Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)

The Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) also known as whalehead or shoe-billed stork, is a very large stork-like bird. It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill.

They are found in East/Central Africa.  One of the best places to see them is Mabamba Swamp in Uganda where there is a whole day trip dedicated to them with a high rate of successful sightings.





Africa Geographic


OMG, the look on this guy’s face!


The Shoebill Safari Experience


Mabamba Shoebill Safari

One of the highlights for anyone visiting Entebbe (even before or after a gorilla safari) is the canoe ride through Mabamba Swamp to see the prehistoric looking Shoebill Stork.  I booked with Mabamba Shoebill Tours based in the Sunset Hotel in Entebbe on Church Road which was just down the road from Lake Heights Hotel.  The manager, Olive was very friendly and helpful as were all her staff.  It’s great how they involve the local community, eco-tourism in action!  The price was very reasonable at $150 for both of us.

The driver picked us up early and we drove through the town to the boat dock.

My husband Ina, the driver and Vincent the guide

Red-eyed Dove near the dock

Fishermen at work

Bird making use of floating junk as a fishing launch!

Entering the Mabamba Swamp

Vincent on the lookout for Shoebills

Beautiful Malachite Kingfisher Weaverbirds

At last we spot our target bird, the amazing Shoebill Stork!

The Shoebill flew away and we tried to follow but the water was too low and we ran aground.  I was nervous until they pushed us free and headed back to the main waterway.

US Air Force plane flying overhead as we head back to shore.  I have no idea why it was there, I didn’t even know what it was until I got the pic uploaded!