Rubondo Island National Park
Tanzania Destinations | northern circuit
Rubondo is Tanzania’s tenth National Park and the only one in Lake Victoria. The 240 square km island provides an 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.
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 (dikdik).
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.
The wide variety of invertebrates and diversity of plant species makes Rubondo a fascinating place for naturalists. Fabulous butterflies create a kaleidoscope of colour in the forest together with the spectacular seasonal displays of orchids, fireball lilies and red coral trees. Visitors have the freedom to explore the forest and lake shores by foot or boat allowing each person to discover his or her own magic of Rubondo and to leave with a uniquely personal experience of the island.
Rubondo Island Camp
The camp operates 10 bandas (luxury tents). Each of the ten units overlooks the lake, a view which may be enjoyed from the seclusion of a private terrace and just a few yards from the sandy lakeshore. The comfortable large tents have windows on all sides and, instead of the common zips, an entrance door. A spacious en suite bath- and dressing room have been constructed for each banda. Great care has been taken to use local natural building materials.
An outcrop of rocks amidst scattered trees provides the perfect setting for the restaurant and bar, offering a splendid view of the lake and bay. A swimming pool is located conveniently close to the bar, among the palm trees. During the day the lake is usually calm, but when the wind picks up in the late afternoon the waves roll in, carrying in the singing sounds of the sea. Rubondo’s climate is comfortably warm all year round and never gets as hot as on the coast. Enjoy its clean air –there is no traffic on the island.
How to get there?
Coastal air flies from Seronera to Rubondo on Tuesday and Friday, departs at 1425hrs and arrives at 1700hrs. Flights back to Seronera and Arusha on Wednesday and Saturday.