Lying on the Southwestern shores of Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island National Park is one of the 2 only stunning island safari parks which straddle in the islands of Lake Victoria.  From western Mwanza, this protected area is 153kms away and its highest point is Masa Hills in the South which stands at an altitude of about 1486m. It was gazetted as a game reserve in 1965 then upgraded to a national park in 1977.

Rubondo Island National Park occupies an area of about which also makes it the largest of all the island national parks in Tanzania and Africa at large. It expands to cover the beautiful Rubondo Islands and about 11 islets. Like other conservation areas, Rubondo Island National Park is run by Tanzania National Parks Authority. It stands out as an untapped and remote safari park which still offers tourists on Tanzania safari with authentic African safari experiences.

History of Rubondo Island National Park

Originally, Rubondo Island was designated as a game reserve in 1965 and its establishment was primarily to safeguard its diverse wildlife. In 1977, established as a national park and about 80 percent of the area is still covered by forests. The Zinza tribe who stayed on this island and planted banana were relocated to the nearby islands as well as the mainland in the late 1960s. In 1965, it was set as a game reserve before becoming a national park in 1977. Today, this park features among the best Tanzania safari parks to explore.

Between 1966 and 1969, chimpanzees were introduced into Rubondo Island plus several other wildlife species including giraffes, elephants, black and white colobus monkeys. Currently, the park is an outstanding safari destination visitor on Tanzania safari should consider a must-visit.

Tourist attractions in Rubondo Island National Park

  • Wildlife 

The distinct wildlife species to expect to view on Tanzania safari in Rubondo Island National Park include chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, crocodiles, giraffes, vervet monkeys, genets, hippos, bush pigs, elephants, snakes like pythons; bush bucks. There are also several colorful butterflies to sight.

  • Birdlife 

What distinguishes Rubondo Island National Park from other parks is the fact that it is an exceptional birding safari destination. It hosts an estimate of about 300 bird species including open billed storks, marabou storks, kingfishers, ibises, herons, African fish eagles, egrets to mention but a few.

Safari activities to do in Rubondo Island National Park

  • Bird watching 

Birding in this park is by far amazing safari experience. The birds to expect to identify on Tanzania birding safari here include among others the open billed storks, ibises, herons, marabou storks, kingfishers, African fish eagles.

  • Boat rides 

This is such a rewarding water sports experience visitor on Tanzania safari in Rubondo National Park can engage in. It is conducted along Lake Victoria and gets you the best view of the adjacent park’s forest canopy, hills, and the lake.

  • Sport fishing 

Embarking on sport fishing in Rubondo Island National Park lets you challenge yourself with heavy Nile Perch. It is done under guidance from an experienced fishing tour guide.

  • Camping 

Get a close interaction with nature only by embarking on camping in this magical park. This offers an unforgettable experience one shouldn’t miss as it offers one a chance to enjoy a packed bush lunch, dine in the wilderness while enjoying the inspiring melodies of birds.

  • Chimpanzee tracking

Tracking chimpanzees is possible in Rubondo Island National Park but the challenge is these apes are not commonly spotted. However, you may come across other wildlife species as well including giraffes, bush pigs, birds and many more.

  • Best time to visit Rubondo Island National Park

The dry season is considered the best time to visit Rubondo Island, National Reserve. It begins in the months of June, July, August, September, and October. The rainy season begins from November, December, January, February, March, April and May. Visiting the park during the wet season can be challenging because of the trails tend to be muddy due to heavy rains.

  • Accommodation in Rubondo Island National Reserve

This park doesn’t have many lodges however, the available accommodation option is Rubondo Island Camp which operates about 10 Bandas.

  • How to get to Rubondo Island National Reserve

Rubondo Island National Reserve is accessible by boat starting from Kasenda village just near Muganza in Chato district and the second point is Nkomo. By air, flight services can be arranged to start from Kilimanjaro Airport or from Julius Nyerere International Airport to Rubondo airstrip.

Rubondo Island National Park

Bird Watching tour in Tanzania

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