Rubondo is a tropical island near the western shores of Lake Victoria and is about as pristine a place as possible to find. There has been no human habitation on the island for decades, and it is covered by primary tropical forest, interspersed with small patches of savannah and swamp. Add the forests of idyllic Rubondo Island National Park, deep in the lake’s southwest reaches, for a perfect safari experience. Tranquil boating excursions on a canoe or dhow, offer stunning views of land and water animals. A beautiful place for avid bird watchers, gawk at magnificent fish eagles soaring above the pristine water in search of prey. If you are feeling intrepid, venture out into the forest on a guided walk or hike.
Vibrant and verdant, the islands of Lake Victoria boast azure shores rimmed with deliciously fragrant banana groves and secluded fishing villages. Nestled on this serene and tranquil water haven all you need to do is relax, swim, do a spot of bird-watching or fishing and walk through lush hillside vegetation or along the lakeshore.
There is everywhere. A rare swamp loving antelope, the sitatunga is found amongst the papyrus stands, and elephants are often seen on the shores along with a raft of hippos, crocs, an occasional leopard, and vervet monkeys. In the forest themselves, there is of course a variety of smaller wildlife, including genets, civets, and bushpig. There are unhurried forest hikes are one of the activities to enjoy.
Chimpanzees can be seen here, following a recent intensive habituation program they are now approachable by visitors. So, this beautiful Island paradise is now a place where one can enjoy watching man’s closest living relative, and without the arduous Mountain trekking of other chimps habitats.
Rubondo is also a place rich with birds. Nearly 400 species have been recorded including the African grey parrot. The diversity of habitats from open woodland to papyrus swamp and evergreen forest attracts numerous residents and migrant species. The island has an abidance of a stork, hornbills, herons, and birds of prey including the highest density of fish eagles than anywhere in the world, with their hunting cry a constant background sound, for enthusiasm birders a morning and afternoon boating ride to the papyrus swamp is a must.
- Chimpanzees’ habituation experience. Under the supervision of a guide is possible to approach chimpanzees on foot and to quietly watch them for a limited period.
- Game drives. Game viewing in open vehicles are conducted on simple forest tracks
- Nature walks. Go hiking for half a day or full day enjoying the whole Island for yourself.
- Boating safaris. Enjoy time on the water in an open motorboat or your own canoe
There is only one luxury tented camp on the Island the rest of the accommodation is provided by the national park and is self-catering.
There are scheduled flights to the island airstrip, and there are regular flights from other safari destinations in Tanzania.
The nearest city is Mwanza where it is possible to hire a boat to transfer you to the island to and from.
Rubondo can easily combine with the northern circuit safari itineraries, the boating trip can either start from Musoma or Mwanza.