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.