Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo Island National Park is one of two Tanzanian national parks on an island in Lake Victoria (the other being Saanane Island National Park). The island attracts mainly game fishermen and bird enthusiasts.

Rubondo Island National Park, Lake Victoria

Rubondo Island is an extraordinary example of wildlife conservation in the southwest of Lake Victoria. It’s an Africa’s African, 26km long and up to 10 km wide. More than 75 percent of the island is covered in pristine equatorial rainforest. Since the 1960s, the island has been a haven for wild chimpanzees, sitatunga antelope, elephants, and giraffes.

 Rubondo Island Camp is the only accommodation in the national park, making it one of the most unique places to visit in Tanzania. Aside from a handful of park wardens and researchers, you have the island as a guest. Walk through the dense forest looking for chimps in the canopy above, cruise around the peaceful lake at sunset with a G&T in hand, or head out with binoculars to spot some of the 300 bird species that visit the island. 

Rubondo has its airstrip and can be accessed via Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, and the Serengeti. Travelers can also fly directly from Kigali to easily combine this wild island escape with an epic gorilla encounter in Rwanda’s VoRwanda National Park. 

Accommodation

Rubondo Island Camp

A remote island in TanzaniTanzaniasria, Rubondo offers an incredibly unique adventure experience in a pristine sub-tropical ecosystem where elephants and chimpanzees roam wild.

Things to do on Rubondo Island

  • Highlights

Chimpanzee, Birding Safari, Boat Safaris and  Fishing 

Chimpanzee Trekking

There are two chimpanzee trekking areas on Rubondo Island; depending on where the chimps are situated and their visibility, you may take a game drive or boat ride and then venture on foot to see them. Throughout the year, the chimpanzee habituation experience can be conducted according to the availability of food and weather conditions. Please look at our seasonality sheet on page 8 for more info. Chimpanzees are renowned for not sitting still, so guests should come prepared with a spirit of adventure and reasonable fitness. The chimpanzee experience is unsuitable for anyone unable to hike on hilly terrain for about two hours. Chimpanzee sightings are not guaranteed; however, visiting during the dry season from June through October offers guests the best chance to spend time with our chimpanzees. Please note that guests must be over 12 years of age, and the group is a maximum of eight per trek.

Boat Safaris and Fishing

Tanzania offers another boating safari opportunity at Rubondo, the ultimate island escape. Here, nature and tranquility meet at the water’s edge of Africa’s most iconic lake.

On a boat safari from Rubondo, Lake Victoria’s Victoria’snating island, you can cast a line into the depths of the lake where a vast population of freshwater fish resides while keeping a lookout for crocodiles, hippos, and spotted-neck otters. Or stay closer to the shoreline and enjoy a tranquil trip around the island, admiring stunning forests where playful chimpanzee pass their days in the canopies or lounging in the undergrowth.

For a more peaceful fishing expedition, head to Rubondo Island in the northwestern corner of Tanzania, another unmissable fishing destination. Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa, home to an abundance of Nile perch and tilapia. Glide peacefully in your private boat with a seasoned captain and knowledgeable fishing guide. Enjoy a refreshing drink and watch as the water birds roost for the night against a backdrop of the sun setting over the water.  

Birding Safari

When the day is hot, and the lions lie belly-up in the shade of a tree, it’s to wake up and witness the busy bird life above you. Glimpse flashes of iridescent color and hear the melody of songbirds. Perhaps you spot yours squabbling over space and materials while constructing their intricately woven nests. Or maybe you’ll witnyou’lle tango between potential mates as the male puffs out his feathers and aims to impress.

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