Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo island national park is the smallest national park in Tanzania located on the south western shores of Lake Victoria which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa and its one of the national parks that lies on the lake. The national park was first established as a game reserve in 1965 mainly to act as a sanctuary for animals and in 1977 it was gazetted as a national park, the park covers a total area of 240 square kilometers with 11 islets which cover an area of 456.8 square kilometers. Rubondo island national park has rich diversity which is composed of semi-deciduous and mixed evergreen forest with woodlands, open grassland, rocky areas, sandy beaches, and acacia trees which act as habitats for wildlife species including animals like elephants, giraffes, the endangered sitatunga antelopes, bushbucks, primates like chimpanzees, different bird species, variety of butterflies among others.

Rubondo Island National Park

Attractions in Rubondo island national park

Wildlife, the national park is a home wildlife species including animals like elephants, sitatunga antelopes, giraffes, hippos, bushbucks, bush pigs, suni antelopes, genets, giraffes, roan antelopes, primates like chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, reptiles like crocodiles, pythons among others.

Birdlife, Rubondo island national park is a home of more than 450 bird species including migratory birds from Europe, water birds and endemic birds such as African fish eagle, malachite kingfisher, marabou storks, open billed stork, flamingos

Lake Victoria, the national park is bordered by Lake Victoria which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa that offers fascinating activities like sport fishing, canoeing among others.  

Things to do in Rubondo island national park

Bird watching, Rubondo island national park is a home of over 456 bird species which make it one of the birders paradise in Tanzania. Bird species range from migratory birds from Europe, water birds and endemic species which are only found in the country. Bird watching is best done early in the morning or late evening with an experienced park guide who will help you to spot different bird species such as malachite kingfisher, paradise flycatcher, African fish eagle, sacred ibis, martial eagle, African grey parrot, saddle billed stork, palmnut vulture, European bee- eaters, little egrets, western banded snake eagle, flamingos among others.

Canoeing, this is an incredible activity that is carried out on Lake Victoria which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa. During canoeing which can either be done in the morning or afternoon hours, you will paddle along the lake shores in a wooden boat with a park guide, have spectacular views of the lake, sunrise and sundowner, view animals like hippos and crocodiles in water, elephants, giraffes among others along the banks drinking water, view different water birds like fish eagles, bee-eaters, kingfishers, cormorants, take incredible photos among others.

Chimpanzee habituation experience, Rubondo island national park harbors a number of chimpanzees that were introduced in 1960s as part of an ambitious conservation project by the Germans and today the numbers have increased and there is an ongoing process of chimpanzee habituation, an adventurous activity where the chimpanzee families are trained to get used to human presence for trekking. During chimpanzee trekking you will have great views of other primates like the black and white colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys, view colorful bird species, some animals, different plant and tree species among others and when the chimpanzees are found you will get an opportunity to learn more about the chimpanzees behaviors, habits, take incredible photos and record videos of chimpanzees carrying out their daily activities like feeding, breastfeeding, hunting, playing, resting among others which gives you unforgettable experiences.

Guided nature walks, Rubondo island national park offers an exciting and adventurous nature walk where visitors get an opportunity to explore the park of foot but with the company of an armed park ranger. During the guided nature walks visitors will be able to get up close and personal with animals like elephants, giraffes, sitatunga antelopes among others in their natural habitat, have spectacular views of the sunrise, butterfly species, view different plant and tree species, relax and enjoy the peaceful environment, take good pictures, view colorful birds flying up in the air among others.

Sport fishing, this is one of the exciting activities that shouldn’t be missed during your safari in rubondo island national park. Sportfishing in the park is carried out in designated areas with an experienced fishing guide and recommended fishing gears using catch and release method. During sport fishing you will be able to catch different fish types on the lake such as Nile perch, tilapia and many others.

Best time to visit Rubondo island national park

Rubondo island national park can be visited anytime throughout the year though the best time id in the dry season during the months of June to October and December to February because during this period there is little rainfall therefore vegetation will be short for clear viewing of animals and the walking trails, chimpanzee trekking trails will be passable compared to the wet season when the trails are muddy and slippery.

The national park can as well be visited in the wet season during the months of March to May and November because that’s the best period for birding where bird lovers will have an opportunity to view migratory bird species from Europe, the wet season is also the perfect time to view many colorful butterflies, evergreen vegetation and many flowering plants.

Rubondo Island National Park
Rubondo Island Dinner setting

Where to stay during your safari in Rubondo island national park

There are a number of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, mid-range, and budget where you can stay during your safari in Rubondo Island national park and they include Rubondo Island Camp, Rubondo Island Lodge, Gombo Palace, Lenny Hotel,  Rubondo Park Bandas, and Rest House, New KM Hotel, Nevana Lodge, Joy Star hotel, Mpiga Executive Lodge among others.

How to get to Rubondo island

Rubondo island national park is lies on the southwest shores of Lake Victoria and can be accessed by both air and water transport means

  • Air transport, you can book scheduled or charter flights from Dar es salaam, Arusha, Zanzibar or Serengeti national park to Rubondo air strip and flights can be arranged by your tour operator.
  • Water transport, when using water transport you can board a boat from Kasenda, a small village in Chato district near Muganza or board a boat from Nkome in Geita district.
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