RUBONDO NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
Rubondo Island National Park is a Tanzanian and one of the two parks found on an Island on Lake Victoria and the Island attracts a small number of visitors each year and mainly game fishermen and bird enthusiasts.
Being located in the South Western corner of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, Rubondo Island National park is about 150 kilometers west of Mwanza and the main Island Rubondo is 237 km² in size, it also protects another 11 islets none much larger than 2km². These Islands which add up to 10 form the Rubondo Island National park covering an area of 456.8 km² and the Lake Victoria is 1,134 meters above the sea level. The Masa Hills in the far South is the highest point on Rubondo at an elevation of 1,486m and the main Island measures 28 kilometers from north to south and is 3-10km wide. The Rubondo Island is on a rift in the lake and essentially consists of a partially submerged rift of four volcanically formed hills which is linked by three flatter isthmuses and the Island has no rivers and the soil is volcanic. The Island’s habitat is mixed evergreen and semideciduous forest which covers about 80% of the Island’s surface area.
History of Rubondo National Park
History of Rubondo National Park
Rubondo Island was made a game reserve in 1965 to provide a sanctuary for animals and later in the year of 1977 the Island was gazetted as a National Park and today Rubondo is uninhabited, also 80% of the Island consequently remains forested today. In the late 1960s the Zinza tribe which included the 400-fisher folk that lived on the Island and maintained banana plantations, were resettled on the neighboring Islands and onto the mainland by the government. The court as a rule passed sentences of six weeks imprisonment for unauthorized landings on the Island and six months for attempted poaching
Tanzania Safari Attractions in Rubondo National Park
Rubondo Island National park has common species including Drypetes, Croton Sylvaticus and Lecaniodiscus fraxinifolius and often with a dense understory of lianas or woody vines. The forest is restricted to the Lukaya area, acacia woodland and is interspersed with patches of open grassland. The lakeshores in the East is characterized by rocky areas and sandy beaches whilst the western shore supports extensive papyrus swamps lined with date palms.
Professor Bernhard Grzimek of the Frankfurt Zoological society (FZS) over a period of four years released 17 chimpanzees in four cohorts onto Rubondo Island and the first cohort of chimpanzees arrived in Dar es Salaam aboard the German African Line’s steamship Eibe Oldendorff on 17 June 1966, animals had no rehabilitation or pre-release training and the chimpanzees were all wild-born and purportedly of west Africa descent although there are no records of specific country of origin for the majority of released individuals and the founder chimpanzees had spent varying periods from 3.5 months to 9 years, while in European zoos in captivity or circuses before their release. After one year the Chimpazees were able to find and eat wild foods and construct nests for sleeping and have now reverted to an unhabituated state characteristic of wild chimpanzees. The population has now grown to around 40 individuals from 16 founders. There are other seven species in addition to chimpanzees which were introduced to the Island and they include the Roan Antelope (Hippotragus equinus) and rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) which are both now rare and extinct, Suni antelope (Neotragus moschatus), elephants (Loxodonta Africana), giraffes (Giraffa Camelopardalis), 20 black and white colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza), and grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) confiscated from illegal trade. The semi aquatic antelope and the sitatunga can be spotted darting in and out of the papyrus swamps on the fringes of the lakes and the waters of Lake Victoria which surrounds the Rubondo on all sides and habours wallowing hippos, crocodiles in the shallows.
The Island is a phenomenal for birdlife and over 300 bird species resident and migratory species have been recorded and they include the cormorants, egrets, African darters and the high-pitched screeches of the African grey parrot can be heard around the Island, pied kingfisher.
Tanzania Safari Activities in Rubondo National Park
The park is a home to a special group of chimpanzees whose ancestors were brought here in the year of 1960s as part of an ambitious conservation project and today you can be part of the habituation process which gives you an opportunity to see the chimps and also get exposed to their way of living and the daily activities that they do and also witness the chimpanzees up close in the wild.
Forest walks as a Tanzania Safari activity in Rubondo National Park
These guided walks are carried out through the pristine equatorial forest and the walks stretch from a one-hour stroll to full day or multi day hikes and gives you access to exclusive stunning views of wild life at eye level and also spotting different bird species within the forest.
Rubondo Island is an ornithologist’s dream with over 300 endemic and migratory bird species and the months of December to March is the best for spotting migratory birds with the varied habitat of the Island such as egrets, African darters, cormorant among others.
This activity is carried out on the lake shores of the park where large magnificent Nile peach are caught which is the Africa’s biggest and most sought-after fresh water species and a single can weigh to an approximate excess of 200kg. the fishing activity involves the fishing and release back to water.
This activity of boat riding at Rubondo Island National park offers a thrilling experience as you view the magnificent lake shores and the tropical forest canopies entangled on the beautiful hills and giving you a wilderness experience in Africa’s latest Island national park and also the rides by boat provide you with views of the second largest fresh water lake and the second source of the longest river in the world.
The camping activity is one of the best experiences to come close contact with the wilderness and the Rubondo Island National park provides camping sites where visitors can enjoy a packed bush lunch.