Rubondo Island Camp, is Tanzania’s undiscovered treasure. Nestled on the shores of Lake Victoria, complete with the lapping of waves against the sand, lies Rubondo Island Camp, a short drive from the island’s landing strip. Lake Victoria, is the world’s second largest lake, its shore stretching across Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Rubondo is the only camp on the island. Unwind and sink into the tranquility that Rubondo provides.
Rubondo Island lies north of Mwanza, close to the Tanzanian border. Charter flights leave Mwanza, Arusha, Nairobi and the Serengeti or alternatively, private boats run from Nkome and Muganza.
Rubondo Island Camp has ten luxury tented rooms with en suite bathrooms, hot running water, electricity and a laundry service, despite the remote location. Each room has a private verandah where you can read or relax in peace and watch the bushbuck roam, delicate and graceful through the camp grounds.
The restaurant provides good food, including fresh fish. Supplies are shipped from Mwanza as food cannot be grown on the island due to its national park status. Enjoy breakfast in the restaurant as you are treated to the sight of vervet monkeys scrambling up trees in search of fruit for their own breakfast. Special dietary needs can be easily accommodated, although advance notice is appreciated.
The bar is well stocked with a selection of wine, spirits, soft drinks and sodas. Sit out on the wooden deck by the shore and enjoy a sundowner, watch the sunset over the lake, turning the sky into burnished golds and orange, reflected in the waters of Lake Victoria. White egrets sit and chatter on the rocks, Egyptian geese paddle serenely and tiny jeweled kingfishers, all glowing blue and orange, flit from rock to rock. Occasionally, hippos swim in the bay, coming up to the shore for a leafy midnight snack, leaving foot prints across the golden sandy beach.
- The camp has a swimming pool, perfect for a swim during the midday heat.
- A selection of books are available for guests to borrow as well as copies of the studies on the island’s chimpanzees.
- Walking safaris
- Boating safaris
- Game Drives
The island offers a host of attractions. Between November to March, the forest blooms with beautiful wild flowers. December to November see it play host to migratory birds. The climate is most pleasant from June to August. November sees the start of the short rainy season, stopping in December in time for a Christmas break. From March to April, the long rains begin, renewing life on the island.Whatever time of year you visit Rubondo, it’s best to pack some insect repellent to keep away the mosquitoes and other insects that make their home on the island.
Rubondo Island was given national park status in 1977. It stretches over 457 square kilometers of diverse environments, dense forest canopies, plains, woodland, papyrus swamps and coastline, home to a staggering array of wildlife. The island hosts over 200 species of bird, both native and passing through as part of their migration routes, nearly 70 different species of butterfly and a massively diverse selection of plants and trees, including 40 different species of orchid and wild jasmine.The park’s game life is no less astonishing. Native species to the island include the rare sitatunga, a species of antelope adapted to marsh and swampy land, which makes it home in relatively few parts of the world, hippos, bushbuck, vervet monkeys, genet cats and crocodiles.
A number of species were introduced to Rubondo and thrived within the safety of the park. African Grey parrots screech in flocks through the trees, released on the island after their confiscation from poachers. A troop of chimpanzees were released from captivity 50 years ago and have successfully adapted to island life, weaving their nests from grass and wood to sleep in the treetops and roam through the forest. Both the elephant and giraffe populations have flourished since their introduction, along with the endangered White Colombus Monkey, with their panda like faces and suni.Lake Victoria has its own attractions with spotted neck otters and of course, the birdlife and fish. Rubondo Park protects fish breeding grounds; the national park status not only protects Rubondo, but 9 smaller islands nearby. World record breaking catches of Nile Perch and Tilapia can be found.