Rubondo Island National Park in Tanzania
Untouched by tourism, remote in location and a sanctuary for a variety of threatened wildlife species, Rubondo Island is an unexplored Tanzania safari destination.
Everything you need to know about Rubondo Island National Park
Untouched by tourism, remote in location and a sanctuary for a variety of threatened wildlife species, Rubondo Island is an unexplored Tanzania safari destination. Sustainable visitor practices were put in place to ensure that the ecosystem on Rubondo Island can flourish while still allowing for responsible adventuring. The Rubondo Island National Park was established in 1965, and since then several species were reintroduced to the habitat, including 16 captive-born chimpanzees from all over Europe, elephants, giraffe, grey parrots and the rare Suni antelope.
Where is the reserve located?
The island is located in the southern reaches of the second-largest lake in Africa – Lake Victoria. It’s not very large ; only about 26km in length and between 3km and 10km across. Its highest point is 1,486m above sea level, which lies at the apex of the Masa hills along the southern part of the island.
About the reserve
What type of wildlife will we see?
If it’s a stunningly beautiful swatch of pristine wilderness and sightings of truly rare creatures you’re after, Rubondo Island National Park is the place to be. For such a small area, the island is home to a surprisingly vast number of big mammals. The chimpanzees are of course on everyone’s must-see list, but there are also elephants, hippos, crocodiles and even otters that come out to play. The elusive semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope are also present, and once dusk descends, visitors can be on the lookout for civets and genets. As for the avian biodiversity – it’s truly staggering. There are over 300 species, including pied kingfishers, marabou storks, darters and fish eagles.
Top experiences to enjoy at Rubondo Island National Park
The secluded island offers visitors a wide variety of immersive activities focussed on responsible exploration of its fascinating and delicate ecosystem. This includes everything from guided forest walks and chimpanzee scouting with knowledgeable rangers, to boat-based game watching, and honest-to-goodness fishing in Lake Victoria. You can rent a fishing boat for a half day, set out on the lake and cast a line for your dinner (or catch and release if you please).
When to visit
The island is best visited during the dry season, which runs from June to October. Keen birders might want to hold out for the months between December and February, as this is when a wide variety of migrant bird species make their way to these climes. The park is accessed from mainland Tanzania (and Rwanda) via plane – a journey with a delightful ‘Jurassic Park’ feel that also gives visitors the opportunity to see the magnificent Lake Victoria in all her splendour