This is a park covering the whole of an uninhabited island in the middle of Lake Victoria , Africa ’s largest fresh-water lake and one of the sources of the Great Nile. Strictly speaking, Rubondo is in Northern Tanzania , but for want of a better space and in keeping with the fly-in safaris akin to Western Tanzania , we have placed this page in this section.
Rubondo Island , in the southwest of Lake Victoria , is one of Tanzania ’s smallest National Parks and occupies an entire island in Lake Victoria . The 240 square km island, also known as “The Jewel of Victoria”, provides a unforgettable experience for visitors, including the main island and 11 smaller islets, combining the breathtaking natural beauty of a forest refuge with the relaxing tranquillity of sandy lake -shore beaches.
The Island is some 28 km in length along the north-south axis and between 3 and 10 km wide. Lake Victoria covers 68,000 square kilometres and is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest in the world – comparatively it is twice the size of The Netherlands. There are NO vehicles on Rubondo – the island is untouched by pollution from modern day transportation or commercialisation, and one of the only places that offers a truly ecological break. Rubondo Island boasts a unique diversity of flora and fauna. Only here can the visitor be sure of seeing Sitatunga and have the chance of observing small gangs of chimpanzees. Other mammals frequently seen include hippos, otters, bushbucks and vervet monkeys. Rarer sightings are genet, colobus, marsh mongoose and suni antelope.
Rubondo is a Paradise for bird-lovers, with nearly 430 species documented on the island. The diversity of habitats, from open woodland to papyrus swamps and evergreen forest, together with its geographical location in the heart of Africa , attracts numerous resident and migrant species. The island has an abundance of herons, storks, egrets, ibises, cormorants, kingfishers, flycatchers, bee-eaters, hornbills and birds of prey, including the highest density of fish eagles anywhere in the world.
There are scheduled flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Mwanza in peak season, charter flights only in low season. There are twice weekly flights from Arusha (via Seronera) to Rubondo on Tuesday and Friday, depart at 1425hrs arrives 1700hrs. Flights back to Seronera and Arusha on Wednesday and Saturdays, 0800hrs. The alternative is to travel by road from Mwanza to pier and then boat transfer (not very regular).
Rubondo Island Tented Lodge.
There is also a TANAPA campsite on the island for those who wish to do their own camping over a week or so.
ACTIVITIES ON RUBONDO:
Days on the island are filled with guided walking and hiking safaris, in search of elephant, giraffe, hippo, chimpanzees and the rare Sitatunga antelope. Boat trips on the lake are also fun and there is also some excellent fishing. This is a very beautiful spot, perfect for people who want some relaxation after a busy safari, but who don’t necessarily want to lie around on a beach all day.
3 Days Rubondo Island bird-watching safari
Day 1: Mwanza to Rubondo
3 days Rubondo Island bird-watching safari from Mwanza With your breakfast depart at 6.00 am for the 4 to 5 hours drive to Rubondo Island National park. Ride a boat for another 30min. Arrive and check in at this beautiful Island in Lake Victoria. After lunch, we will be privileged to do game viewing on foot accompanied by an armed ranger in the middle of an African forest. Walk around the beach while learning a lot from our MOTHER NATURE. Have a glance at the schools of hippos. Keep your eyes watching for sitatunga, otters, bushbuck, and vervet monkeys. Rare sightings are black and white colobus monkey, genet, marsh mongoose, suni antelope, and elephant. Rubondo Island is a perfect paradise for birding as over 400 species of birds have been seen including the African Fish Eagle. Our friendly guide is always happy to share with you the behind the scene perspectives on this beautiful island and much much more..! Some of Africa’s biggest crocodiles bask and lie in wait on the banks of Lake Victoria. This day is also a good time for evening photography. Rubondo island boasts a unique diversity of flora and fauna Dinner and Overnight at the Bandas.Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 2: Rubondo Island ( Lake Excursion )
Half-day Game viewing by boat in Lake Victoria. Depart at 8.00 am after breakfast for boat riding in Lake Victoria (depending on whether you may opt to go in the morning or late afternoon). This is the best experience for game viewing in Lake Victoria as we will be able to reach very remote parts of Lake Victoria. Explore an uncountable number of Nile crocodiles, stop over at the breeding site for birds and observe schools of hippos. Rubondo Island offers an extraordinary experience you can’t imagine. Rubondo is another destination in Tanzania where you can also track chimpanzees apart from Gombe and Mahale. We will walk back to the Bandas/Lodge for our sumptuous meals while enjoying the cool breeze from the Great View of Lake Victoria as well sounds of hippos close to the Bandas/Lodge. Dinner and overnight at the Banda/Lodge for dinner and overnight.Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Day 3: Rubondo Island to Mwanza city
After enjoying a buffet breakfast, collect your picnic lunch, check out and continue driving to Mwanza. On our way stop at Geita town for Lunch. Later after having your lunch continue heading to Mwanza and drop at your hotel. End of Memorable Tour! Meal Plan: Breakfast & Lunch