Mabamba Shoebill

Shoebill is a prehistoric-looking bird. It has a foot-long bill which is five inches wide and has sharp edges and a sharp hook on the end. Its specialized bill allows the shoebill to grab large prey, including lungfish, tilapia, snakes, baby crocodiles and Nile monitor lizards. Reaching up to five feet tall with an eight-foot wingspan, shoebills have yellow eyes, gray feathers, white bellies, and a small feathered crest on the back of their heads. They also have long, thin legs with large feet that are ideal for walking on the vegetation in the freshwater marshes and swamps they inhabit.

Shoebills can stay motionless for hours, so when a hapless lungfish comes up for air, it might not notice this lethal prehistoric-looking bird looming until it’s too late. The birds practice a hunting technique called “collapsing,” which involves falling forward on their prey. Shoebills are in a family all their own, though they were once classified as storks. They do share traits with storks and herons, like the long necks and legs characteristic of wading birds, though their closest relatives are the pelicans. They keep cool with a technique called gular fluttering—vibrating the throat muscles to dissipate heat. These birds are very solitary in nature, though, and even mating pairs will feed at opposite sides of their territory. Breeding pairs build nests on water or on floating vegetation, and can be up to eight feet wide. Females lay an average of two eggs at the end of the rainy season. As co-parents, both birds tend to the eggs and young. This includes incubating and turning eggs, and cooling them with water they bring to the nest in their large bills.

One of the most incredible shoebill stork facts is that these birds live a long time. Wild shoebills are thought to live in excess of 25 years. Because they have such a long lifespan, shoebill storks take a long time to grow up. Once the chicks are born, they take three years to reach sexual maturity. Shoebill storks build some of the strangest nests in the animal kingdom. They build them on floating vegetation over relatively deep water. The floating nature of the nest, coupled with its location in thick vegetation, makes it extremely difficult for predators to reach. Another incredible shoebill stork fact is that they are not small birds. Despite their size, they’re not flightless. In fact, shoebills have an eight-foot wingspan. They stand between 3.5-5 feet tall and may weigh as much as 12 pounds. They have long, straight legs, long toes, and lengthy, powerful wings. Their predominant color is slate gray, with tones of light gray, blue gray, and dark gray marking the wings apart from the belly. Their bills are light orange and just might be their most distinctive feature.

Cost Per Person Sharing

Rate 2024/ 2025

› 1 Person - USD 200 Per Person

› 2 Person - USD 150 Per Person

› 3 Person - USD 100 Per Person

› 4 Person - USD 95 Per Person

› 5 Person - USD 90 Per Person

› 6 Person - USD 85 Per Person


Package Included

› All Airport Transfers

› Traditional motorized canoe boat

› English speaking friendly guide

› Conservation fee for Mabamba

› Transport in 4x4 safari vehicle

› Fuel for the whole trip

› Snacks and refreshment


Package Excluded

› Pre and post tour accommodation

› Travel Insurance (recommended)

› Visa fees

› Personal expenses (Tips, Drinks, etc)

› Face Masks (Recommended)

› International flights

› Cost of additional activities

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