Rubondo Island National Park is filled with myriad butterflies and a diversity of birdlife.
Rubondo Island National Park is a refreshing break from the safari circuit, with plenty of its own gems to offer.
Rubondo Island National Park
Rubondo Island National Park is made up of several small islands on the southwest shores of Lake Victoria. One of the real draws of this park is the myriad of butterflies and the diversity of bird life, which you can enjoy from the shore.
The tranquil setting of Rubondo Island National Park invites you to take a breath and enjoy the view, while a day trip to some of the islands within the park will hold its thrills and excitement. Pristine tropical forests provide a protected habitat for wildlife that includes sitatunga, elephant, giraffe, 200 species of birds and wild chimpanzees. The deep waters of Lake Victoria also offer spectacular fishing for Nile Perch of record-breaking size.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for the endangered sitatunga, an extremely rare amphibious antelope, darting into the marshes to hide from predators. Its speed and agility are impressive, but it is also skilled at camouflage, so you’ll need a keen eye to spot this elusive creature.
If fishing is your thing, you can even arrange an expedition into Lake Victoria through any of the major lodges in the park. Rubondo Island National Park is a refreshing break from the safari circuit, with plenty of its own gems to offer.
Explore Lake Victoria from Rubondo Island National Park
Lake Victoria is not only Africa’s largest lake but also the largest tropical lake in the world. It has a vast surface area of 68,888 km2, and its clear waters can’t fail to take your breath away. Multiple impressive reefs and archipelagos lie beneath the surface and play host to more than 200 species of fish.
Spanning such an extensive area, lake Victoria’s shores vary dramatically from looming precipices to papyrus and ambatch swamps to coastal flats in the north. The largest island in the lake is Ukerewe, with its wooded hills rising 200 m above the lake. At the lake’s northwestern corner, you can discover a pocket of particularly striking beauty in the form of the 62 islands of the Sese archipelago.
Lake Victoria was first sighted by the British explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858 while searching for the source of the Nile and was named in honor of the Queen of England. The Owen Falls Dam (now the Nalubaale Dam) was completed in 1954 to raise the water level and preserve this great reservoir which now provides valuable hydroelectric power. A second dam, Kiira, was later constructed and produced hydroelectric power in 2000. Today, the local steamers operate around the lake serving as one of the most densely populated regions across Africa.
Ready to start planning a tailor-made safari to Rubondo Island National Park? Our experts make planning your Tanzania safari experience a walk in the park. To help you with trip planning, browse our travel guide to find expert advice on safari in Rubondo. Get inspired with our sample itineraries and let our Wito experts customize a dream trip just for you!
Want to explore the beauty of Rubondo Island National Park? Here are the best months to go.
The best time to enjoy unparalleled wildlife viewing in Rubondo Island National Park is during the dry season, from June to October. During this time, excellent weather conditions can be expected across the country, and wildlife viewing should be spectacular.
If you visit during the rainy season, you may be treated to a dramatic lightning storm over Lake Victoria at night. Many properties stay closed in April and May because of the long rainy season. We do not recommend travelling to Rubondo during the wet season.
Top activities offered in Rubondo Island National Park include:
- Chimpanzee habituation experience
- Bird-watching and guided nature walks
- Fishing on a catch-and-release basis
During the dry season, Rubondo has so much to offer. We suggest you spend at least two nights in this lovely park. To get the most out of your wildlife-filled safari adventure, we recommend combining your visit with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro.
How to get to Rubondo Island National Park?
The park is easy to access from Mwanza, Tabora and Serengeti. Once you arrive at Rubondo by bush plane, you will drive for about 20 minutes to get to your stunning property.
This is what your typical safari in Rubondo Island National Park would look like:
Even if you mentally and physically prepare for your trek, you should be ready to feel incredibly humbled when you finally encounter these gentle chimpanzees. You can expect to be led by a knowledgeable guide and assisted by friendly porters as you navigate trails that wind up through branches and bush by stepping up, over, around, and under dense vegetation.
You will start your trek from a central location, where you can walk to the trailhead to kick off your journey. Excitement quickly increases as you enter the surreal surroundings of untamed jungle terrain. The trekking time to meet a family of chimps can range from 30 minutes to three hours. During that hour, you will have the opportunity to observe their calm but potent presence in the wild. While on the mountainside, you can eat your packed lunch before slowly descending the majestic terrain with your guide and porters.
Finally, to enhance your private guided Greystoke Mahale National Park adventure, try boating, a guided village tour, fishing or even a once-in-a-lifetime chimpanzee habituation process.
After a full day of safari in Rubondo Island National Park, you will be taken to your handpicked safari camp or lodge, where you will unwind and savour some delicious food and sundowners.
Ready to start planning? Select your preferred time to travel, then let a Wito Africa safari expert create an itinerary that meets your needs for a safari and incorporates the highlights of that season. We can save you time, money, headaches and heartache by helping you plan your dream safari. To start planning your safari in Rubondo Island, please call us at 1-315.805.4040 or send our safari experts a message via email.
How to Plan Your Rubondo Island National Park Like a Pro
There are many factors to consider when planning a Rubondo Island National Park safari adventure in Tanzania. Deciding which reliable tour operator (s) to use for your dream African safari experience is not an easy task. With a sea of general online tour operators, it is hard to find the ONE that truly speaks to your discerning tastes and genuinely understands your travel needs and expectations.
Start by gathering enough information to help you decide on the best destination. Being so remote, it is not as easy to access Rubondo by road as you’ll find with popular parks in the southern and northern safari circuits. We recommend combining Rubondo and popular parks in the north on a seven- to ten-day trip. Thanks to safari flights’ quick and direct connections, we can help you organize everything; from start to finish.
Similarly to many other national parks in Tanzania, Rubondo Island National Park offers a unique setting for safari-goers to stay inside the park. You’ll stay in some of the most charming safari camps and lodges, where you will unwind and enjoy delicious food and sundowners.
With several accommodation options to choose from, we can guarantee that your safari experience will be meticulously created just for you with your specific interests, travel style and schedule. Everything will be tailored to your preference, allowing you to enjoy a perfect balance of comfort, adventure and maximum wildlife viewing. We will only recommend the places we have stayed in and inspected thoroughly, and we can guarantee you will be safe.
If you want to explore the beauty of Rubondo Island National Park, we highly recommend using qualified local chimpanzee trekkers and safari guides. With our personalized trips, you will have control over your experience and enjoy all the flexibility you need to plan your daily trek with your expert chimp trekker and private guide.
As a standard offering for all our experiences, we provide all meals, bottled drinking water, tea/coffee and juices at breakfast for the duration of your trip. We can accommodate all kinds of dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan, halal, and kosher to pescatarian. Moreover, bottled drinking water and soft drinks will be readily available throughout your safari experience with us. We have a stocked mini-fridge in the vehicle that will cool drinks whilst you enjoy your uninterrupted wildlife viewing from the comfort of your customized safari jeep.
Our unique approach to offering a stress-free safari experience starts with ensuring that you are well informed about the specific requirements of the country you visit, with the hope that you’ll know exactly what to expect. Understanding how a safari operates, what is involved before and during, and what key points to consider when booking ensures an unforgettable safari adventure. Topics like when to visit, how to get there, and what to pack are addressed by safari experts.
Your dream trip created your way – tell us:
- Your interests
- Your travel style
- Your expectations and budget
Ultimately, you will choose exactly what you’d like to do, when you would like to start your private safari trip, and where you’d like to go.
- Fixed itineraries.
- Guaranteed departures.
Our guaranteed trips are packed with wildlife encounters, sightseeing, and activities that all reﬂect your group’s focus and interests. Most importantly, you will make life-long friends and memories you will never forget!
WHY TRAVELERS CHOOSE US
At Wito Africa Safaris, giving our customers unbiased advice and exceptional safari experiences is what we live and breathe. Our Africa safari experts are well-traveled and have in-depth first-hand knowledge of the places they suggest. To make sure these offerings live up to the expectations of our guests, the experts at Wito Africa routinely inspect new lodges, experiences, and activities. Nothing beats current, pertinent travel advice obtained directly from a local expert. The Wito Africa 'dream team' will be there for you every step of the way to ensure that even your smallest needs are met and no detail is overlooked, so you can embrace your experience with complete peace of mind.
WHERE TO STAY IN RUBONDO ISLAND
Just for you, we have hunted out the very best lodges, villas, camps and even treehouses in Tanzania to suit every budget, itinerary and personal preference. Trust us – you’re going to be spoilt for choice! An awe-inspiring setting is just the beginning… Every one of our recommended accommodation options will blow you away with personal service, attention to detail and various levels of luxury.
Rubondo Island Camp
The only lodge on the island, Rubondo Island Camp, is situated in lush tropical forests, where you can expect to see sitatunga, elephants, giraffes, birds and wild chimpanzees. As the sun sets, you’re even likely to be joined on shore by some grazing hippos. We recommend this camp to clients who want to put fishing high on their itinerary, as the depths of Lake Victoria are inviting and bountiful – particularly for Nile perch.
Rubondo is also one of our top picks for families, as the family chalet is fully equipped for parents with multiple children. There are six luxury chalets, all offering en suite accommodation and unrivalled views over the lake. With an en suite bathroom, flush toilet, and running hot water for shower, Rubondo Island Camp make for a convenient and comfortable base. Moreover, the staff are happy to meet your requirements; just let us know your total group size and configuration of beds.
Relax in a dreamy hammock or the refreshing swimming pool, with the rhythm of the lapping water as your only soundtrack.