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Photograph the Shoebill in Mabamba Swamp, Uganda

Mabamba Swamp! One of central Africa's prime destinations for bird photographers. The place where one hour on a boat can provide you with ample photographic opportunities. This swamp provides eye level bird shots at close distances bringing any wildlife photographer, beginner, amateur and professional, the chance to get those bird photographs of a lifetime.

Where is Mabamba Swamp

Located on the northern rim of the great Lake Victoria, lies the Mabamba Swamp. This fascinating swamp is situated one hour West of Entebbe, making this unique spot of wilderness a must visit location in Uganda. Mabamba Swamp, translated to Lungfish Swamp is home to many species of birds, with at least 260 species on record. This birding photographers hotspot is certainly one of our best birding destinations that takes place during our Wildlife of Uganda Photo Safaris. The swamp certainly brings life to any camera when out and about on the wooden boats when in search for birds. Mabamba Swamp will captivate any birder who ventures into this flat wetland of birding paradise. After landing in Entebbe International Airport, there are many ways to get to Mabamba Swamp. Most visitors to the swamp can either get to there by road or by boat, making this an easy to get to destination. During our photo safari here in Uganda, we take a boat ride across the vast Lake Victoria and to the swamp itself that joins onto the lake. Here we swap boats onto the smaller wooden boats and our small group is taken into the swamp where the boats will be pushed by poles through the reeds, silently where birds such as King Fishers, Herons, Egrets, Crakes, Weavers and more! can be photographed!

The Shoebill Stork

Locally known as the “Bbulwe”, the Shoebill Stork gets its well known name from its large and impressive bill shaped like a Shoe. This large bird reaching the height of 4 – 5 feet and weighs up to 7 kilograms and is rather impressive to be in the presence of. The Shoebill Stork is one of the most sought after birds in Uganda and brings many wildlife photographers from around the world to photograph these birds in their minimal numbers that remain in the wild. There are just under 1,000 individual Shoebill Storks left in the wild in Uganda. These magnificent birds are solitary and wander the marshy grounds in search for Lungfish, their main source of food. Their prehistoric beaks are used as a fantastic and successful hunting tools that can swallow large prey with ease. The breeding season takes place during the dry season where one male and one female come together. The reason for this period of time is to ensure that there is no flooding for the nest. A maximum of 3 eggs are laid and the male and female take rolls to sit on the nest for incubation. After hatching, the male and female have the difficult task to feed the young. It is very common that the stronger hatchling can kill its weaker sibling allowing itself to get more food from its parent. After 3-4 years, the young are then ready to breed and leave the protection of their parents.

This magnificent bird makes for great wildlife photography. Its prehistoric look works perfectly when trying to capture the bird in frame. Full body photographs bring out the remarkable structure of the bird where head shots bring fine detail of its famous bill. The bird walks slowly through the open swamp making that shot very easy to capture. A 400mm lens is ideal for a Shoebill photographic shoot as we at Untamed Photo Safaris like to keep a respectable distance from all species. The eye tracker used on a mirrorless camera such as the Canon R5, works very well during takeoff shots, as there is no distraction from other leaves creating eye tracker mishaps. Having sad this using spot focusing during a shoebill shoot works just as well due to the birds slow manoeuvring when trying to capture simple images.

The Mabamba Swamp is certainly one of our many key destinations that you should not miss out on during our Uganda photo safari, here in Central Africa.

Join wildlife photographer Mark A Fernley in the heart of Uganda and have the opportunity to experience the wonder of Mabamba swamp during an exhilarating Gorilla, Chimps and more Wildlife Photo Safari.


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