Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo Island National Park : Rubondo, Africa’s largest island national park, offers a true off-the-beaten-path Jurassic Park experience. Rubondo Island is located in Lake Victoria’s southern region (the second-largest lake in Africa, after Lake Tanganyika). The island is 26 kilometers long and 3 to 10 kilometers wide. The green Masa hills on the island’s southern reaches reach a height of 1,486 meters above sea level. Rubondo has remained mostly unaffected by tourists. It has, nevertheless, become a haven for endangered wildlife, and numerous species have been added over the years. The island is covered in pristine equatorial rainforest on more than 75% of its surface. The island has been a haven for wild chimps, sitatunga antelope, elephants, and giraffes since the 1960s.

The History of Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo was home to a population of fishermen until the middle of the twentieth century. All of that changed in 1965, when the Rubondo Game Reserve was established and roughly 400 people were moved. Professor Bernhard Grzimek of the Frankfurt Zoological Society released 16 captive-born chimps to the island between 1966 and 1969. These creatures were rescued from zoos and circuses around Europe and transported to Rubondo in crates, where they were given a new existence in the wild. The chimps evidently enjoyed their newfound freedom and quickly created a thriving breeding colony of around 40 animals.

Following this accomplishment, several other mammal species, including elephants, giraffes, black rhinos, and the uncommon suni antelope, were introduced to the island. Unfortunately, rhinos are no longer found on the island owing to poaching. 37 grey parrots were rescued and released on Rubondo in 2000 after being victims of illegal trafficking. The parrots quickly adapted to their new island home and can now be seen at your safari throughout Rubondo National Park.

Rubondo Island National Park
Chimpanzee Tours in Rubondo


Animals of Rubondo island National Park

Rubondo has an unusually significant number of large mammals for such a small island. The wild chimps that were introduced in the 1960s are of great importance. At the moment, the chances of seeing one are minimal, but as they become more accustomed to humans, we predict more sightings. Researchers are actively working to acclimate them, and visitors can help by engaging in the Chimpanzee Habituation Experience.”

Elephants and giraffes have breeding populations, but they are rarely observed due to their size. Hippos, crocodiles, and even otters, on the other hand, are rather common. Rubondo is also one of the best spots in Africa to see the semi-aquatic sitatunga antelope, which may be found in the island’s western wetlands. The nocturnal civet and genet, as well as a variety of antelope species found in the deep forest, are among the other mammals found on Rubondo.

Serrated hinged terrapins, a species native to the East African tropics, can be found in astonishing numbers along the island’s coastlines and in tiny bodies of water inland. Between October and January, these terrapins lay their eggs, and the hatchlings emerge between March and April. Many butterflies can be seen when walking through the trees. Rubondo is home to a diverse range of species, thanks in part to the island’s approximately 40 orchid types.

Birds of Rubondo Island Nation Park.

Rubondo Island is one of Tanzania’s greatest bird-watching destinations. Birders will be in heaven with over 300 species. Cormorants, darters, and white egrets, as well as open-billed and marabou storks, are frequently seen on the beaches. Rubondo also appears to have a large number of fish eagles.

Visiting Rubondo Island National Park.

Rubondo Island Camp is the only site to stay in the national park during your safari visit, making it one of Tanzania’s most unique destinations. As a guest, you have the island to yourself, save for a few park wardens and researchers. Rubondo is accessible by plane from mainland Tanzania and offers breathtaking views of Lake Victoria. Many cities in Tanzania, notably Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Arusha, and the Serengeti, have scheduled flights. If you wish to combine a visit to the gorillas with a trip to Rubondo Island, you can fly here immediately from Kigali, Rwanda.

Rubondo is best visited between June and October, during the dry season. From December through February, a huge number of migrant bird species visit the island, making this a fantastic time to visit for birders.

Rubondo Island National Park attractions

With its lush forest, lofty trees, and a broad range of exquisite green vegetation, Rubondo Island looks like a movie set. Furthermore, the animals are always nearby. The park is packed with things to see and do on your Tanzania safari vacation. A variety of aquatic birds, Eurasian migrants, and invasive African grey parrots are among them.

  • A large number of African fish eagles can be seen.
  • Sitatunga, elephants, giraffes, hippos, bushbucks, pythons, crocodiles, chimpanzees (not totally habituated), bush pigs, and suni are among the animal species.
  • A beautiful view of one of the last remaining examples of evergreen, dense primary lowland Congolese forest with a unique ecological mosaic in the middle of high biodiversity.
  • Beaches like Flycatcher, Mchangani, and Michicoco are beautiful and appealing.
  • Both the sunrise and sunset are visible.
  • “Ntungamirwe,” “Maji Matakatifu,” “Altare,” and “Solo” are cultural sites that depict the lives of people who once lived in the area.

Things to do in rubondo island national park

Rubondo Island National Park attracts beautiful butterflies with around 300 bird species and 40 orchid types. The most popular activities in this area are walking safaris and bird watching.

Fishing safari

There are a range of fishing tactics available in Rubondo Island National Park, including trolling, spinning live and dead bait, and fly-fishing. Anglers from all over the world flock to this island in the hopes of catching a Nile perch, Africa’s largest and most prized freshwater fish. Rubondo Island, on the other hand, follows and promotes a rigorous “catch and release” policy. Additional fees and approvals may be required.

Rubondo Island National Park
Fishing in Rubondo Island

Game drive

Hippopotamus, bushbuck, vervet, sitatunga, crocodiles, elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, black and white colobus monkeys, suni and grey parrots, buffalo, bush pig, hyrax, warthog, and giant spotted genet cat are among the indigenous species found on Rubondo Island and Expect to see them during your game drive.

Bird watching

The birdlife of East Africa is diverse and abundant, with over 1,000 species in Tanzania and Kenya combined. There are around 200 kinds of native and migrant birds that can be seen breeding or passing through the national park. Herons, storks, ibises, egrets, cormorants, kingfishers, and birds of prey abound on the island. However, it is thought that the park boasts the world’s highest population of fish eagles.

 A boating and canoeing safari

Guided canoe rides provide a unique perspective of the island, taking you across secluded inlets and to spots that are not accessible by foot. While paddling or being paddled by a guide around the shore, look for aquatic and terrestrial fauna. Explore the Rufiji River’s several channels and lakes, which are surrounded by hippos.

Chimpanzee trek

The chimps were released as the world’s first attempt to rehabilitate caged chimps back into the wild. Their continued existence is a tribute to the early pioneers who brought them here half a century ago. The chimps, on the other hand, are unquestionably one of the island’s most appealing attractions.