MABAMBA BAY WETLAND OF INTERNATIONAL IMPORTANCE
Mabamba bay has grown into one of the most interesting and spectacular site for bird watching in Uganda. Apart from Murchison Falls National Park, Mabamba bay is the only place and site (so far rated as the best in Africa and/or the whole world) where the elusive Shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) can be spotted at any one time of the day, approximately 38% of the global population of the Blue Swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea), and the globally-threatened Papyrus Yellow Warbler plus other birds of global conservation concern. It is also a habitat to rare plant species like Scadoxus species. Recently, Mabamba has become one of the strong holds for the migrant Blue Swallow with over 100 individuals recorded every year. Mabamba has been surveyed in recent years and now boosts of over 260 species with one day’s record of 157 species (Bird Life International)
MABAMBA’S GROWING ECO-TOURISM
By David Kintu Nkwanga. Nature Palace Foundation
Current Developments at Mabamba with Nature Palace Foundation.
Nature Palace Foundation, a not-for-profit Community-Development and Human Well-being-focused organization that operates on the principle of blending Conservation with Development, initiated the Promoting community participation and support in conservation and wise use of Mabamba Bay Wetland of International Importance Project. This project was supported by Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation.
Establishment of Mabamba Information Centre
The major outcome of this project was the establishment of an Eco-tourism Information centre and Nature School/Campsite to assist visitors who come to the site feel more comfortable and be able to get some background information about the resource. The Idea of an information centre was conceived in the 2006 and is being developed by both Nature Palace Foundation and the Community through their Association (Mabamba Wetland Eco-tourism Association – MWETA). MWETA identified two volunteers from the community to manage the information centre after undergoing training.
Functions of the centre:
Is a focal point for documenting, sharing and disseminating indigenous knowledge: This will help build confidence of community members and help them realize the importance of the resource, not only to them but the entire globe. E.g. some migratory birds from Europe breed from Mabamba
Providing Information to Tourists and visitors: Before the project there was no visitor’s/tourist reception area. Visitors therefore missed the opportunity of interacting with the local community members and getting some basic information about the resource.
Creating awareness and Education Campaign: Community members continuously get education and Awareness messages from the Information Centre and adjacent Nature School.
Providing Skills in Alternative Income Generating Opportunities and Wise use of Mabamba Bay Wetland. Organized Community groups are being prepared to undergo training in alternative sources of Income as a result of the existence of this resource. E.g. making souvenirs /handcrafts from papyrus, water hyacinth etc.
EXISTING FACILITIES AND SERVICES:
Nature Palace Botanic Garden:
NPF established Nature Palace Botanical Garden (NPBG) in 2001 to promote conservation of floral species, with special emphasis on those that are very essential to the welfare of poor communities in terms of known medicinal values. In 2005, NPBG was registered as a participant in the world-wide implementation of the International Agenda in support of Plant Conservation, Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development coordinated by Botanical Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) based in UK. NPBG maintains In-Situ and Ex-situ Conservation sites, manages Species Collection and Seed Banking and conducts visitors’ education.
NPF provides eco-tourism services and venue for nature educational programs
Nature Palace foundation has Expansive venues for picnics and camping.
Under the Poverty Alleviation and Health Care Promotion through conservation (PHPC) project, this program involves Training in various aspects of Medicinal plants, their propagation and multiplication as well as awareness creation.
Ecological Agriculture Models
NPF maintains demonstration plots for community education in sustainable agriculture. These include LEISA approaches, Agro forestry, Integrated Pest Management and Organic production approaches.
Both Traditional and oriental dishes are prepared on order.
Entrance Fees: Nature Palace is a not-for-profit civil society organisation. Your subsidized contribution in terms of entrance fees will assist to support conservation work.
|Service||Category of visitor||Amount|
|Entrance||Domestic visitors||1,000/= Uganda shillings|
|International visitors||2 USD @ person|
|Camping||Domestic visitors||10,000/= UGX @ night (1-5 people)|
|International visitors||15 USD @ night (1-5 people)|
|Meals||Depends on menu. Contact us for details.|