Afrotopical Freshwater

some places to see, explore and experience African wetlands...

Mabamba wetlands, Lake Victoria, Uganda

There is a swamp just outside of Entebbe in Lake Victoria that hosts 'Shoebill tours'. You have to drive to the edge of the lake to get in a larger boat, which then take you to a corner of the lake where you transfer to a smaller canoe to explore a swamp. Different hotels and different companies wil charge different prices for the tour, but they all go to the same swamp. The wetlands themselves are very pretty, and the guide may point out some birds, but they may not allow much time to stop and get photographs of the flowers, as they will be focusing on getting you some views of the elusive Shoebill.

Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, Kibale, Uganda

Bigodi is run by the local community, through KAFRED (Kibale Association For Rural and Environmental Development). The tours are guided walks of 3 to 4 hours around and through the swamp. To get there requires driving through and slightly north of Kibale National Park, to the community centre on the right just after a bridge covers the swamp. The tour groups that go through the area normally track chimps in Kibale in the morning and do the walk in the afternoon, so it is advisable for independents to do the walk in the morning; it is also obviously cooler and a better time for birds. In the wet seasons (don't forget, Uganda has two!) you might want to wear rubber boots as the rickety boardwalk will be under some water, and there will be lots of mud around.

The 'swamp' is a freshwater wetland. It seems to be dominated by a species of Fig which doesn't mind getting it's feet wet (Ficus polita pethaps?), and of course the classic African wetland species, the 'original' Papyrus.

This swamp has a reputation among birdwatchers to catch a few species that might be harder to see the adjacent rainforest. I photographed mostly more open country species.

One of the most rewarding features of this walk is the chance of seeing a range of primate species,  including Ugandan Red Colobus, Grey-cheeked Mangabey, L'Hoest's Monkey and Black and White Colobus Monkey.

Thinking of doing expedition travel after everything has calmed down? I do a lot of my guiding and lecturing work on Silversea.