“Rubondo, the largest island national park in Africa, provides a genuine Jurassic Park experience that is off the usual path” On an island in the midst of Lake Victoria, the second-largest lake in the world, is where you’ll find the Rubondo Island National Park. 90% of the island is still covered in forest, and it is deserted. Local animals can be found here, including giraffes, elephants, antelopes, hippos, and crocodiles. As a result of the abundance of birds on the island, ornithologists should visit the national park on Rubondo Island.
Rubondo Island National Park
The 240 km2 Rubondo Island national park is just one of two national parks in Tanzania that are situated on an island in Lake Victoria, the second-largest lake in the world. It is situated in the lake’s southwest corner. In order to provide a safe haven for wildlife, Rubondo was made a game reserve in 1965. Rubondo was designated a national park by Tanzania in 1977. Because of this, 90% of the island is still covered in forest today. Rubondo safeguards priceless fish spawning areas with the help of its nine smaller islands.
WILDLIFE ON RUBONDO ISLAND
Several uninhabited sandy beaches with a direct forest border can be found on Rubondo Island. Bushbucks can be found in this area, slinking softly through the maze of tamarind, palm, and sycamore fig trees. Here, it is especially easy to see the aquatic sitatunga, with its distinctive webbed feet and shaggy coat that lives by the water. The yellow-spotted otters that roam around the island’s rocky bays primarily eat flavorful tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), while Rubondo Island National Park’s carnivorous Nile perch, weighing up to 100 kg, and presents a tantalizing challenge for hungry fishermen.
The woodland is home to a variety of vibrant orchid species, wild jasmine, and a mysterious potpourri of scents. The park’s forest cover is estimated to comprise 90% of its area. Around the lake, there are papyrus groves and open grasslands as well. Chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, elephants, giraffes, genets, dik-diks, and other later-colonized species coexist in this area with native wild creatures like hippos, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, and mongooses. They are free to grow because of the national park’s isolation.
THE RUBONDO NATIONAL PARK: A BIRD WATCHER’S PARADISE
The island is abundant with birds, making the Rubondo National Park a birder’s secret. Over the years, more than 400 species have been registered. African gray parrot flocks that were once freed on the island fly around ecstatically and chirp in various tones. In the marshy bank areas, herons, storks, and spoonbills breed in great numbers. Every year, thousands of migratory birds from Eurasia join them.
RUBONDO HIGHLIGHTS AND PARK ATTRACTIONS
- More than 400 bird species
- A variety of water birds, Eurasian migrants, and introduced African Grey Parrots
- A high density of African fish eagles is distinctly seen.
- Animal species including Sitatunga, elephants, giraffes, hippos, bushbucks, pythons, crocodiles, chimpanzees (not fully habituated), bushpigs, and suni.
- Lake Victoria forms a spectacular sight for visitors, with the deepest point in the lake (Irumo) forming part of the park.
- Magnificent view of one of the last remaining representatives of dense, evergreen primary lowland Congolese forest with a unique habitat mosaic in the midst of high biodiversity value.
- Beautiful and attracting beaches such as Flycatcher, Mchangani, and Michicoco
- Important gulfs of Irumo and Kamea.
- Clear sighting of both sun rise and sun set
- Cultural sites such as “Ntungamirwe,” “Maji Matakatifu,” “Altare,” and “Solo,” which explain the lives of natives who once lived in the park.
- Bird Islands, a breeding site for water birds
- Crocodile Island
FACTS ABOUT RUBONDO
- Size of 240 km2
- Located on an island in Lake Victoria.
- Became a game reserve in 1965.
- National park since 1977
THE MOST COMMON ANIMALS IN RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
- Black and white colobus monkeys
- Many bird species
- Tilapia fish
ACTIVITIES: FIVE THINGS TO DO IN RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
The fishing equipment available in Rubondo Island National Park includes fly fishing, spinning live and dead bait, and trolling. Nile perch, one of the largest and most prized freshwater fish in Africa, is one of the lures that draws anglers from all over the world to this island. Nevertheless, Rubondo Island strictly adheres to the “catch and release policy” and does so. There can be additional fees and requirements.
Many native species can be found on Rubondo Island, including the hippopotamus, bushbuck, vervet, sitatunga, crocodiles, elephants, chimpanzees, giraffes, suni and grey parrots, buffalos, bushpigs, hyrax, warthogs, and giant spotted genet cats.
With more than 1,000 species in Tanzania and Kenya combined, the birdlife of East Africa is abundant and diversified. There are about 200 native and migratory bird species that can be seen nesting or moving through the park. Herons, storks, ibises, egrets, cormorants, kingfishers, and other raptors are numerous on the island. The park is thought to have the world’s highest number of fish eagles, though.
Boating and canoeing safari
Guided canoe cruises cover locations that are off-limits to foot travel and provide a fresh perspective of the island and its calm inlets. Follow the coast while being paddled by a guide or yourself to spot both aquatic and terrestrial fauna. Explore the Rufiji River’s several lakes and channels instead, as they are all surrounded by hippos.
The introduction of chimpanzees marked the first ever attempt to release caged chimpanzees into the wild. Their continued existence is a testament to the early settlers who brought them here fifty years ago. The chimpanzees, though, are unquestionably one of the island’s top tourist attractions.